On November 8, 2016, the Unites States will elect a new President to lead. Polls have opened, and votes are being cast. But who will win, and what impact will it have on the national stage? As the rest of the world watches, American citizens need to realize we are wading into uncharted waters with the effect our election could have on our international relationships.
Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee for President is no stranger to the international stage. A former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State, Ms. Clinton has been the architect of both successes and failures, but is skilled at mingling with leaders on the world stage. Ms. Clinton’s foreign policy goals are in line with many of the beliefs of our current administration, and she plans to continue with many of the programs currently in place. She believes the role of the U.S. is to lead on the world stage, and continue to impact the lives people around the world.
Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for President, similarly has made international concerns an issue in his campaign. Immigration, both legal and illegal, is a central theme Mr. Trump has focused on from his initial campaign launch. His goal to both reform the legal immigration system, as well as various proposals regarding illegal immigration, have drawn both ire and praise from people of all political stripes. Further, while Mr. Trump may not have as extensive a pedigree on the world stage as Ms. Clinton, he has shown he is able adapt to ever evolving circumstances, and has illustrated his ability to make some noise on the world stage.
Both candidates have their positives and negatives, but are viewed in sharp contrast by the general public. Ms. Clinton’s expansive views on the broader international community and Mr. Trump’s more national and immigration focused views are in direct opposition, and have given voters nearly polar opposite foreign policy positions on which to vote this cycle. And while each have polled better or worse on various issues, in the end it will be up to the citizens of the 50 states to decide what direction the country will take with respect to foreign relations.
Taken as a whole, the United States’ standing and relationships on the world stage are about to change. Whether that is for better or for worse is left to others to debate, however all Americans must realize that the winds of change are coming. As we have already seen this past year, issues of foreign independence and immigration have already impacted elections across the ocean, and very well could have an impact here in the United States. As voters head to the polls, we should all be mindful of the old saying, “elections have consequences.”
Chris McGowne is a 3rd year night law student at University of Denver Sturm College of Law and a staff editor on the Denver Journal of International Law and Policy.