Hillary or the Donald?
Former Ambassador USA Timothy Broas and Willem Post
American experts ‘in discussion’
Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump and what does it mean to us?
Julie Kennedy/Anton van der Riet
With a theme like that and the American presidential elections of November 8 practically on our doorstep, the beautiful historical town hall’s own “oval office” was rapidly full.
Mayor of Wassenaar and moderator of the event Jan Hoekema, greeted the speakers expressing his pride in having both insider Timothy Broas with us: distinguished Lawyer and former Ambassador to the US in the Netherlands, Mr Broas is now advisor to the Hillary Clinton campaign; and also Mr Willem Post, one of the Netherlands top America experts, previously TV commentator on US issues, now senior visiting Fellow on America at Clingendael institute and author of many books on the political, historical and cultural developments within the US. His latest book “De spiegel van Amerika” (The mirror of America) discusses the aftermath in the country of Trump and Clinton.
Each speaker did their utmost best to stick to the allocated 5 minutes though their passion for the topic made this hard.
Mr Broas’ endorsement of Mrs Clinton was delivered wholeheartedly and with conviction as he described how knowledgeable, reliable and resilient she was. A private person, tough in politics in personal and private issues, an effective do-er, good on national security and she does care about the middle man and will certainly address their issues. In small circles she is personable and pleasant, a strong supporter of the EU and NATO and will make a reliable Great Commander.
Then came indeed the million Dollar question: who IS Donald Trump which Mr Post, though himself close to Clinton, attempted to answer.
One thing is clear, he is not a politician but a marketer, brought up to be a Winner, his nickname was the King.
In love with media, he served for years as his own press officer. The Donald: a logo. Unpredictable populist, an impactful entertainer, changing his mind with the wind, successful in tapping into the fears of the American people and offering simple answers.
Mr Broas pointed out that never before had 2 candidates been so dramatically different which has urged Americans out of election apathy. The same as in many parts of the world nowadays, (including the Netherlands) the elections are less about political parties and more about personalities.
The 2 main parties are so big and powerful but independents, in particular Libertarians may influence the outcome.
One thing is sure, Globalisation is seen as a danger, whoever wins, will need to adapt more social measures.
Will they accept the result? It is already such an ugly campaign, the feeling was that if Trump, loses, he will not do so graciously and the angry white mob will need to be appeased. As Broas said” he will need to lose by a lot or he will not go away”.
Knowing the Power of the President of the USA, what checks and balances are there to control?
The Constitution and the Supreme Court are there to ensure control.
How will the choice of President affect Foreign Policy, amongst others with the Netherlands?
The biggest concern is Trump’s rhetoric of dropping out of NATO. As Mr Post said: “We can’t play with security in this world.”
Exciting days ahead as we witness the battle between politics and marketing.
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