A Mancunian-American perspective on the American Presidential election
- With the US Presidential Election only one day away, we decided to find out what the election cycle has been like for Americans living in Manchester
When the political candidates for the 2016 election first announced their campaigns, it was never anticipated that the United States would wind down to two such varied and controversial opponents. With neither of the candidates being without some history of scandal, the country has been somewhat divided in the decision of who will take the presidency for the commencing term. The republican candidate, billionaire businessperson Donald Trump, who is renowned for his stand against abortion and all things immigration has sparked controversy across the world, yet has still gained the support of a staggeringly vast percentage of The United States.
For those American citizens residing in the UK, we wondered what this bizarre election cycle has been like from English soil, and whether their take on American politics has changed during their time away from The States. We interviewed four American citizens who have been residing in the UK during the election period, and heard their opinions and thoughts on the election process that is currently playing out in their home country.
Anyone but Trump
Voiced by MMU fashion journalism student, Rachel Velebny, her statement sums up the overall attitude expressed by our American interviewees. The ‘anti-Trump’ mind-set was evident throughout all the interviews, and this philosophy of Trump seems to have spurred much of America onto the side of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton though, with her close ties to George Bush and ‘War Hawk’ nickname, some may still believe a vote for Hillary may possibly be a vote for corruption.
“It would be a vote for a certain kind of corruption, yes. However, those questions are secondary to the trash-can fire of Donald Trump. Hillary is trust-worthy. She’s smart enough to play both sides. Trump is like a child, crying when he doesn’t get his own way.”
Things got even worse for Hillary back in 2015 when her use of private Email servers that were not Government-approved for her correspondences became public and made front-page headlines all around the world. Can the American people rely on someone with such a scandalous history to run their country?
“The FBI report on Clinton decided that she’s not responsible enough to have a security clearance. Basically, if she was anyone else she’d have been stripped of any security clearances, possibly sued and even fired. To me, that means she isn’t fit to be president.”
There also seemed to be a resounding sense of embarrassment and shame voiced by our interviewees when discussing this year’s candidates amongst the people we spoke to.
“I feel like I’m on a Trump apology tour - I feel that we should be apologizing for him. It’s humiliating and degrading. If people around the world think that’s what America is, they have the wrong idea. That’s not what America is. It’s so damaging.”
“I feel it would be best if I could avoid mentioning that I’m American. It’s very embarrassing right now.”
“My feelings towards Hillary Clinton are summed up with a polite, no thanks. My feelings on Donald Trump are summed up in, absolutely no f*****g way ever. Trump’s platform is blatant bigotry. I’d rather have an unqualified candidate than a racist, sexist, xenophobic, islamophobic candidate.”
As demonstrated above, the overall attitude towards this year’s candidates was generally negative. By witnessing the election from the UK’s perspective, our interviewees seemed to hold some resentment towards the politicians, and expressed a generic concern for family and friends still residing in The States.
Carmen Donohue emphasized this feeling by expressing concern over what the election rhetoric may lead towards. Similar to the post-Brexit surge in racial attacks, Carmen articulated worry for her family back home: “I’m worried for my family in The States. They’re not people of money, they could be made bankrupt next time they get sick. America is great… If you have money.”
Not unlike The States, money has become somewhat of an issue since our departure from the EU. With the worth of the Sterling Pound plummeting to record new lows, money has become a concern for a lot of people. However, Carmen is still in the firm belief that The UK is in a much more superior position than the states, a feeling that has only been developed through this election cycle;
"Living away from American has completely changed my perspective. The majority of Americans will never get this opportunity, to see what’s possible, to see what they’re being denied. It’s saddening. If you don’t move you don’t notice the chains. And American’s are chained.”
America is not alone, however, when it comes to public outrage. Only this summer did 52% of our population vote to leave the European Union, a decision that has created a huge political divide across the nation, a split not unlike the one currently ongoing in The States. “Don't talk about Donald Trump – you just shot yourself in the foot. Most American’s I know voted remain.”
With both the phrases ‘Make America Great Again’ and ‘Let's Take our Country Back’ having an awfully similar ring to them, it isn't any wonder that us Brits are getting so heavily involved with this election cycle. Watching the notorious face of UKIP Nigel Farage join Donald Trump at his rally in Jackson this summer made us truly see their uncanny resemblance, and just how similar their political values are.
Regarding the British take on this whole Election process, it was an opinion that echoed that of the people we spoke to, as in it was negative and even resulted in abusive behaviour.
“People always ask who I’m voting for, and seem afraid of the answer.”
“Everybody wants to talk about it. I’ve even received abuse over it.”