Thoughts on Election 2016

RichardThe current US Presidential election looks to be the wildest in a long while.

I have no interest in giving you my preference – your opinions are as good as mine. But I do want to point out some issues that our various pundits do not seem to be addressing.

 – There is a widespread feeling that globalism is not working for everyone.

In the aggregate,  globalism is good. It creates jobs and expands opportunities for millions. But not uniformly, or for everyone. By creating more competition from lower-wage countries, for example, it hurts US manufacturing and costs manufacturing jobs.

– Government has not been honest about the uneven effects of globalization.

Neither party has told the truth: that there are winners and losers in globalization. Neither party has told US workers that increased productivity is necessary for the US to keep up, and this demands greater education and skills. Neither party has told US citizens that being better off than your parents is not a guarantee.  It demands skills and hard work.

 – Elites in Washington, New York, and California have lost touch with working class Americans.

Educated members of economic and political elites have come to assume what is good for them is good for America. While their world has expanded, they have failed to notice it has shrunk for many less-well-off American families.

 – While our urban dwellers are used to multiculturalism, our rural citizens are not.

People who live in cities see all kinds of differences around them and take those differences as an interesting part of life. To many rural folks, those differences are strange and often threatening to the comfort of their way of life. Yet many urbanites seem oblivious or even condescending to their rural brethren.

 – Globalism has important social implications that are revolutionary in nature.

Globalism implies a free, easy movement across borders that suggest people are not American, British, German, etc., but are only in a particular place because they need to be. National differences are viewed as superficial or even quaint.

But many citizens of a particular country do not see it that way. To them, immigrants and multiculturalism are seen as fundamental threats with few benefits. Great to help others but what about us?

Any move beyond the nation-state, upon which our political system has long been based, is bound to be controversial and contentious.

– These differences cannot be swept under the rug.

Hopefully, this is the one thing about Campaign 2016 that has become obvious. We cannot move forward without a lot of conversation and a real attempt to understand each other.

This country was built on the idea that we are all in it together. Everyone needs to feel that the American dream is alive and well.


Richard Levy, HBD’s President, was actively involved in politics in a past life.


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