Elio Delgado Legón
HAVANA TIMES — Over the past few years, certain developments in the United States reveal that the country’s electorate is disillusioned with traditional politicians, be these Republican or Democrat, and that support for candidates who offer true change is growing.
Change, as expressed by the slogan “Yes, we can,” was the key word of the political campaign of Barack Obama, who many analysts felt stood a slim chance of winning the 2008 elections (given the fact he was black and running in a profoundly racist country).
Obama, however, came out victorious in the primaries, defeating Hillary Clinton, and went on to win the elections against his Republican adversary by a wide margin. Even though he didn’t keep any of his campaign promises during his first term, he was reelected for a second term (perhaps in the hopes he would do so then).
Without a doubt, the US electorate is looking for something new, something that will bring change to their lives. This is demonstrated by the support offered during the primaries to Donald Trump, a man who is neither a politician nor behaves like one, who has had plenty of slip-ups during his public appearances and who has offered no coherent political program (but has rather criticized the country’s existing policies and both insulted and offended ethnic minorities, immigrants and even women in general).
Despite this, Donald Trump remains ahead in Republican Party polls. I still don’t believe he will be the presidential candidate, as he would never win an election against the Democrats, but the support he’s been shown to date is proof of how tired the country’s electorate is of traditional candidates.
Another curious case which confirms this impression is that of Bernard (“Bernie”) Sanders, a man who has always described himself as a democratic socialist and still managed to be elected senator in 2007, as an independent candidate in the State of Vermont. In his campaign for a Democrat nomination, he has been gaining ground in polls. While Hillary Clinton has lost ground, she is still ahead by a wide margin.
Hillary Clinton’s approval is being affected by an FBI investiation into the use of a private server for official matters during her time as Secretary of State, something which is prohibited by law. In the event Clinton had to withdraw from the race, Sanders and current Vice-President Joe Biden would contend for the nomination. In such a case, Sanders would stand a good chance of winning, as suggested by the many people (mostly young) who attend his meetings and listen to his speeches and the far from insignificant 3.6 million followers on Facebook, where Hillary Clinton has only 1.4 million.
Should Sanders win the Democrat nomination, he would stand a good chance of being elected president of the United States, even though he describes himself as a democratic socialist and calls for a radical change of US politics, particularly foreign policy, something unthinkable in a country where, a few years ago, the word “socialist” was considered a curse. The times are changing, however, and minds, particularly those of the young, are more open, expecting nothing from traditional parties and instead supporting those who bring something new to the table, no matter what names people give it.