So, another Hillary supporter engaged with me today. There was nothing particularly special about this except for an article she linked, which argued that 3rd parties need to do more than focus on the presidency, and should focus on all levels of government. They said this about both the Green party and the Libertarian party, which is ironic, since Gov. Johnson was, well, a governor, so it would seem the Libertarians are already focused on other offices than the presidency. However, I do agree with the general point: if we want to see liberal politics succeed, we need to have not just a liberal president, but liberals in other levels of government as well.
Of course, the president is not just the head of the executive branch of the federal government. They are also a spokesperson, so even without any backing in congress or at the state level, having a real liberal as a president would be a great leap forward. It would also signal that we want real liberals in government. But the main point I want to talk about is this. Forget for a moment about the 2016 election of a real liberal, and assume that only Trump or Clinton have any hope to win. Which is preferable?
Well, on three points, I say Trump.
First, Trump will veto the TPP. Clinton will not, according to the people close to her. And her past actions do not give any confidence that she would keep her word. The examples of her flipping her support after the Clinton foundation gets a ‘donation’ are easy to find and hard to explain.
Second, Trump is less of a warmonger.
But third, for the future of a new liberal party, I believe Trump would be better to face in 2020 than Clinton.
Let us consider what would likely happen if Clinton wins in 2016, and runs against a GOP candidate and a Liberal candidate in 2020. Assuming this new Liberal candidate is from a party with substantial popular backing, there might be a number of republicans who decide to vote for the neoliberalism of Clinton, hoping to beat the more extreme liberal candidate. Democrats, with an incumbent, would mostly vote for Clinton again. In this scenario, the Liberal party would face a very difficult fight.
But what if Trump is president instead? In that case, democrats, having lost without the support of liberals in 2016, would likely split. Even if just 10 or 20% of them split to the Liberal party, that would be a great help. They would be forced to choose between risking another loss against the Republicans or compromising with the Liberals, rather as the Republicans were forced to compromise with the Tea Party.
Of course there are other possible scenarios, but I think that in general, liberal politics is better served by a Trump victory.