Local political pundits predict Democratic victory
Two Barbadian political pundits are predicting a comfortable victory for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton over Republican nominee Donald Trump in tomorrow’s United States elections.
Following what has arguably one of most contentious races for the White House in contemporary times, political scientist Peter Wickham and political strategist Reudon Eversley have both given Clinton the edge, saying she was most likely to secure the 270 Electoral College votes needed to take the presidency.
“I feel Clinton will win for the simple reason that elections are won on election day and it is determined by what is known as the GOTV, get out the vote, and a lot of that boils down to the organization and mobilization on the ground. So it has to do with the party machine, said Eversley.
He also pointed out that “all of the big wigs in the Republican party have abandoned Trump” and that during the final day of campaigning there were no high profile members speaking on Trump’s behalf.
“But if you look at Clinton, you are seeing the full weight of the Democratic machine behind her, beginning with [US president Barack] Obama.”
With that said Wickham, who is a noted pollster, suggested that Clinton would face a much tougher challenge when it came to securing the popular vote.
Asked if the Caribbean would be better off under Trump or Clinton, Wickham said while “the majority of Caribbean people will support Clinton based on all information available . . . . I don’t believe there is a fundamental difference with one or the other with regards to how we in the region would fare”.
Eversley agreed even though he acknowledged that “under [former US president] Ronald Reagan the Caribbean got a bit of support”.
“The context was different back then. There was the context of the Cold War, there was concern that this region was going to go Communist and therefore you had the advent of initiatives like the Caribbean Basin Initiative, which was to tell the Caribbean, ‘Look, there is a better option for you through the free market approach to development.
“But as you would have noticed, by the end of the Cold War, all of these things fell by the wayside,” Eversley added.
As for lessons for the Caribbean arising out the US presidential campaign, Wickham suggested that as was the case with the recent Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, it proves that voters were no longer interested in preserving the status quo.
“When people vote invariably they don’t vote in a way that is straight forward,” he argued.
“This is the case of the Donald Trump supporters [who] are basically going to say to you that they are not particularly bothered about who exactly Donald Trump is, but more importantly what he represents, which is an alternative to the status quo,” Wickham stressed.
“Essentially they are voting against more of the same. That is an important lesson for us in the region and certainly as we are going into referenda in Antigua and Grenada as well. It is entirely possible that when people are given an opportunity to vote, they may vote not necessarily on the substance, but they may vote on issues, which are very extraneous,” he said.