The Populist Revolt That Propelled Trump Won’t Fade Away If He Loses

The Populist Revolt That Propelled Trump Won’t Fade Away If He Loses
Trump supporters during a rally at the Utah State Capitol, Salt Lake City, Nov. 1, 2016 (AP photo by Rick Bowmer).

In less than a week, Americans will vote for their next president. The choice this year is stark, particularly with regard to the two candidates’ character and qualifications. For all her flaws, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton is clearly qualified and prepared to assume the presidency. By contrast, her Republican counterpart, Donald Trump, has demonstrated a lack of seriousness and a cavalier amateurishness that makes him ill-suited for the office.

This is not so much an endorsement of Clinton as a statement of fact for most unbiased observers of international affairs and national security. It is also unfortunate, since the campaign—while egregiously ignoring major international issues such as climate change, China policy and human rights—has exposed important differences between the two candidates over how to approach American foreign policy. But they have been overshadowed by Trump’s carnie-like candidacy.

Clinton has a traditional view of America’s global role and interests, and is likely to advance and defend them in a manner consistent with the broad tenets of liberal internationalism. Trump, for all his ignorance, has raised legitimate questions about the underlying assumptions of American foreign policy, particularly regarding its far-flung and at times imbalanced alliances. He has also challenged the bipartisan orthodoxy in support of liberal trade agreements, expressing a reasonable skepticism more generally regarding the liberal internationalist paradigm.

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