“This is the most important election of our lives!” swears each U.S. presidential candidate to his or her potential voters. If each was to be believed, the “most important” American election would take place every four years.
However, it does seem that this year the candidates are right. The course America will follow will be decided in November. Will it divert from the path Barack Obama guided it down, or — should the unlikely socialist Sanders win — remain on it and increase the pace?
The unexpected death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia left a vacancy in the Supreme Court and made this year's election more significant. A judge appointed by Obama’s successor to take Scalia’s place will be a part of the decision-making process in matters such as the legalization of marijuana, affirmative action (which gives special consideration for African-Americans when it comes to student admission), a ban on unlimited donations to election campaigns (which have granted billionaires the chance to influence politics).
Uncertain is the fate of the well-known "Obamacare," which provided health care to an additional 20 million Americans (although 30 million Americans, constituting 10 percent of the entire population, still have no health insurance). The U.S. Congress, which is dominated by Republicans, has voted 60 times to abolish "Obamacare," which remained in place thanks only to the presidential veto. Almost all Republican presidential candidates promise that they will annul [the program] on their first day in the White House. Obviously, promises during an election campaign are one thing, but their implementation is quite another matter. The new president will struggle to annul a program that has improved the lives of 20 million people. Therefore, I suspect that "Obamacare" will survive even if Republicans win, but in such an instance it might be modified. Should Hillary Clinton win, the next four years will make the program indestructible.
There are other projects, though, that can be completely eliminated by the new president’s single signature; in particular, the ones that need time to produce positive results. One of the Supreme Court's recent decisions, supported by the late Associate Justice Scalia, was to suspend new, more restrictive standards for fumes emissions from American power plants. Obama introduced the decision based on the EPA decree without seeking permission from Congress. When attending the climate change conference in Paris back in December 2015, Obama assumed that the new standards would be observed, and promised that by 2025 the U.S. would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent in comparison to 2005.
The court decision to suspend the EPA’s decree is not final, but applies until the case is considered. However, the new administration might simply not contest it and let all American efforts in the fight against global warming burst like a bubble. This would likely be followed by withdrawing donations for water, wind and solar power plants — so far consequently promoted by Obama.
The fate of amnesty for illegal immigrants is also on the line. Again, it was introduced as Obama’s decree and Congress was not asked for permission. It has now been suspended as well, until protests are considered by the court. The decree granted rights for 5 million illegal immigrants to remain and work in the U.S. After Donald Trump spread panic about illegal immigrants and promised to deport all 11 million of them, their amnesty is certain to be annulled if a Republican moves into the White House.