The US Presidential Election: A Mudslinging Contest to the End?

We are in the final stretch toward the presidential election on Nov. 8.

The third debate between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is over, and the exchange featured criticism which stood out most, with no deep discussion on policy. This result failed to meet the expectations of an international community that wants to understand America’s diplomatic vision.

Trump, in particular, was a disappointment.

Misogynist comments and suspected sexual harassment allegations recently surfaced which have put Trump on the defensive. Perhaps to deflect criticism, he has claimed election fraud, and, in this last debate, even hinted at the possibility of not accepting the election results if he were to lose.

He has given no clear evidence of this fraud. It is an unprecedented situation.

The winner and loser of the debate were clear, but this is an election for the leader who wields the strongest global influence. This newspaper hopes the American people remember this when they go to vote.

Trump has claimed that hundreds of thousands of people are illegally registered to vote. He blurts out this kind of comment – which is meant to throw suspicion on the veracity of the election itself – even if it is bad for democratic principles.

On foreign relations, Trump repeats his pet theory that the U.S. cannot afford the risk of protecting Japan and Korea, and that there is a need to reopen negotiations on security obligations.

As always his comments are provocative. As for contributing to the support of stationing U.S. troops in Japan, it is a fact that Japan is paying far beyond what was outlined in the Japan-U.S. Status of Force Agreement in the form of a “sympathy budget.” And Japan is not the one asking for the extensive work carried out by U.S. military bases in Okinawa.

Trump’s drastic call for building a wall with Mexico to combat illegal immigration is unchanging. Up until the last minute of the third debate, he did not once mention any sound policy that would be a driving force for the international community.

On the other hand, Clinton – who would adopt the Asian rebalance policy developed by the Obama administration and who also called for strengthening ties with Japan and Korea – presents a feeling of stability. Despite that, she cannot seem to connect her opponent’s blunders with a rise in support.

She is being criticized for her use of a private email account for official correspondence during her time as secretary of state, and for her flip on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which she once promoted. However, her bigger problem is not being able to cast aside an image of representing vested interests.

Trump’s rise through the primaries is due to his call for a breakup of the “Washington politics” he says increased the social gap and created a society full of corruption.

The debate closed with Clinton stating, “I would like to say to everyone watching tonight that I’m reaching out to all Americans — Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.”

To that end, this paper would like to hear in more detail what will be done both domestically and internationally. It’s time to end the mudslinging.

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