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Trump is winning these debates

10.10.2016

Comment by Prof. Dennis J. Snower, President of the Kiel Institute and American citizen itself to the second TV debate Clinton vs. Trump.

The American Presidential Debate has sunk to the level of an American reality TV show. It is no longer concerned with serious matters of foreign policy, social security, education policy, and so on. Instead, it is about primitive emotional triggers. But these emotional triggers are much more powerful than the cognitive issues on which the success of an American Presidency depends. When confronted with explosive emotions, our patience for matters of economic policy flies out the window.

In this respect, Trump is winning these debates. For he is not prepared to talk about the details of his economic plans or foreign policy plans or other practical initiatives. Clinton is able to address these issues competently, but is continually swept into the raging river of emotion that Trump unleashes on her. In response to such emotional queues, the audience and the media are focused primarily on the candidates' success in emotional warfare.

This puts our global economic affairs in deep peril. The future of the world economy depends on whether the U.S. will pursue the trade deals that it has started, whether it will honor the defense of its allies, whether it will honor its national debt, and whether it is inclined to wage war against potential enemies. These are the issues that are being ignored in the Presidential debates.

This amounts to a subversion of the democratic process. A well-functioning democracy requires level-headedness and a rational approach to economic, social and political decision making. These prerequisites are missing run-up to the American election. As result, the American political process, in combination with the media engagement, is putting the world economy at risk.

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