2016 Presidential Elections Essays

UM experts and scholars provide insights into the presidential debates and other topics influencing the upcoming presidential election.

The upcoming Presidential Election is unlike any other. Two very different candidates with widely disparate political experience and personalities square off against each other in a bitter, contentious battle. Neither candidate seems very popular or likeable, yet one of them will be sworn in as President of the United States come January.

What are some of the issues that fuel this campaign cycle and how will that determine how the electorate reacts in November? How will the upcoming debates influence the electorate? What other issues will come to the forefront as we near November?

Our University of Miami experts give their opinions on these topics and others.

Casey Klofstad, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science Department, College of Arts and Sciences:

In many ways this presidential election is unprecedented. The candidates from both parties are perceived as extremely unfavorable. And, while the establishment candidate Hillary Clinton currently leads the race, more recent polls show that her lead over her outsider opponent, reality television star and real estate magnate Donald Trump, is weakening (even here in the critical swing state of Florida with 29 electoral votes at stake).

What is not unprecedented about this election, however, is the critical role of voter turnout. Coming out of the party conventions this summer, Secretary Clinton has arguably done a better job at unifying the Democratic base than Mr. Trump has of the Republican base. However, it remains to be seen whether the millions of Bernie Sanders supporters will be motivated enough to “hold their nose” and turn out to vote for Clinton. Likewise, it is unclear whether the members of the growing GOP #NeverTrump movement will vote against their party identification for Hillary Clinton, in the end change their mind and vote for Trump in the interest of party unity, or just stay at home on Election Day.

In sum, while the cast of characters in this election is unusual, the fundamental rules of the game remain the same: turnout wins elections.

David L. Steinberg, Senior Lecturer in Communications Studies and Director of Debate, School of Communication:

This election is a choice of the lesser of two evils. In order to maintain their bases and to get out the vote, both Trump and Clinton will continue to focus on their opponent’s negatives. This focus on attacks and accusations will likely be fed by the debate moderators, who will be encouraging the combative style that is thought of as “good television.”

These tactics will not generate any shift and will continue the fragmentation of the electorate and the erosion of faith in the legitimacy of the political process. The extent to which either candidate will be able to attract new support or to restore lost legitimacy of the system will be their willingness to offer positive themes, narratives, and (to a lesser degree) coherent policies combining to form an optimistic vision of the future. Such an approach could plant seeds that eventually could drive a constructive dialogue.

Remember, one of these people will be the President, so the impact of the debates will continue after the election!

David Abraham, Professor of Law Emeritus, School of Law:

The immigration debate does not take place in a vacuum. Worldwide, mobility rates are the highest they have been in over a century. The vast movement of people, foreign people, has been very destabilizing to natives precisely because it accompanies the era of neo-liberal globalization that has so undermined the well-being of working Americans.

The loss of jobs to low-wage countries and the movement of people form poorer countries to the prosperous countries of the global north has set off a cascade of calls for protection and exclusion. This is visible in the rise of populist anti-system, anti-immigrant parties throughout Europe and the United States. Add to this economic anxiety the fear of terrorism and linked discomfort with alien cultures, and we have a political witches’ brew.

The comprehensive immigration reform plan almost approved by the Senate but then blocked by House Republicans would have represented a significant change in immigration policy, refocusing future legal immigration while slowly legalizing the 11 million people in the country without valid documentation, many of them deeply-rooted here. But the failure of that effort left President Barack Obama to rely on a patchwork of executive actions like DACA to make life less precarious for many while at the same time increasing the number of deportations of criminals and severe violators. This combination has pleased no one and left the impression that there is no real policy.

The fact of the matter, though, is that neither candidate really has offered an alternative. For all his bluster about building walls and “humanely” increasing deportations, candidate Trump has no substantive vision of what immigration is about. His is a demagogic appeal to fear and vague promises of repression. For all her efforts to ingratiate herself with Hispanics, candidate Clinton’s promises have been vague and not very credible.

Working people, immigrant and native, have since the end of the primaries drawn the short straw this election cycle.

Pedro Villareal III, Assistant Professor, Higher Education Program, School of Education and Human Development:

There is a stark difference between the two major party presidential candidates regarding their policy positions on higher education.

Donald Trump (R) has suggested that he will release his higher education policy agenda at a later date. However, Sam Clovis, a recent addition to the Trump campaign, has been interviewed stating that the campaign is likely to hold a position against a debt-free or tuition-free public higher education, whether at community colleges or four-year institutions. The campaign argues that his plans address the debt issue because he wants to create jobs in the economy. However, with current unemployment rates low for graduates, this may not necessarily address the issue.

In direct contrast, Hillary Clinton (D) has released “The New College Compact” which represents her formal policy position on higher education, a policy that covers a wide array of issues such as college costs, student aid, student loans and college accountability, among others. On college student debt, she has said that she wants to cut interest rates on student loans, allow current borrowers an opportunity to refinance their debt and streamline income-based repayment plans, among other things. In a bold move, Clinton’s proposals would also address college costs by eventually allowing students whose family incomes are less than $125,000 to pay no tuition at public, in-state colleges.

If Trump wins the election, there is little doubt that there will be little movement to address college debt from a political perspective. If Clinton wins, there might be more interest but without congressional support, there is little chance for significant policy changes.

Joseph Uscinski, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science Department, College of Arts and Sciences:

In this election, conspiracy theories abound! Ted Cruz’s father killed JFK, Hillary Clinton has a body double, and Donald Trump is the pawn of powerful Russian interests. And by the way, the election will be rigged!

Instead of focusing on substantive issues, the candidates are instead accusing their opponents of taking part in secretive and nefarious activities. The media seems to relish in the schemes and skullduggery. What can you do as a voter to stay above the fray and know what is true and what is not?

The best advice is to pay attention to several sources of news, in particular news outlets which provide in-depth coverage of political issues. I personally recommend the Monkey Cage column in The Washington Post.

Joaquin Roy, Jean Monet Professor of European Integration, Director of UM’s European Union Center:

Few leading European personalities and analysts had predicted a year ago that the competition for the U.S. presidency would end up between an expected Democratic designee, Hillary Clinton, contested from the left by Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, and a Republican business tycoon with no practical political experience.

The conflicting opposition and predictions of a policy made Donald Trump a very uncomfortable prospect for a future relationship. Although systematically respectful of a tradition of avoiding to express any preference, the European leadership (conservative or left, north or south, from large and small countries) in private expressed worries on how to deal with a possible Trump victory. In any event, the bulk of the European Union’s establishment never considered this outcome as possible. This feeling could be the expression of a realistic wishful thinking. For their part, public opinion and media reaction on the progress of the Trump candidacy have been a combination of amusement, disbelief and outrage. 

So, a defeat of the Republican candidate would mean the confirmation of a welcome sign of relief. The European leadership did not need another worry to deal with, on top of the economic problems, uncontrolled immigration, terrorism, nationalism and confrontations with Russia. Europe needs a stable relationship with the U.S., a prospect that some of the plans issued by Trump did not endorse. Trade agreements, investment strategies and security projects were placed in danger, with Brexit in the background. Clarification in 2017 is seen as more feasible under a Democratic presidency. 

Note to media: To interview our UM experts please contact Barbara Gutierrez, at 305-284-3205 or at bgutierrez@miami.edu 

2016 election analysis

Trump and Hillary Clinton

 It is a historic campaign for the United States, and the world is watching who will carry the day.  The campaign is on a high note with the primary candidates Trump and Hillary Clinton trying to convince people why they are the best.  Hillary Clinton is running for president under the Democratic Liberty ticket, while   Donald Trump is under the Green Party. The reason this is a historic election is the fact that the United States has never had a qualified woman candidate before.  It is hard to tell who the best between the two candidates is but from the past debates; it has become evident to me that Hillary Clinton is the best. She is by far a composed individual who is ready to take the United States to a new level.   If I can rate her from the debate results, there is no doubt that she remains the best candidate and this is the reason I contend, Hillary Clinton is the best candidate to be the United States compared to Donald Trump.  I know we all have the right to choose the candidate we believe he is the best; I have my reasons to consider Hillary Clinton, an outstanding candidate. 

   First, Hillary is the best candidate is because of her stand in immigrants in the United States.  It is clear that immigrants occupy a significant population in the United States especially since the onset of the Syrian war.  The number of people migrating from Syria to the United States has increased over the years. These are the needy individuals who have escaped death by an inch, and the only thing they need is a place to call home. Hillary Clinton is determined to protect these people and give permanent citizenship, but she will only deport the illegal immigrants and those immigrants with criminal cases “I am, you know, adamantly against illegal immigration and deportation should only be individuals who pose a violent threat to public safety.” However, Trump, on the other hand, considers such persons as rapists and drug dealers where he claims that when he is declared as the president. The first thing he will do is to ensure that these people are deported from the United States “They're bringing drugs,' crime and are 'rapists'” (CNN News,2016)

Presidential election facts 2016

   Evidently,  Barrack Obama has tried to be the best president for the United States for the past eight years, but unfortunately, there are so many things that he has neglected.   There is the increasing rate of unemployment, the high rate of crimes and the unpredictable position of the United States on the international platform.  These are the issues that require a President who has political experience so that he/she handle the issues as needed.  The fact that Hillary had devoted her eight years to the political career gives her an advantage over Trump who in this case can be called a novice politician.  Regarding background, Hillary Clinton is a well-groomed individual and can take the POTUS role responsibly.  Her resume is among the stacked resumes and, while at Wellesley College she was elected as the senior class president with honor in Law.  She has also been part of the Barry Goldwater campaigns in 1964 and McGovern in 1972 as we; as Jimmy Carter in 1976. This is only the necessary information about Clinton, while Trump has never been in charge of any political office and the fact that he has managed to build a business empire does not make him the best candidate.  Running a business is a different thing from running a super power. Hillary, on the other hand, has handled several political offices, and with this experience, I believe she will manage to address these issues during her term compared to Trump. 

 There is little we know about Trump, but through his speech, we can be able to tell the person he is. Personally, Trump is a careless person who doesn’t give a second thought in whatever he says, he has been clear in his speech on some critical issues such as banning and deporting the immigrants, construction of a wall around the United States and banning the Muslims into the United States.  Trump is an individual who imagines there is no need advisor or any policies to guide him. Trump also has no idea on important issues like mitigating unemployment where he talks about empowering the middle class, the issue of abortion, minimum wages, debt, and the healthcare issues. It is clear that if elected he is an individual who will lead the United States to total darkness and this is the reason he is a bad bet. 

2016 election review

 When it comes to the environment, Hillary Clinton does not deny the fact that the changes in climate taking place is a serious issue. She is committed to the environment, and her value to the environment can be connected back to several decades. Also as a President, Hillary is determined to impose the protection of the environment as the primary activity.  In the first place, she promises to repeal the Big Oil Subsidies and make sure the organizations drilling in the Arctic are stopped. In this case, Hillary is planning to invest in safe energy that is relevant to the next generation.  She also aims at creating renewable energy when she promises to install over half a billion solar panels in the United States, which is the best move to safeguarding the environment. We all know that environment is life and the fact that we will have the president who values the good being of the environment is the best thing that happens to the United States. 

 Hillary Clinton has also fought for the well being of the health sector in the United States since the 90s.  This was the time she fought against the aim of the insurance companies who aimed at derailing the health care reforms.  This is the point that Clinton won the war and managed to sign in the Insurance health care for children that has ensured more than eight million kids. She is also in full support for the Obama care Act, which objects at creating a healthcare to across 20 million citizens. This is where Hillary proves to the United States that her interest to the nation is confident and that she is ready to make any change.

 I also believe as a superpower nation; we need a president who is competent and a composed president who can handle issues competitively.  However, from the previous presidential campaign, has proved that Hillary is more competitive and relaxed than Trump.  When giving answers, she appears composed and answers Trump in a professional way, unlike Trump who only concentrates on being defensive.  The worst part is that he does not accept defeat to the extent that he claims that the microphone was not working.  However, after giving him the last change in the final presidential debate, Trump still lost it, and he still presented himself as a loser. 

 In conclusion, the United States needs a strong President who has political experience and who is ready to take the country to the next level. The President should also be aware of how she should deal with critical issues surrounding the citizens, and this are the reason I believe that Hillary Clinton is the best choice for the United States as a nation. 


Arnett, A. (2016). 6 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Is The Best Presidential Candidate Ever. Retrieved Oct 20th, 2016, from http://www.konbini.com/us/inspiration/6-reasons-why-to-vote-for-hillary-clinton/

BBC. (2016). US presidential debate: Trump won't commit to accept election result. Retrieved 2016, from BBC NEWS: http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-37706499

Chuck, R. (2016, October 3rd). Who would be a better president: Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump? Retrieved October 20th, 2016, from Quora: https://www.quora.com/Who-would-be-a-better-president-Hillary-Clinton-or-Donald-Trump

Recap. (2016). Final Presidential Debate: Live Analysis of Clinton vs. Trump. Retrieved October 20th, 2016, from Wall Street Journal: http://www.wsj.com/livecoverage/hillary-clinton-donald-trump-third-debate-2016-las-vegas

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