The American people have a tremendously powerful decision to make on November 8th. In electing either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump to be the next President, they will be voting for starkly different visions for the future of the United States, with the future of America’s schools and colleges at stake as well.
With the polls suggesting a close race to the finish, and the role the American leadership plays in our world, do encourage any and every American friend or family member you know to go vote.
It was a great privilege, last week, to welcome a former lecturer of mine from my days as a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) student, Neville Norman, to my Year 12 Economics class at Portland Secondary College.
Thanks to the Portland Observer and Guardian for recapping Neville’s visit. In the article are some excellent reflections by students Jake Edwards and Annique Ray on how Neville’s workshop helped develop their understanding of the 2015 Federal Budget and the role it will play in the VCE Exam.
Whilst there will be much debate about the true meaning of the Barack Obama Presidency, one thing that can’t be questioned is the decisive nature of the American voting electorate. Despite winning two resounding Presidential Elections in 2008 and 2012, President Obama has overseen some of the most emphatic losses in Midterm Electoral history. With the 2014 Midterms, Republicans netted 8 more seats in the Senate (to reclaim the majority for the first time since 2006), 12 seats in the House of Representatives (to take their majority to approximately 36; their largest majority since 1929), 3 governorships and countless state legislatures.
As the academic semester came to a close, I sat down with the University of Melbourne’s Dr. Timothy Lynch, one of the foremost experts on American politics on the Australian academic scene. Currently the Director of the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, at The Faculty of Arts, Dr. Lynch teaches a variety of subjects on American politics and contributes to a variety television and print media with expert commentary.
Over the course of a half-hour interview we discussed a variety of issues that reflected upon the current state of affairs in Washington, the fracas that was the Government Shutdown, President Obama’s increasingly challenging second term and concluded with us casting our eye to 2016 and who may contend for the White House.
Really, there isn’t anything else that can be said about the latest fiscal crisis in the United States. With the federal government shutting down most operations on the 1st of October, as the House of Representatives (controlled by the Republicans) and the Senate (controlled by the Democrats) couldn’t agree on a Continuing Resolution for the 2014 fiscal year.
As President Barack Obama struggles to build consensus in Congress for a resolution authorising a military strike on Syria and Bashar al-Assad’s regime, he must simultaneously brave himself for a new round of fights with Congress over raising the debt ceiling. This ongoing battle, which has permeated Obama’s first term and a half, will surely last the remainder of the President’s second term. Key to any successful increase to the debt ceiling – the legislative cap on the amount of national debt that can be issued by the U.S. Treasury – is House Speaker John Boehner, who has been beleaguered by internal divisions amongst his colleagues over strategy and policy as they seek to engage the President to further curb the ballooning budget deficit.