By Paul Clarke,
The November 3 United States presidential election has been cast in existential terms amid criticisms by Jamaican expatriates that Donald Trump has damaged the White House and lowered America’s standing in the world.
With more than 60 million Americans already casting early ballots, an October 16-27 Gallup poll showing a record gap in approval of the president’s performance is a key indicator that America is more politically divided now than at any time in history.
The survey, released Thursday, shows that only three per cent of Democrats approve of Trump’s job compared to 95 per cent for Republicans – a chasm wider than at any time since Gallup’s existence.
Jamaican attorney-at-law Dahlia Walker-Huntington, who lives and works in Florida, said that showing Trump out the door was the first step towards restoring the US’s tattered global image.
In her view, the “entire reputation of America” is at stake.
“It is on the ballot because what we have seen over the last four to five years is a complete reversal of the values that we have come to know as Americans and Jamaicans as immigrants,” Walker-Huntington told a Gleaner Editors’ Forum on Thursday.
“Certainly for those who have come since the 1970s, we have come to expect, and the world has come to expect, a certain level of dignity, integrity, decent reputation, and we have seen that being eroded over the last four years,” added Walker-Huntington.
Trump’s unconventional presidency – marked by armchair tweets spewing invective – has upended the norms of diplomacy. His America First policy has led to a withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord and the World Health Organization in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic that has killed 220,000 and infected more than nine million on the domestic front.
Those unfolding rifts will leave Republican challenger Joe Biden with a Herculean job to rebuild bridges, said Professor Basil Wilson.
“There is no question there is a lot of work to be done to improve relationships with traditional alliances that constitute the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).”
“There’s no question that there is quite a lot to be done in recharging the global economy, and there’s no question we need to really tackle climate change,” Wilson, who formerly lectured at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, New York, told the forum.
Irwine Clare, director of Caribbean Immigrant Services, said the developed world has sought to distance itself from a president who “hangs out better with despots”.
“In a Biden situation, the US has to restore itself because you can’t continue to pride yourself as the leader in the world when you yourself are following despots, reaching out to a guy in Noth Korea, sending him love letters,” he said of Kim Jong-Un.