Editorial: The Final Countdown

20 October 2016 Amy Hetherington

Editorial: The Final Countdown

Illustration by Eirian Chapman

On 8 November, Americans will choose their 45th president. It’s the vote for the most powerful leader in the Western world, with ramifications well beyond US borders. Australia has long hitched our destiny to the US strategically and politically; American policy inevitably impacts us. This election matters, and, frankly, I want in.

It appears I’m not alone. As Kim Beazley wrote in The Conversation earlier this year: “I used to dine out in Washington, DC, on a piece of Pew Research done for the 2008 presidential election. The question was asked around the globe whether the respondent was ‘interested in the US presidential election’. In the US, 83 per cent surveyed revealed themselves so focused. The Australian response was 84 per cent. We were more interested in their politics than they were.”

Four years later, we are arguably even more engrossed. It’s politics played out to an international audience as spectator sport, akin to reality TV. And it’s compelling; we’ve been talking about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton across the country for months, long before either candidate was confirmed their party’s nominee.

In this edition, comedian Charles Firth (p14) takes a look at both presidential picks in his guide to which candidate is for you. Cartoonist and Big Issue regular Zev Landes gets a haircut and joins Trump’s campaign trail through the Deep South. Talking directly to the people who support Trump, he finds a nation divided (p17-19). And with Clinton vying to become the first female commander-in-chief, Dr Leslie Cannold (p20-21) explains why gender matters in this campaign.

We also tip our hats to the other race that will stop the nation: the Melbourne Cup. Former Big Issue editor Alan Attwood (‘Phar and Away’, p26) pays tribute to Phar Lap and explores why we’re still talking about the horse with the big heart and even bigger legacy.

Amy Hetherington, Editor