The U.S. presidential election, more than 16 months away, is already in full swing. With no incumbent running, both parties will have to nominate a candidate, although it appears only the Republican side will be contested. The nomination of Hillary Clinton to face the Republican challenger appears to be a foregone conclusion. Clinton, or "Hillary" as her campaign is branding her, will therefore face little criticism until a Republican candidate is picked, an event that is nearly one year away. In the meantime, the list of Republican candidates for the nomination is ever-growing. The current leader for the Republican nomination is Donald Trump, a wealthy New York businessman known for his brash style and unpredictable mouth. Predicting the ultimate winner of the Republican nomination will be akin to predicting the winner of the U.S. presidential election, as some candidates almost certainly lose against Hillary whereas some are evenly matched in statistical match-ups.
Donald Trump's current surge in polls of registered Republicans stems from his ability to grab the media spotlight and thus increase his exposure, without spending any ad dollars. Trump does so by making now infamous statements, including labeling most Mexican illegal immigrants, "rapists and murders." Most recently, on Saturday, he was quoted during a question and answer session criticizing the military record of Senator John McCain during his tours in Vietnam. McCain, who was captured and endured nearly six years of torture in a prisoner of war camp in Vietnam, was taken to task by Trump, who said: "He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured, OK?"
Trumps words, although later attacked by both political parties, were actually applauded, and ultimately he was given a standing ovation by the audience members listening in-person at the Family Leadership Summit held in Ames, Iowa - the first state to assign delegates to candidates who then vote at the Republican National Convention, where the nominee is technically chosen and is therefore coveted by candidates. Later walking back his statements, Trump said that he meant to criticize McCain's record on not helping veterans during his tenure in the Senate and that all veterans, "captured or not ... are heroes."
Leading the Republican field this early in the process is no indication of how a candidate will ultimately fare. The last Republican nomination process for president saw six different candidates lead at one time or another before Mitt Romney was picked to run against President Obama. Trump's, almost certain, temporary strength in the polls will soon fade and allow another candidate to take the spotlight. The problem for the Republican Party is that Trump and the other candidates will all vie for the nomination in several Republican debates, so those candidates no longer deemed viable will do their best to be rediscovered through even more outlandish remarks. Aimed primarily at registered Republicans, the debates are televised and watched by voters from all parties. This will weaken the ultimate candidate as the "extreme rhetoric" necessary to capture the hearts and votes of registered Republicans will simultaneously turn-off "independent and undecided" voters.
So what does Trump mean for the Turkish economy? The more extreme the rhetoric out of the Republican candidates, the less chance the Republicans have of winning the national election for the aforementioned reasons. A loss by the Republicans means a win for Hillary Clinton. Clinton's stints as Secretary of State and Senator from New York give us a window into her leadership style and policy positions. The Iran deal, which will ultimately allow Iran's economy to be freed of sanctions, is one which was spearheaded by Clinton while she ran the State Department. She has been vocal in her support for it and therefore, a strong Trump candidacy means a win for those that support the Iran deal with the P5+1 group of countries - the U.S., the U.K., Russia, China, France and Germany.) It also means the election of a pragmatic president.
Although the last time Hillary Clinton occupied the White House, she did so in the role of "First Lady, but her influence on former president Bill Clinton and inclusion in policy making decisions is widely known. Will a second Clinton presidency be different from the first Clinton presidency? Of course it will, but probably not by much. One of the most prosperous periods in U.S. history, a Clinton presidency may again mean low-interest rates, relatively few armed conflicts, diplomatic efforts aimed at resolving large disputes and military efforts aimed at resolving smaller disputes quickly. The election of Hillary Clinton as the next president of the United States is not only likely but will be great for the economy of not only the United States but of Turkey and the broader region. Thank you Trump and company for helping Hillary Clinton get elected!