As the election grows nearer, American voters should consider their next commander-in-chief and party’s stance on global development and whether it is in line with their best interests, individually and as a nation. The Republicans and Democrats both touch on particular policies with regards to international development and global relations.
The Democratic platform believes that “development assistance is an essential instrument of American power” that increases stability and peace among nations. They list “ending extreme poverty and hunger” as part of their “global goals” (Democratic Party Committee., 2016, p.48); being similar to Obama’s “extreme poverty agenda” (Piccio, 2016).
Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, has previous experience in foreign policy, serving as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. In a speech at a Confirmation hearing, she talks about ‘smart power’, a combination of hard and soft power resources used to assert American influence on the international stage (Piccio, 2016).
The Republican platform states that international development is a way of “keeping the peace”, but that “foreign aid must serve America’s interests first” (Republican Party Committee, p.52) . Donald Trump holds comparable interests for the U.S.: saying that the U.S. should “stop sending money to countries that hate us” but to instead “invest in our infrastructure… our tunnels, roads, bridges and schools” (Trump, 2016) .
The Democrats pledge to continue to fund HIV and AIDS prevention globally, ensuring their involvement with the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) (D. P. Committee, 2016, p. 48). Republicans have stated that they will continue to support George W. Bush’s health initiatives including AIDS relief along with “the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria” (R. P. Committee, 2016, p.51).
Both parties are at a bipartisan agreement that global funds are required to heed the acceleration of diseases into America and worldwide. However, when it comes to foreign policies related to abortion, the Democratic platform promises to “protect a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion” (D.P. Committee, 2016, p.25). In contrast, the Republicans are quick to re-enact the Mexico City Policy, which halts foreign aid to organizations that provide abortion or give information about abortion (R. P. Committee, 2016, p. 51).
Donald Trump does not accept the scientific evidence that climate change is real (stating that it is fabricated by China to slow down American growth) and pledges to withdraw from the Paris agreement (Liu, 2016). The Republicans agree with this course of action in their platform and “demand a halt to US funding on the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change” (R.P. Committee, 2016, p.52).
Hillary Clinton and the 2016 Democratic platform calls climate change an “urgent threat to our economy”(D.P. Committee, 2016, p. 2). They promise to invest in green infrastructure to help reduce the effects which, they state, will provide economic growth.
Although global development has only been briefly mentioned throughout the 2016 presidential election, this decision will have a direct impact on America and its role as a global leader. Progress is not expected instantly in the development community but the next leader is expected to continue Obama’s legacy. During a global development summit, President Obama mentions the significance of the next POTUS’ role: “whoever the next president is, development has to remain a fundamental pillar of American foreign policy and a key part of our work to lift up lives not just overseas, but here in the United States” (Igoe, 2016).
2. Piccio, L. Where they stand: Democrats and Republicans on global development. US Foreign Aid 2016 [cited 2016 November 3]; Available from: https://www.devex.com/news/where-they-stand-democrats-and-republicans-on-global-development-88558.
4. Donald Trump. 2016 [cited 2016 November 3]; Available from: http://www.impact2016.org/candidates/donald-trump/.
5. Liu, L. Trump said he didn't call climate change a Chinese Hoax - here's proof that he did. 2016 [cited 2016 November 3]; Available from: http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-did-call-climate-change-a-hoax-created-by-china-2016-9.
6. Igoe, M. President Obama takes 'victory lap' at global development summit. US Foreign Aid 2016 [cited 2016 November 3]; Available from: https://www.devex.com/news/president-obama-takes-victory-lap-at-global-development-summit-88459.