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Article by Imran Chaudhri
With the November 2024 Presidential election looming ever nearer, the political buzz is significantly growing. The media have described this election as a fork in the road for US politics, as evidenced by the analysis of constantly evolving factors which may alter the public perception of each candidate and the predictions relating to the significance of the identity of the next US president for the global economy.
With a GDP of $25.46 trillion, the US is the largest economy in the world by a staggering margin. The USA’s political and economic decisions will inherently influence other economies, whether through exchange rate fluctuations, multi-billion-pound international trade deals or by other means. Through assessing these factors and consequences, the fundamental significance of this election can be understood.
Predictions for who will be elected as President:
For context, there are 15 candidates still in the running. As it stands, recent average polling data shows that either President Biden or former President Trump are favoured to be the next President, pulling 36% and 39.6% of votes respectively. This shadows independent underdogs Kennedy Jr. (16.6%) and West (4.2%).
Factors affecting the US presidential election:
As with any nation’s elections, an endless list of factors can turn the electorate’s favour on any candidate. Generally, candidates must have economic, social welfare, foreign, education, healthcare, and environmental policies that appeal to voters. However, current national and global issues have added extra complexities for Biden and Trump which could make the difference in a year’s time.
Without a doubt, the conflict between Israel and Palestine has been incredibly polarising around the world. Biden and Trump’s positions on aid for these countries could cause them to gain, or lose, millions of voters. As the Financial Times observed, Biden’s sturdy resolve to assist Israel has led demographics of young people and ethnic minority voters to oppose his policies. On the other hand, Trump is unlikely to have been impacted by his statements on the conflict, as he has more prominent concerns regarding his four criminal indictments. Regarding Trump’s court visits for alleged racketeering, election interference and mishandling important documents, many narratives have purported that his conflicts with the law may have only made him something of a martyr, strengthening the loyalty of his supporters. Many even believe that he could function as a President from the confines of jail, stating that the “the Oval Office” could be put “in whatever prison they have him in”.
What used to be more of a satirical observation of US politics has now become a genuine concern over recent months, as the competencies and efficacy of certain US politicians has been frequently questioned due to factors such as their age. With Biden and Trump being 80 and 77 respectively, either President would become the oldest ever if they were sworn in.
With Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezing up twice on camera within a month in 2023, the public has become increasingly critical of both the physical limitations and lack of progressive thinking of many politicians. Therefore, there is a genuine possibility that voters, out of an increased awareness of age-related concerns, may favour Kennedy Jr. (69) or West (70) as marginally better candidates in that category.
Why the Identity of the Next President Matters for the Tech Industry:
Considering that the focus so far has mostly been on politics, it is important to understand why this analysis is relevant to the US and global economies. As the Financial Times said, “a win for Trump would change the world”. After 4 years of progress from the Biden administration, a return of Trump’s radical behaviour could weaken international relationships, worsening international trade between the US and the rest of the world and therefore weakening the development of both economies. Different stances on wars, the development of AI, and climate change could either propel the US economy into a new era, socially and economically, or plummet it into a recession. Furthermore, a fresh independent candidate could completely alter where the US fits in the global economy, taking it into industries that it may not have specialised in before and possibly benefitting the world as a dividend from that.
Focusing on tech, an industry that will most likely thrive in the coming year with the exponential developments in the AI field, the President’s agenda could halt, or propel, a Golden Age for innovation and economic growth. Although Biden has recently ordered for the “safe use of AI” by introducing laws on AI-made content, especially in relation to issues surrounding deep fakes, his government’s belief that the US is the “global leader in AI” indicates that they will welcome any progress in AI technology assuming that it doesn’t pose threats to others. Trump, on the other hand, has often advocated for free-speech, especially where it may be politically controversial. He introduced Truth Social in 2022 and has vowed to implement a “digital Bill of Rights” that would prevent online content being taken down without government officials obtaining a court order. This agenda to appease conservative voters could cause AI to grow into something that is known less for its commercial applications but its use spreading propaganda and hateful content. It is difficult to say how much this would affect economic growth in the US, but it certainly could distract other economies from using AI for ‘the right reasons’.
To conclude, with next year’s election seemingly appearing to be a two-horse race, international wars, age concerns, and criminal convictions could completely turn the tide for the future of the US economy. Considering that the technology industry, for one, is beaming with potential, it is important that the next President of the United States is well equipped to handle the inherent threats of AI use whilst capitalising on its clear benefits.