It seems even more perspective is needed after the second debate on the magnitude of differences between Clinton and Trump. I’ve already published a curation of the differences in their economic plans and the consequences most likely to occur based on expert analysis.
More is needed.
I recently published an article that attempted to prioritize and give weight to the largest problems in the world. Admittedly, they aren’t all problems directly affecting the United States citizen who is voting in the upcoming election, but many of the problems do directly affect the average American citizen and all indirectly affect them. In either case, they help to frame and focus the issues that are most important. Here is the executive summary list included in that article:
The most pressing issues with highest returns on investment are:
All of the extreme risks from number one apply to the United States and Trump is categorically more dangerous on all accounts. While neither candidate appears to be too worried about threats from superintelligent AI as of now, Trump does not believe climate change is man-made and has repeatedly referred to it as a hoax. In fact, according to Time, “A group of 375 leading scientists, including 30 Nobel laureates, penned a letter criticizing Trump’s stance on climate change earlier this month.” On the other hand, Clinton has publicly stated that climate change is a serious problem and has extensive plans to address it. This is an issue that will greatly affect anyone alive 50 years from now and anyone with kids should be very concerned for the future we are leaving them.
To give just one example, if sea levels do rise as a result of global warming there would need to be mass migration from the coasts where 50% of the world lives. The world is currently unable to cope with four million Syrian migrants. What will happen when hundreds of millions of people need to move as climate refugees? That type of movement could result in what Naomi Klein has termed “genocide due to apathy” as potentially millions of climate refugees become stranded in transition.
Continuing with number one above, the largest threats involving biosecurity and nuclear security would come from proliferation of weapons that find their way into dangerous hands. Trump has made several comments regarding nuclear weapons and does not seem to have a problem with more countries acquiring them, thereby increasing access among potential threats. For some perspective on just how dangerous either of these issues are, Nate Silver gives some statistical likelihoods given our prior knowledge,
A flu strain that was spread as easily as the 2009 version of H1N1, but had the fatality ratio of the 1918 version, would have killed 1.4 million Americans. There are also potential threats from non-influenza viruses like SARS, and even from smallpox, which was eradicated from the world in 1977 but which could potentially be reintroduced into society as a biological weapon by terrorists, potentially killing millions. (p. 229)
For nuclear weapons, it gets just as bad,
Consider again the case of terror attacks. The September 11 attacks alone killed more people— 2,977, not counting the terrorists— than all other attacks in NATO countries over the thirty-year period between 1979 and 2009 combined (figure 13-7). A single nuclear or biological attack, meanwhile, might dwarf the fatality total of September 11.
These are very serious threats and the priority they should be given are much higher than what most members of the public care to think about day to day.
I’ll ignore number two above for now because it doesn’t fit with the message of this article, but needless to say, the elected president ought to spend more time and money dedicated to proactively figuring out which problems should be addressed in regards to allocation of our limited resources.
Number three is an issue that I’ve already addressed and Trump comes out much, much worse. You can see the evidence, analysis, and data by looking at my previous post on the subject of their economic plans. To add to the discussion and data in my other article, the idea of millions of Americans potentially losing work and increasing the unemployment rate is a life and death situation. According to a meta-analysis of 42 studies on the topic, “Our findings show that unemployment was associated with an increased relative risk of all-cause mortality. We show that the risk of death was 63% higher among those who experienced unemployment than among those who did not, after adjustment for age and other covariates.” This translates into literally thousands of deaths as a result of Trump’s proposed economic plans.
Numbers four through six are mainly aimed at the developing world in regards to how pressing and absent they often are. However, even here we find that Trump wants to make it more difficult for women to make choices about their own bodies and thereby take the opposite approach to what is deemed most effective for health and development. He also wants to do away with the Affordable Care Act and in the process strip 20 million Americans of their health insurance, access they’ve only gained because of its creation. Clinton, again, has plans that would benefit family planning for women and help insure more people for lower costs.
On top of this, his education plan endorses school choice, an option that many believe fosters the breakdown of public education as a prized institution by siphoning off dollars and diluting the pool of funds needed within already underfunded schools. It is the exact opposite strategy used by the Finnish school system, which in many respects is regarded as the best system in the world.
Whether it is extreme risks, trade and migration reform, family planning, health care, or education, Trump is objectively offering worse plans than Clinton in almost every way. The economy, health care, and education are the issues that most people deal with on a personal level. Many of the other issues are abstract and can’t be directly experienced except in the instance of some terrible tragedy. So even if one is only worried about himself and his family, the three issues of economic prosperity, health care, and education are all better achieved according to expert analysis via the plans proposed by Clinton. There is simply no contest.
Electing Trump will directly or indirectly result in literally thousands of deaths, both within and outside of the United States and anyone that votes for him should feel partially responsible those lives.