In case it has escaped your attention, the U.S. has a Presidential election coming up in a few weeks, on November 8th to be precise. It would normally make sense to wait until immediately before the Election Day, or just after when the results are known, to write about it, but this time I am doing so early for two reasons.
Firstly, despite the abject failure of polls when it came to the Brexit vote most people do pay attention to them, and if you do you will be convinced that the Presidential race is as good as over. Clinton has a lead in every poll now, with some showing as much as an 11 point advantage. Given that, those that wish to position themselves for a Clinton win had better start doing so now because others certainly will.
The second reason is somewhat more prosaic, but a lot more powerful. Like most people who live in the States I am now completely sick of this election, and want it to be over as quickly as possible. The campaigning and debates have been almost entirely personal and one can only listen to grown people saying “You’re a puppet…” “No, YOU’RE a puppet!” for so long. Despite that almost overwhelming shallowness there has been one area where the actual policies of the two candidates are not just differentiated, but also clear, coherent and, most importantly could actually be at least partially enacted. That area is energy policy.
It seems to me that Americans frequently overestimate the power of the President when it comes to the economy, as it is Congress that actually makes fiscal policy, but when it comes to energy the real power lies in the executive branch and their control of the EPA. For those interested in the energy markets, therefore, an understanding of the candidates’ energy policies is a must.
In this case the difference is clear. Hillary Clinton sees control of emissions as a priority and has detailed plans to invest heavily in alternative energy and restrict the growth of fracking operations, while rescinding existing tax breaks for oil companies. Trump, on the other hand, has said that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by China, and that “unleashing America’s energy potential” is the priority, opening up Federal land for drilling, lifting the moratorium on deep water drilling and leaving the tax breaks in place, even as the overall corporate rate is cut dramatically.
Obviously, then, if you think Donald Trump is going…