From Malmö to Mumbai to Melbourne, news junkies will spend the next 24 hours scrutinizing voting patterns coming out of places like Youngstown, Ohio, and Pensacola, Florida. Those Swedes, Indians and Aussies in the know can identify such bellwether localities in battleground states that the pundits say will decide whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States.
It has become something of a trite habit every four years to declare that the race for the White House is a global event — from the international interest generated by the spectacle of the never-ending campaigns to the obvious and less-obvious ramifications for the rest of the world of the policies bound to come out of Washington.
The 2016 campaign, however, has fused this truism with a brand new kind of urgency. For the first time in memory, there is the realistic chance that a candidate will be elected who has openly vowed to pull America back from its role as global superpower, to question generation-old military alliances, to stem free trade, to close borders.
Beyond the cheerleading bluster of his "Make America Great Again," Donald Trump has tapped into a sentiment among voters that the supposed greatness of yore has been lost not only amid Washington and Wall Street maneuverings, but in some distant and faceless swirl of globalization. Of course, such inward-looking, nationalistic messages had already been gaining traction — and winning at the polls — elsewhere in the world. A Trump victory would give it the kind of brand packaging and export power that, still, only America can provide.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY
- First state polls close in U.S. election at 11 p.m. GMT.
- Nine U.S. states vote on relaxing laws on use of medical or recreational marijuana.