By Fateme Mohammadipour

Hillary has more chances to win election: Harvard professor

September 27, 2016 - 11:33

TEHRAN - Peter A. Hall, a political scientist at Harvard University, believes that “due to racist policies of Trump, Hillary Clinton has more chances for winning” the presidential election.

In an interview with the Tehran Times, Hall says, “It has been difficult for Trump to expand his support beyond a core of white working and middle class voters at a time when almost a quarter of the electorate is Hispanic or African American.”

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced each other on Monday night local time (Tuesday morning AEST).

In what follows, the academic figure answers a number of questions on the U.S. presidential election.

Q: According to Data Targeting, a polling company, third party candidates have a good chance in the November elections. What is your opinion?

A: It is true that a majority of American citizens seem to be motivated to vote against the candidate of the competing party rather than for the candidate they prefer and the unpopularity of Trump and Clinton should increase the vote for third party candidates.  But history suggests that those candidates will not come close to a winning majority.  The open issue is whether they will reduce the votes for Clinton or Trump more, thereby giving the other candidate an advantage.

Q: What is your prediction of the presidential elections? Which candidate has a better chance of winning the election?

A: At this point, either Clinton or Trump could win this election.  Clinton has a small lead in the opinion polls and my own guess is that she will win the election because it has been difficult for Trump to expand his support beyond a core of white working and middle class voters at a time when almost a quarter of the electorate is Hispanic or African American.  But accidents happen in politics and we have two months in which any number of events could push the electorate toward or further away from Trump.

“In my view, Donald Trump lacks the policy experience and judgment necessary to be a good President.  He is focused on his own celebrity.  That would make him an unpredictable President, if not a dangerous one.”Q: Donald Trump's remarks about Putin and Saddam Hussein led 50 former security officials of the Republican Party to call him a dangerous person and said they do not support him. Do you yourself consider Trump as a dangerous man?

A: In my view, Donald Trump lacks the policy experience and judgment necessary to be a good president. He is focused on his own celebrity.  That would make him an unpredictable president, if not a dangerous one.

Q: Hillary Clinton has recently criticized Trump for supporting the idea of carrying weapons. What is your opinion?

A: There is no doubt that the widespread ownership of weapons leads to more deaths than the U.S. would otherwise have.  However, there is a culture that values hunting and the ownership of guns for personal protection that is strong in many parts of the country.  I think Clinton is showing real courage in opposing the ‘gun lobby’ but it may well cost her some votes.

“Although criticism of the (nuclear) deal is bound to figure in the rhetoric of the election, a sober president, even if it is Donald Trump, is likely to see the advantages of preserving this deal.”Q: What are the priorities of the American people in the presidential election?

A: The opinion polls show that the issues Americans consider most important in this election are the economy – broadly understood as the issue of how to secure better jobs and rising incomes – and terrorism which reflects the prominence terrorist attacks at home and abroad have had in the media.  However, there are divisions among the electorate about which issues are most significant.  Many consider immigration to be a key issue – and it has been at the center of the Trump campaign – while others emphasize the provision of health care – the signal accomplishment of the Obama administration.

Q: What is your prediction of the relationship between America and Iran? Can the next U.S. president annul the nuclear accord with Iran?

A: I think it is very unlikely that the next president will cancel the nuclear deal with Iran.  There are no good alternatives to that deal – for the U.S. or for Iran – and, although criticism of the deal is bound to figure in the rhetoric of the election, a sober president, even if it is Donald Trump, is likely to see the advantages of preserving this deal.

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