Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (R) and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton participate in the third and final presidential debate at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) in Las Vegas, Nevada, the United States, Oct. 19, 2016.(Xinhua/Yin Bogu)
by Xinhua writer Liu Chang
BEIJING, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- The hustle and bustle of the 2016 U.S. presidential race is finally -- and supposedly -- drawing to a close, yet the eye-popping and stomach-turning election is set to leave far-reaching and toxic implications for the United Statesand the rest of the world.
For a country that habitually tags itself as the beacon for democracy and freedom, the selection of its leader has become a shouting match of insults, instead of a contest of solutions to its chronic and deep-rooted problems.
The saddest and most ironic part is that the U.S. voters will have to choose their future president on the basis not of who has more merits befitting the office but of who is less busy in acid-washing his or her stains.
The lowbrow fight has also set a tempting precedent for future presidential contenders. To get elected might just mean playing on some misconceptions, anxieties or fears of the public, or simply lying all the way up to the White House.
The disillusionment is incarnated in the rise of Donald Trump, the real estate tycoon turned Republican candidate. Many in the United States have lost faith in their country's political establishment, not least its poor ability to deliver real change.
Yet it appears guaranteed that when the next president takes office, partisan politics and political gridlock will continue and even get worse, leaving the new U.S. leader little political capital to end farcical struggles and materialize his or her agenda.
For the rest of the world, the U.S. drama also augurs ill.
Should Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton become the United States' commander-in-chief, her country would be more likely to use force in foreign lands.
Under a President Clinton, Washington could throw itself deeper into Syria. Given recent history, the United States playing a bigger role without serious reflection on past debacles would mean the Middle East getting even messier. Any miscalculation might also provoke a direct confrontation with Russia.
The peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific would also be tested due to her role in engineering outgoing President Barack Obama's "pivot to Asia" strategy, which is designed to maintain America's hegemony in the region and has visibly disturbed regional tranquility and amity.
A Trump win is no better news for the world. His populist rhetoric indicates that there is no love lost between him and free trade, which serves as a vital driver of sustained and robust economic growth, even to the world's largest economy.
Yet the election is not all bad, particularly in that it has revealed some inborn defects of the so-called liberal democracy preached by the United States.
The electoral politics in the United States, which plumbed new depths of nastiness this year, has once again demonstrated that the Washington way is not the only way, not to mention the best way.
The diverse nations around the world should choose their own paths of development based on their respective historical backgrounds and new realities.