Miracles happen, and except one occurs, it is doubtful if America and the rest of the globe will win anything as President Trump goes about settling scores with real and imaginary enemies.
The 2016 presidential election in the United States of America has come and gone, what is left now are the ripple-effects of that election. The election will long be remembered as the most divisive and shocking presidential race in modern US history, as conventional wisdom and political science were proved wrong with the outcome of the election.
Historic was the emergence of Hillary Clinton, a woman, former senator and one-time secretary of state, as candidate for the Democratic Party. Also historic was the emergence of Donald Trump, real estate mogul and billionaire TV celebrity on the platform of the Republican Party. The emergence of the two candidates didn’t really excite American voters. A survey conducted earlier by the Pew Research Center found that far more respondents felt frustrated (57 percent), disgusted (55 percent), interested (31 percent). Only 10 percent felt excited by the involvement of both candidates. A publication by the New York Times poll also had it that 80 percent of Americans were disgusted with the election.
By March 2015 it had become public knowledge that during her tenure as United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton had used her family’s private e-mail server for official communication, including thousands of e-mail that would be marked classified by the State Department. Experts argued that her use of private e-mail messaging and server violated State Department protocols, federal laws and regulations guiding record keeping. Hillary would struggle profusely during the entire campaign to find explanation for this.
Similarly, Donald Trump could not be judged a saint in his public outlook. He ran one of the lousiest presidential campaigns ever. This man fractured his own party. His convention was a fiasco. He had no ground game to speak of. He needlessly offended countless groups of people: women, Hispanics, Muslims, disabled people, mothers of crying babies, the Bush family, among others. Generally, the two candidates did not actually appeal to the public, but somehow Trump was able to snatch victory from his rival via electoral college votes.
To win the election, out of 538 total electoral college votes, 270 are needed. Swing states are the battlegrounds where the election is fought. Issues in swing states tend to influence the campaign message. Racial diversity has remained a dominant feature as non-whites vote Democrat while Republican voters are mostly whites. Top on the list of issues in these swing states are immigration, and marijuana legalisation. It was clear from the onset that whoever wins more in these battleground states, in addition to securing the states that are perceived as party-safe domains, would ride to the White House in victory.
What happened last Tuesday was simply a disaster because there is a darkness about Trump that negates what America stands for; a folly so bewildering and an incompetence so profound that has made the entire world sceptical and jittery about his coming presidency.
A combination of factors undoubtedly influenced the outcome of the election. In the last days of the campaigns, Trump remained unshaken and fervent in his winning bid. But what tilted the voters and guaranteed victory for the flaxen-haired Republican candidate was his campaign strategy which seems to have eluded the predictive powers of political pundits.
It is striking that the democratic candidate embraced President Obama’s policies. Hillary tagged her campaign “Stronger Together”, and vowed to build on the Obamacare health coverage. Trump vowed to repeal it. Clinton approved of President Obama’s executive policy to document and prevent millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. In contrast, Trump pledged to deport them. In embracing these initiatives, Clinton’s aim was to reconstitute the 2012 Obama winning coalition of minorities, social liberals, women, African-Americans and average American working middle class. In this calculation, as events later proved, she was obviously trapped in the past and ignorant of the changing demographic permutations.
In contrast, all through the campaign, Trump remained vocal in his condemnation of the Obama government as an era of bad policies, bad judgments, and failed state of affairs and promised to “Make America Great Again.” Trump’s vocal, courageous positions on topical issues succeeded in tagging Hillary as an extension of the failed local and international policies of Obama’s presidency.
He vowed to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico and make Mexico pay for it; to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States; to bring manufacturing jobs which have been outsourced to foreign countries back; to impose tariffs on goods made in China and Mexico; to cut taxes with the top 0.1 percent receiving more tax relief; and to bomb or take the oil from ISIS in the Middle East, among others. Though some of these sounded ridiculous and seemed to lack rational reasoning, yet his popularity soared in the suburbs. His outspokenness may have appealed to a silent, hidden majority, which rather spoke loudly with their electoral votes.
Trump’s defiance of expectations was greatly influenced by the growing lack of trust, as Americans doubted Clinton’s sincerity in the raging abuse of office, and enrichment of the Clinton Foundation. These must have tipped undecided voters in favour of Trump. And, of course, the social media played a strategic role of aiding communication in the 2016 elections. WikiLeaks’, the hacking group, publications leading to the elections was very damaging and Russia was alleged to have encouraged the hacking of confidential information to influence the election in favour of Trump. The inability of the Clinton campaign to confirm or deny validity of these emails emboldened Trump to severally label the democratic candidate, “crooked Hillary” and repeatedly called her a “liar”. In the second debate, Trump even promised that if he became president, Clinton would be in jail. In many of Trump’s rallies, crowds were heard chanting, “Lock her up.”
Trump’s victory makes it look as if Hillary was exactly the wrong candidate for that election; a technocrat who offered fine-tuning when the country needed a sledgehammer to rid it of its troubles.
TrThe Democrats were blinded to the growing number of unaffiliated independent–minded voters. This demography surged to give Trump the keys to the White House in a victory, as he hit the ceiling with the whites’ votes. Over 67 percent of non-college whites voted Trump. Against democratic calculations, Hillary was unable to secure any close margin of African Americans, women, young voters’ turnout and votes – a coalition that gave record numbers for Obama’s victory in the past. Arguably, Hispanic votes in favour of Clinton could not offset the massive gains Trump made with white voters from Florida to North Carolina to Pennsylvania.
Frankly, the election was not fought or lost with Hispanic votes, but had to do with whites, suburban voters and women supporting Trump than anyone anticipated. People dismissed Trump as such a lousy candidate, an embarrassment to the Republican Party, the greatest acussation being that he combines policy ignorance with an impressive lack of common sense. But his voters did not take him literally as they took him seriously. These astonishing changes may well be viewed as one set ground zero for a political bombshell. Trump secured most states the Republicans were predicted to win, took the most contested states of Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Pennsylvania to capture two hundred and seventy-nine electoral votes, having polled 59,690,096 votes, as against Clinton’s majority popular vote of 59,916,932 votes.
What happened last Tuesday was simply a disaster because there is a darkness about Trump that negates what America stands for; a folly so bewildering and an incompetence so profound that has made the entire world sceptical and jittery about his coming presidency. Trump’s victory makes it look as if Hillary was exactly the wrong candidate for that election; a technocrat who offered fine-tuning when the country needed a sledgehammer to rid it of its troubles.
Perhaps, there is a bright side to Trump’s victory. After all, there was a reason that tens of millions of “good” people voted for him and maybe he will live up to their expectations. But let nobody be deceived; miracles happen and except one occurs, it is doubtful if America and the rest of the globe will win anything as President Trump goes about settling scores with real and imaginary enemies. We just have to contend with a Donald Trump as president of the United States of America, for, at least, the next four years, beginning from January 20, 2017.
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