I’ll keep this brief. There is a huge amount circulating on this topic currently, much of which predicting the end of the world is imminent. But, whilst I wanted Hillary Clinton to become the next president, on the grounds that:
- She offered stability and experience
- She’s a women, and I liked the idea of Clinton, May, and Merkel; three of the most powerful leaders on earth being women
- She’s not a racist, sexist, xenophobic, bigoted, living in the past maniac,
I didn’t think she’d win. It’s all very convenient to turn around and say “I told you so. I was right. I predicted what happened”. But I kid you not; for weeks I’ve been saying to people that I wanted Clinton to win, but I didn’t think she would. An exit poll suggested over 40% of the electorate wanted change; other polls put this figure even higher. Clinton would offer stability. Quite apart from being part of the same party as that of Obama, so her policies are similar, her rhetoric never exactly portrayed her as someone willing to take risks. People wanted change, and they were not going to get that from her. Trump offers change (whether said change is good or bad is a separate debate), and that’s why, when that exit poll got released, we had the first indication that last night was going to be very good for Trump, and not so good for Clinton.
Both candidates had issues that damaged their campaign. Trump had his sexual misconduct allegations. Clinton had her email scandal. On the basis that Trump is now the President-elect, and Clinton isn’t, one can assume that the FBI’s investigation did more damage to Clinton, than the allegations did to Trump. Indeed, I believe this to be the case. People keep pointing out that the FBI came back with a verdict: Clinton is innocent. She did not break the law. And this is true. However, she did do something unwise and stupid. The FBI described it as “extremely careless”. She went down a route which COULD, but admittedly didn’t, compromise national security, something that is of utmost importance to the American people, particularly post 9/11. Her decision making, therefore, in a position of power (Secretary of State), is questionable. Yes Trump has no political experience whatsoever, but no political experience has beaten a women with lots of it. Another reason for this is, of course, the period in which she was in politics. She was Secretary of State between 2009 and 2013. Trump has blamed Clinton and Obama for the rise of Islamic State. This is a nice political quip, but, she was Secretary during the Arab Spring. IS, it is argued, grew out of these protests and revolutions. Now, many Americans don’t care about whether or not the West should have got involved further in this period, or if we had, whether or not IS would exist currently. What matters is that one of the things her career is associated with is the Arab Spring and the birth of IS. That is what matters; no more technicality is needed. This political quip, whilst being a quip, is very effective, because you can justify it with two or three factual sentences. Of course if we dig deeper, one could argue she was remarkably successful, and that Trump’s comment that she is to blame for IS is rubbish. But he justifies it in a simple manner, and in politics, when campaigning, simple is good. Simple ideas are believable. And people believed Trump. People got it into their heads that she was a poor Secretary of State, and therefore would be a poor President.
Trump has some crazy ideas, perhaps most infamous being the wall, that he will build on the boarder with Mexico, and that the Mexicans will pay for, (which, by the way, won’t be built, and the Mexicans therefore won’t pay for it). These ideas are now going to go through a filtering system. First, he will begin to be briefed and advised on defence, immigration, the economy, the environment etc. Through this, he may realise that some his ideas, in reality, might not be such good ideas. For those of us terrified of what Trump is going to do to the world, this is a good thing. The second layer of defence standing between Trump’s ideas and the world is Congress – The House of Representatives and The Senate. Both of which are Republican majority, which some argue mean congress will support Trump with all of his endeavours. However, I would argue the Republican majority means very little. Trump doesn’t automatically have the support of Congress, just because he’s a Republican. A large number of Republicans have actively spoken out against him. One of my biggest problems that I’ve had with the fallout since the election, is the assumption that, for the next 4 years, Trump is a dictator. He’s won the election. He’s going to be the President. Therefore, he can, and will, do absolutely anything he likes, and there’s nothing any of us can do to stop him. It is simply not the case! He’ll have the best advisers telling him what he can and can’t do. He’ll be briefed on the state of the world. And if, he still thinks one of his ideas is a good idea, then if it’s mad enough to cause damage, Congress will block it.
Finally, I don’t want to come across as a Trump supporter when I say this. I’m not. But I believe he is far more intelligent than we all assume. One could liken him to Boris Johnson. He has a facade, a mad and pompous one, which is carefully crafted by his team. This facade is appealing and attractive to the relative audience. Underneath that facade is intelligence. I’m not saying that the racism, sexism, and xenophobia is all a facade. Just that he’s an intelligent racist, sexist and xenophobic. Yes, he’s not a particularity successful businessmen. But, for those who claim that Trump is unintelligent, he just won an election. He managed to convince 59,589,684 people, that he, was a better candidate than Clinton, who had experience, and was sane. No one thought he would run. But he did. Then no one thought he would climb the polls. But he did. No one thought he would win any primaries. But he did. Then, everyone said he wouldn’t get the Republican nomination. But he did. And finally, everyone said he wouldn’t beat Clinton and become the next President of the United States. But he has. Like the man or not, he and his campaign team have pulled off an extraordinary feat of democracy, which demands respect. He is intelligent, and whilst I don’t think he’ll bring the stability Clinton would have done, he is not going to be a disaster. And who knows…he may even leave behind a better legacy than Obama has. Even for Donald Trump, that shouldn’t be difficult.