The term ‘political earthquake’ is has become a rather hackneyed phrase of late, given the sheer number of seismic world events occurring in the last two years, but I think it would be fair to say that the 2016 U.S. election measures high on the Richter scale. After an ugly campaign marked by ad hominems, media spin, scandal and a generous quantity of e-mails, Donald J. Trump, the outsider, has emerged victorious and will be inaugurated as 45th president of the United States on 20 January 2017.
When the businessman and reality T.V. star descended his escalator in 2015, having announced that he would run for P.O.T.U.S., many people sniggered and assumed that he would drop out in the first few rounds. Instead, he took on his G.O.P. rivals and, one by one, they crumbled before his unassailable assaults. Establishment goons like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio faced a candidate unlike any other. Some, like Chris Christie and Ben Carson, wisely fell in line, while others formed a ‘Never Trump’ movement, stubbornly refusing to acknowledge this maverick as the Republican standard-bearer. They may have cause to regret their obstinacy, for Mr. Trump is a man who bears long grudges.
Once Mitt Romney conceded defeat, the tycoon was able to focus his attention on the road to the White House – a much, much more arduous task. For he was up against Hillary Rodham Clinton and her campaign machinery. Clinton had much more money behind her. She had Obama, Goldman Sachs, almost all of the mainstream media, foreign powers, Hollywood A-listers, pop stars and the talking heads of the Establishment. Trump had Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Infowars, Breitbart and Scott Baio. On paper, Clinton was the obvious winner. She is an experienced diplomat and has been immersed in the murky world of politics for long enough. Millions of Americans expected the night of November the eighth to be a night of victory for the Democratic Party.
I was lying in bed with a cold when my girlfriend send me an update. Trump was in the lead.
“A good start for the Republicans,” I replied, “but Clinton will surge ahead soon enough. California’s four-square behind her.”
It was, of course, but as the minutes went by and more results came through, I could see no sign of the gap narrowing. My eyes did not deceive me, yet news sites like the BBC and CNN continued saying that the parties were ‘neck-and-neck’ or that it was ‘too close to call’. Not true: Trump had a clear, measurable lead. Around 16:00 Beijing Time, Clinton made the phone call and it was all over. Democrats were stunned, while the Trumpists were jubilant.
How did the opinion polls get it so wrong? What propelled Mr. Trump to the Oval Office? Was it Brexit? The tireless work of campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway? The mischievous antics of Julian Assange? Vladimir Putin? Perhaps they are all a factor in the outcome of this historic election, but I believe that at the heart of the issue is the frustration of blue-collar America. They number in the millions, but they have been ignored by the globalist Establishment for many years. Their living standards have stagnated, while that of the metropolitan bourgeoisie has increased. There is uncertainty over jobs, the economy and the future of their communities. Trump appeared to give voice to their concerns and to speak to them on their terms. He was not, like so many politicians, a robot in a suit, reading from carefully-scripted lines. He seemed real, human, and no amount of controversy was going to damage that. The liberal media has been trying all year to bring him down, while extremists like Black Lives Matter have consistently tried to undermine him at his rallies. His answer? “Get ’em out!” Accordingly, they are shown the exit.
His enemies queued up to destroy him: the G.O.P. diehards, the Democrats, news agencies, trendy left-wing comedians. They have all failed. And now, they cry their sugary liberal tears and talk of apocalypse. Thousands of spoiled brats, rather than grow up and accept reality, have made a mess of American cities because they didn’t get their way. So much for ‘love trumps hate’!
The SJW temper-tantrums will fizzle out, but what of the U.K. government? Prime Minister Theresa May, when she was Home Secretary, made the foolish mistake of interfering in U.S. politics. When Trump suggested a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S.A. (a nice, if possibly unworkable, idea), she chided him for being ‘divisive, unhelpful and wrong’. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, never one to keep his trap shut, was downright rude to the man. They are going to have to do a lot of brown-nosing or risk alienating Britain from her long-time ally. In a post-Brexit world, we can ill afford to burn any more bridges, and the Conservative government will have to work with the Trump administration, whether they like it or not.
Will President Trump be the harbinger of apocalypse? Will he start World War 3? No one can say for certain, because the man is such an unknown quantity. For all his campaign rhetoric, which was often bombastic and controversial, what kind of man will he be in the White House? Time alone will tell. Perhaps in four years’ time, I’ll sit in a nuclear bunker and shed my own tears, ruing the day a reality T.V. star became head of state of the most powerful nation in the world. For now, however, I shall give President Trump the benefit of the doubt, for I have made the mistake of underestimating him before. Besides, there was good news to be found on that momentous day of November the ninth: California legalised recreational cannabis. God bless America!