Donald Trump’s stunning victory has left not only the American establishment but the rest of the world also shell-shocked. This is not how it was supposed to have worked out.
The establishment had already given Hillary R. Clinton the presidency. She was the quintessential insider who would keep the system running for the corporate thieves and robbers.
On Election Day, the New York Times gave Ms. Clinton 84 percent chance of clinching the presidency becoming the first woman to occupy White House (it should be remembered that she acted as virtual president during her husband Bill Clinton’s tenure as president from 1993-2000).
The ambitious former Secretary of State had probably already prepared her victory speech and early in the evening on Tuesday November 8, as media pundits reported on voting patterns, the mood at Clinton’s New York headquarters was upbeat.
In Trump’s camp a few blocks away, the mood was much more subdued. As election results started to come in, it zeroed in on five states that would prove decisive: Florida, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. The Clinton camp was confident they had a good chance in Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania where they had invested immense resources and manpower.
So how did Trump pull it off when few ‘experts’ gave him a fleeting chance of winning because of his unorthodox campaign style and refusing to abide by any rules? He took shots at his own party establishment, reveled in talk that he groped women and said a lot of nasty things about immigrants, Muslims and a host of others. None of these seem to affect his campaign.
He presented himself as a friend of the common people although he has nothing in common with them. Trump is a billionaire who lives in a marble-wrapped three-story penthouse apartment on Fifth Avenue. He successfully tapped into the resentment of white uneducated Americans telling them that the Washington establishment was corrupt—it is—but they bought into his line that he would fix it. Whether he would does not really matter.
Not surprisingly, 60 percent of white uneducated American men and 52 percent of white American women voted for him.
“The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer,” Trump told supporters around 3 am early day (Nov. 09) at a rally in New York City, just after Mrs. Clinton called to concede. And departing from his usual crude remarks about Hillary Clinton whom he said he would “lock up” once he became president, he praised her for her services to the country.
“Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division,” he said. “It is time for us to come together as one united people. It’s time.” That, he added, “is so important to me.”
He even promised to seek common ground with others abroad but insisted America would come first. He promised to make “American great” again. How he would do it remains a mystery but some of his outlandish campaign assertions that he would build a wall along the Mexico border (and even make them pay for it) seem far-fetched. He even threatened to shut out all Muslims from the US. It remains to be seen how he would do that when about 10 percent of all University professors and 7 percent doctors in US hospitals are Muslims.
On the flip side, Hillary Clinton was not able to connect with her support base the way Trump did. She remained aloof and disconnected. Hillary who earned the epithet Killary because of her belligerent policies when was Secretary of State in President Barack Obama’s first term, was seen by many people as being corrupt and in the pocket of Wall Street especially Goldman Sachs.
The angry white American has delivered a tight slap on the face of the establishment. Whether this will translate into any meaningful change in their lives is debatable. America is definitely entering uncharted territory and while it is on its way down, it remains danger.
When an elephant is about to fall, it is best to get out of the way.
Welcome to Donald Trump’s America: angry, brash and against everyone!