So, the unthinkable happened: Donald Trump won election as the next president of the United States of America—much to the consternation and disbelief of the mainstream media, about 50 per cent of all Americans and 75–85 per cent of Canadians.
Personally, I saw no way the man could win on November 8. I wrote him off during his battle to win the Republican nomination and again during his campaign against Hillary Clinton. During the nomination race, in fact, I was not even sure he really wanted to win. I thought he might just be trying to stoke his ego and build his brand, but would drop out before things got too serious. Obviously, I was wrong, dead wrong.
Elsewhere, you can find dozens of theories for why Ms. Clinton lost, for it seems every pundit has something to say on that subject. Let me add only that a somewhat shop-worn candidate without a compelling economic message will never be a great bet to win any election in any Western democracy in 2016. The Clinton campaign spent far too much time and treasure attacking the man and too little of either articulating an attractive alternative, especially on economic matters.
So, for better or worse Mr. Trump is now president-elect and future commander-in-chief of the richest, most powerful nation on earth. A not altogether comforting prospect.
Some non-supporters of Donald Trump were encouraged by the comparatively conciliatory tone of his victory speech and his comments after his first visit to the White House. Since then though, not so much. Perhaps, many believed, the sheer magnitude of the presidency would have a moderating influence on his more extreme policies. He would, like so many Republicans before him, campaign from the right, but govern from the centre.
Good luck with that.
Mr. Trump’s actions since then have suggested he’ll govern pretty much as he campaigned. His tweets suggest this as does his appointments so far and his recent video giving an update of his plans for his first 100 days in office. Nothing too outlandish, of course, but pretty much as he promised during the campaign.
Anyone who follows me on the Internet knows I’m not a Donald Trump fan, never have been. And I do not see him as “presidential.” He has not the ethics or personal morality I—if I did have a vote—would look for in a president.
There’s a man who seems to use bankruptcy, not as a last resort, but as a tool to avoid financial responsibility. People who lent him money in good faith are left high and dry—not once, but several times. There is also Trump University—which, of course, was no university at all—and which The New Yorker describes as:
for-profit learning annex that some of its own employees regarded as a giant ripoff, and that the highest legal officer in New York State has described as a classic bait-and-switch scheme…”
Then there is his refusal to make his tax returns public. I assume from this that he has something to hide that could have adversely influenced American voters. Trump supporters would never have let Hillary Clinton so easily flaunt this tradition of financial transparency.
Finally, the man’s boasts about sexually assaulting women sealed the deal for me. He denies he was telling the truth when he claimed he had grabbed women by their genitals, of course, but I do not believe him. And, anyway, even if he was telling lies when he made those disgraceful remarks, it makes me wander what sort of man brags about sexually assaulting women and why anyone would want such a person to be their nation’s president.
But the people have spoken and the voters are always right.
Of course, more people voted for Hillary Clinton and, for that matter, Mitt Romney had a larger per cent of the popular vote (47.2% to 46.5%) in a losing cause in 2012, so Mr. Trump did not exactly get an overwhelming mandate.
But he did win. And it is high time those on the American political Left acknowledged the fact and quit their sour-grapes protests and–as Britain’s The Guardian newspaper put it—their attempts “to galvanize anger and fear over his [Trump’s] election into a strategy to resist his policies and remake the left as a credible political alternative.”
Readers should remember the moral outrage expressed by the media at large when president-elect Trump mused that he might not accept the results of the then upcoming election, which he suggested was rigged against him. He was—in the view of many—striking at the very heart of American democracy. What then are the Hillary Clinton supporters doing now?
Trump is a man I could not bring myself to vote for. Some of his policies, though, seem to make good sense, especially those geared towards illegal/undocumented residents and the daily inflow of those who have no legal right to reside in the U.S. It’s an open question as to whether a wall is the solution, but I believe most Americans would agree something has to be done.
Moreover, while globalization may have lifted millions around the world out of poverty, does any reasonable American believe that millions of middle-class Americans have not paid too high a price for that? Yes, they got lower prices for many consumer goods, but lost much of their own well-paying manufacturing jobs along the way.
Many of the major trade deals allow freer movement of capital between countries, but without the corresponding freer movement of labour. American capitalists set up shop in low-wage countries and got richer, but American labour were not, in any practical manner, able to compete for those jobs. And governments did little to provide a transition for those workers—essentially, successive U.S. governments tossed most of the lower middleclass to the wolves.
Will Donald Trump be a successful president? I doubt that he will. I believe his presidential legacy will be one of scandal and political upheaval.