2016, acceptance, America, America 911, American Liberty, Barack Obama, BBC, Blog, Civilisation, Coffee, Defend the modern world, Donald Trump, donald trump president, Facebook, ivanka, Martin, melania, politic, political internet, politics, politics usa, president trump, Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, trump, trump 2016, trump president, trump rally, trump wins, trump wins election, Twitter, United States
Well… there we are then. I’ve predicted the outcome of two major votes this year and been wrong about both of them. I’m not sure what to say. Perhaps there is nothing to say, other than to warn the reader never to take advice from me on lottery numbers or business investments.
America, as you’ll now be aware, has just elected Donald J Trump to the highest office in the land. And with the GOP also triumphant in both houses of Congress, for the next four years, the New York billionaire will have an almost unprecedented level of control over the mechanisms of Western government,
This is the beginning of what will inevitably be referred to by historians as the ‘Trump Era’ – a four-to-eight year period dominated by the decisions and personality of a single, remarkable man.
I am both pleased and nervous about the result. As someone who made the case for Trump (as best I could on a UK-based blog), my satisfaction with the unexpected success of the Republican is naturally tempered with unease and foreboding.
Trump is not a perfect man – far from it. Many of the criticisms made by his opponents over the past 12 months (or was it lifetimes) were perfectly valid and based in solid fact. He is often boorish, unpredictable, erratic and – in some key ways – he is inexperienced. No matter how passionate your support for his reign may be, you cannot sensibly deny that his election represents a gamble.
But it was a gamble the people of America were forced by circumstance to make. The elite, which includes the press, has lost all contact with, and respect for, the ordinary population of the United States. Unless a US citizen lives in New York or Los Angeles, he simply doesn’t matter to the decision-making class. His voice, projected at a polite volume, is muffled to a whisper by distance, farmland and poverty. On Nov. 8th, therefore, he was left with no choice but to shout, to shout so loud that windows were broken, and so they have been.
Those members of the global elite currently tearing their expensively shampooed hair out have no right to be surprised by what has happened. How could their disregard and arrogance have led to any other destination? Trump was and is a shock of history, but he was not an unforeseeable one.
Nevertheless, the shockwaves of the election result have been palpable. Jonathan Freedland, a normally level-headed liberal commentator, spoke for many in the London-New York-LA bubble when he wrote (in an article dramatically entitled ‘Will Donald Trump Destroy America?’) “What if (Trump) goes ahead and deports 11.3 million undocumented migrants? What if he really does ban all Muslims entering the country? What if he tries to use the powers of the state to go after media organisations that have criticised him – making life difficult for the businesses that own inquisitive newspapers such as the Washington Post, for example – as he has said he will? What if he overturns abortion rights, even imposing “some form of punishment” on a woman who terminates a pregnancy, as he once suggested? And what if he really does build that wall?… There are plenty who believe that if Trump went ahead and actually implemented his programme, he would create a different country: closed, xenophobic and at odds with some of the founding principles – religious equality or freedom of speech – that have defined the United States since its founding. The country would still exist – but it would no longer be America.”
Freedland’s words may be misguided, but his tone is surely appropriate. This really is a major turning point in American history – a second American revolution, if you will. By the time Trump has finished his work, however that goes, America will be a drastically changed place. There are so many differences between his approach and that of his predecessors that such an outcome is irresistible.
Donald Trump, unlike Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and practically every president stretching back to the Eisenhower administration, is an Americanist. He believes that America, despite its size and power, is a real, flesh and blood country – with real, flesh and blood people living in it. America is not, to him, an idea, a hope, or a ‘dream’. It is a pulsating, living, breathing reality. If one thing divides him from the presidents of the recent past, it is that his focus is largely limited by loyalty and affection to and toward the United States (and those countries like it – *I was greatly encouraged to hear Mr Trump describe the UK as a special friend this week).
Donald Trump is not a neo-con, preoccupied with the security prospects of the Saudis, Turks and Qataris. He looks at the world with the purity of the patriot; an honest, crystalline simplicity. To him, something is either good for America, or not. That seems to be his only consideration.
I do understand and appreciate that many parts of the world (and parts of America) will be unnerved by Trump’s election. This is only inevitable. Change always brings anxiety. Nevertheless, such places and people must be calm and reasonable enough to give the president-elect a chance to show his governing style before jumping to rash conclusions.
In Israel, there is some stress over President Trump’s words regarding the conflict with the Palestinians. Back in the primary debates, Mr Trump shocked the gathered by stating that it wasn’t helpful to pick a side in foreign conflicts and that he would, as president, strive to be more fair-minded. Since then, Trump has reconfirmed his intention to make a ‘deal’ on the Israel-Palestine face-off. What does he mean by this? What kind of ‘deal’ does he have in mind? We have no way of knowing, so worrying about it is a waste of time.
As on Israel, so on many other issues. Trump is simply a mystery to us at this point. Will he tame his fiery populism upon entering the White House? Will he go back on his promises made at his roaring rallies? Will the wall be built? What will happen to the 11 million illegal migrants currently embedded in American society? We don’t know. We can’t know. Only time will tell us.
It is my belief that Donald Trump will either be the greatest president of the past 50 years, or he will be the worst. There is no in-between with him. His personality is too spectacular, his confidence too muscled. As things stand, the former seems more likely to me than the latter.