Trouncing the poll predictions, Donald John Trump was elected as the 45th President of the United States of America. The stunning outcome of Trump’s triumph over the formidable secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton has confounded pollsters and political pundits. Despite the overwhelming opposition of the left-dominated liberal media and political establishment, Trump managed to overshadow Clinton.
From the beginning, the Hillary camp began to receive massive support from all corners which included artists and Hollywood Stars. As elections neared, President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden added heft with electrifying appeals. American media too widely favored the Democrat camp. On the contrary, the Republican camp was almost deserted. Top leaders were unwilling to endorse Trump’s candidature for his insinuating remarks against women, Muslims, Latinos and African-American. Trump had to woo American voters single-handedly.
Amidst the ruckus of disparaging comments and open rebuke from electorate, media failed to hear the voices that desperately wanted a change of establishment. Hence the astounding victory of the real-estate dealer turned business man and TV celebrity with no government or military experience have left the poll pundits disillusioned. Except for IBD/TIPP and LA Times, all others failed to prognosticate the election outcome. The inability to listen to the silent majority has come as a rude shock.
Incidentally, the silent majority are deeply miffed by the establishment and the elitist Washington clout. The discontent and frustration has been slowly building up. Trump’s outreach to the commoners – ‘Make America Great Again’ – as an outsider found consonance. On the contrary, Hillary’s image as an insider with a message of “Stronger Together” and projecting herself as a wife, mother and grandmother hardly stuck any cord. While the upwardly mobile and educated women were enthused, gender became an irrelevant issue to the American electorate. The prospect of having a first woman President hardly mattered to them. That aside, the brewing anti-establishment sentiment had crippled Hillary’s chances of making it to the White House.
Election results shows that states dominated by the urban masses, elite and super-rich were pocketed by Democrats. The putative Steel Belt/ Rust Belt straddling from New York and traversing to the west through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin shifted their allegiances. The industrial heartland, bordering the Great Lakes was the seat of manufacturing till the 90s. Automation, liberalization of foreign trade policies and availability of cheap labor overseas resulted in relocation of industries. Soon jobs and opportunities disappeared, and people are now restive, transforming the region into a rustic belt. Fed up by the policies that have hurt their employment and aggrieved by loss of businesses, people voted for Trump, whose campaign was centered around themes of “anti-globalization and anti-trade”. The unexpected outcome of the US Presidential elections thus finds congruence with the stunning verdict of Brexit.
Indeed, the Brexit vote and US presidential elections rooted on the basic premise that outsiders are making deep inroads into the West’s cozy league resonated well with people. A hardline stance on immigration adopted by the United Kingdom Independent Party (UKIP) in Britain and Republican nominee Trump was welcomed both by country side Brits and Americans keenly. People, especially the blue-collar workers, are now feeling threatened by globalization and growing ethnic minorities. They are averse to the idea of free trade and international economic integration eagerly pushed by the political establishments. Media cozying up in Ivory Towers and ensconced in the liberal values divested of ground realities grossly failed in fathoming the anger and frustration of the rural voters. Also, since left-liberal media would ridicule and mock at their choice of Trump, many voters refrained from publicly citing their preference.
Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton will become the first Presidential candidate to have lost an election despite winning the popular vote since Al Gore lost to George W Bush in 2000.
Emerging victorious after the most bitter elections ever fought, it cannot be “business as usual” for Trump. Though Trump irked several topnotch Republican leaders during the campaign, his stunning success compelled them to fall in line. Republican party swept off Democrats completely by not only having its Presidential candidate elected but regained control over both houses of Congress. This will strengthen Trump’s position on foreign policies.
Like the colossal shock of Brexit verdict that dramatically overturned the financial markets, Trump’s victory was marked by a sudden slump in Dow Jones. Trump’s skepticism towards US trade pacts, specifically the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) resulted in accruing initial losses to US dollar and Mexican Peso. While US stock markets recovered following reassuring remarks by Trump in his victory speech, volatility might prevail and the long expected rate hikes and Trump’s call for severe restrictions on immigration might plague American markets.
Now Trump’s shock victory is sparking protests on the streets. While Trump in his public address after the elections sounded conciliatory and pledged to work together, but this may not allay the fears of anti-Trump activists. Even nations who were swept off by the poll predictions are now seriously reworking their approach towards US. Trump’s victory is envisaged as the rise of the right wing. On the contrary, in the post globalization world, the ever-widening inequities, growing unemployment and dearth of opportunities has compelled people to aspire for closed boundaries. So, it is no longer a right versus left ideological rift but rather a preference for closed economies as opposed to the 21st century phenomenon of open markets. Stunning outcomes of election results in various nations is a backlash against globalization.
While the election raised several concerns among nations owing to the unpredictability and uncertainty of Trump, Bharat is least dismayed. All through his campaign, Trump held Bharat in good regard and described himself as a ‘big fan of Hindu and India’ in one of the election rallies at New Jersey. Certainly, Bharat would look forward to deepening ties with the US. But his anti-immigration rhetoric would worry Bharatiya business.
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