The results started coming in. He led. She wasn’t far behind either. The gap widened, and before long it was all red. The first female president of the United States of America will have to wait; at least four years, if not more. Trump had won and with him all that he stood for: scapegoating, insensitivity, racism and bigotry. The world looked on in awe, unsure of how to believe it. The result was definitely surprising, if not unwanted. Newsweek was so sure of a Clinton win that it didn’t find it necessary to deliver to bookshops the variant of the magazine that said “President Trump” on the cover. It had to call back all the copies of its “Madam President” issue. Although she had won popular vote, it didn’t count – the problem being the concentration of democratic voters in cities and university towns. She had won by huge leads in major cities when only what she needed was a 51 percent. Trump, on the other hand, swept in rural areas and won key states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania grabbing more electoral votes.
“Maybe I don’t even know my own country well enough,” said Dr. Marvin Weinbaum, talking at LUMS yesterday. He anticipated Hillary Clinton’s victory and was shocked at what the voters had chosen: a person with no experience of politics whatsoever over a former first lady, senator and secretary of state. According to some, she was the most qualified candidate for president in a very long time. Given the fact that Donald Trump was different from the regular Republican candidate, and important Republicans stood against him, his support can’t be said to have come from the party’s loyal voters. He tapped into a middle class that was either aggrieved or not serious enough. Whichever may be the case, the choice of the people is worth noting because being the president-elect while being Trump is definitely a big deal.
If it was the first case, than the election of Donald Trump speaks a lot about the insecurities of the American people. They are afraid of other people, other lands, and other firms. They want to own the American dream once again – one they had so proudly bestowed upon the third world. It makes sense to put their own interests at the top – after all, it is their country. However, the dilemma is that most of these fears may not be rational. US currently enjoys one of the lowest unemployment rates in recent history and faces no imminent threat to its domination of global politics. It’s worrying to think that these fears have been played upon.
It could be the second scenario, as well. That is, the general disillusionment of people from the political process, and their voting on instinct rather than rationale. The result and its aftermath is considerably similar to the Brexit referendum, and it hints towards an increasing indifference towards the outcome. It may well be the case that people don’t consider any of the options being better than the other and, in doing so, revert to ‘outrageous’ choices just for the thrill of it.
Neither of the scenarios point towards an ideal political environment. One compromises toleration; the other, political awareness. It is indeed tragic that to hope that the US population is rational enough, we have to assume that they simply didn’t know enough.