Another Astonishing Shock
‘It’s a Crazy World’
I watched with intense interest as the results of the United States election came through on Tuesday night Wednesday morning. It was a pretty extraordinary and historic night. I am deeply, deeply disappointed with the result. If I, a humble peasant in a little town in the West of Ireland, am hurting because of the result, this must be multiplied by whatever factors for those who were opposed to Donald Trump in the United States. For many of them a Trump presidency engenders fear of the unknown, fear for their country and the possible irrationality of its pending leadership. For them it is a disaster.
It was, it has to be said, an extraordinary performance by the Trump franchise. He obviously tapped into an artery of discontent that nearly all other politicians had not done or ignored. Perhaps Bernie Sanders is the exception and there is an element of ‘what if ‘ about a Bernie Sanders candidacy now. It has all come as a seismic shock to the political establishment in the United States and the lessons will be watched in many national political establishments throughout the western democracies. It is possibly Brexit by a multiple of x.
Trump latched on to the huge disaffection of a swathe of the population in the U.S. with the political elite. He won because he was NOT a politician, was not one of them, the Washington set or those who have been the faces of the political classes for decades. The fact that he has no political experience is seen as a positive, a badge of honour rather than an impediment. The reality is that he will have to get a crash course in realpolitik in the next couple of months. It is said that politicians ‘campaign in poetry and govern in prose’. There was little poetry in this campaign and the reality of decision-making within a major nation will be a huge challenge for the apprentice.
A thing that puzzles me is that millions not just disliked Hillary Clinton but actually HATED her. I never like the use of that word ‘hate’. Personally I was neutral regarding Hillary the personality. She made mistakes and should have admitted the error of the email controversy especially. The flipping of the FBI director in the last couple of weeks was uneasy. Hillary lacked a measure of empathy. Looked cold and careful. She allowed herself to get into a bear-baiting battle with Trump and seeing that he had no limits on his armoury he was able to paint a dismal picture of Clinton for his audience and they lapped it up...’I HATE Clinton’, ‘Lock her up’ were regular echoes.
Ironically The United States have had President Obama who was regarded very highly abroad but disliked at home. They have now given a majority of (electoral college) votes to a president who is looked at with astonishment abroad.
Ironically Clinton’s best speech was a valedictory one on Wednesday evening as she urged her followers not to despair and continue to follow their dreams in a great country. She had not broken through the ‘glass ceiling’ as a first woman achieving the presidency. Indeed the significance of this possible breakthrough got little traction throughout the campaign. I was really puzzled also by the large number of women who supported her opponent. It did not seem logical after Trump’s conduct towards them. In a sense though it was, for Clinton, the wrong time as a huge number of voters, many of whom were on their uppers, were disaffected with big government and found a maverick to lead the charge or act as the lightning rod for their fears and anger. Many of these are offensive to a variety of groups and many groups are now fearful including the undocumented Irish.
One person who was not targeted by Trump was Michelle Obama. She shone like a beacon as a capable lady with passion and conviction. I wonder will she allow herself to drawn into the bear-pit of a presidential run in 2020?
While it is not very significant, one professional group who had an absolutely pathetic run up to this election were the pollsters. This went right to the end. Even early in the count night they had Clinton 80% to win. It was as bad as the ‘soft landing’ brigade that dominated in this country circa 2007, or the no Brexit soothsayers. The discredited polling industry should now fold their tents and skulk away into the shadows. Ironically a ‘Red C’ pollster/survey person called to my door on Wednesday! I wasn’t rude of course but the person should have marked time.
So now we are into four years of the ultimate ‘Reality Show’. Move over the Kardashians.
The Irish satirical comedian Dave Allen used to end his shows ‘May the Gods go with you’……the United States.
As the song goes ‘it’s a crazy world’
(I just cannot write about anything else this week.)