America has decided and Donald Trump has been declared the 45th president-elect in one of the most historic fights to the White House, ever.
It is an unprecedented victory because every poll predicted that it would be a smooth ride for Hillary Clinton. It is almost as if the poll pundits were too embarrassed to admit Trump’s popularity. Major media houses, the intellects, the elite, and the celebrities backed her. But nothing could sway people’s opinion. It all narrowed down to the politically correct versus direct in the end.
Many surveys had under-sampled the Trump loyalty bloc of non-college-educated whites. Rural America and small towns rooted for him as predicted. Trump even garnered some support among Hispanic and African-American voters. Then there were those who were too embarrassed to admit that they would vote for him – the “hidden Trump voters.”
The Clinton camp had a misplaced trust on the belief that the country’s rising diverse demographic would help her win. Women and young voters did not support her as expected, but the urbanized areas rallied behind her. Trump cashed in on the nationalist, populist wave sweeping across the Midwest, Pennsylvania, and Florida.
Florida was the final nail in the Democratic coffin. The vitriolic comments Trump made about Hispanics, pitted him against Spanish media behemoth Univision. But Clinton failed to gain the trust of the large Hispanic population in the state. Trump also had a loyalty base among older, white Americans because Florida is a haven for retirees. Sixty-four percent of Florida voters are white. The Latino turnout, in key counties like Miami-Dade and Orange, was lower than expected. Black absentee ballots were at a record high, but there was a huge turnout of absentee Republican voters, thanks to a massive well-funded Trump campaign that reached out to them through phone calls, mail, and advertisements.
Surveys show that people want a strong leader. They do not care much about shared values. Thirty-six percent of voters said they want a “strong leader,” only 16 percent said they want someone who “shares my values.” People agreed that Clinton was more qualified but was not convinced about her stand on important policies like immigration, the economy, and the Affordable Care Act.
The victory of Trump has shocked industries that are dependent on free trade like airlines, automobile manufacturers, and IT outsourcing because, throughout his campaign, he promised to revive the U.S. economy by cutting taxes, stopping companies from making products overseas, and renegotiating trade accords. Punishing U.S. companies that move jobs abroad and forcing China and other countries to pay for the privilege of selling their goods in the U.S.
Clinton promoted an interventionist foreign policy, arguing that a power vacuum is created when America does not step in globally. Trump says his foreign policy is “America First,” and as commander in chief, he would only send U.S. troops to war when the nation’s self-interest was concerned and where clear, definable victory was possible. Trump would force key allies to pay more for their own defense and improve relations with Russia.
Americans have grown wary of Obama’s eight-year-rule. “Obamacare,” has provided health insurance to 12.7 million people who would have struggled to afford medical coverage. It has also increased insurance premiums for Americans not on government assistance. Trump has proposed “Health Savings Accounts” that would give more power to states to handle funds.
Trump’s rise to power is not a one-off oddity. The liberals have failed to listen to the voice of the working class, in the race, to sound politically correct and culturally appropriate. This has led to the rise of right-wing politics across the world.
Narendra Modi, a long-time worker of RSS, was elected the 14th Prime Minister of India in a landslide victory against the liberal National Congress Party, in 2014. Rāṣṭrīya Svayamsēvaka Saṅgha is a right-wing, Hindu nationalist association. It is the parent organization of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
A wave of populism has swept across Western Europe. The U.K. Independence Party that propelled Brexit, The Sweden Democrats, the National Front in Netherlands and other far-right voices have found a lot of support among their people. A long period of economic stagnation and the worst refugee crisis since the end of WWII has infused a sense of fear that minorities and migrants will take away their job security and destroy their culture.
25-year-old Grace works at a Telecom company in the U.K. She came to London four years ago, as a student from India. She was a vociferous supporter of Brexit. “I do 12 hour work days. I don’t want my hard-earned money to support a homeless guy in Greece.”
Rita is 65, from Frankfort, Kentucky. She is a trained beauty consultant, but she could not compete with the low prices of the newly opened Chinese and Korean salons and closed her business. She voted for Trump. On the other end of the spectrum, U.S. immigrants took to Twitter to express their fears after Trump’s win. Some predicted an imminent world war.
In the end, what matters to people is their livelihood. It is unfair to expect them to forget their families and feed the village.
By Anne Helena Daniel
Edited by Jeanette Smith
Time: Far-Right Politics Rise in Europe
The Huffington Post: Why did Brexit Happen?
CNN: Brexit Aftermath
The Telegraph: What Happens if Donald Trump Wins
Wall Street Journal: Election Day Results
Fortune: Trump Victory Global Firms Free Trade
Politico: How did Everyone Get the 2016 Presidential Election Wrong?
The Telegraph: Hillary Clinton Failed to Win Over Black, Hispanic and Female Voters
Image Courtesy of Karen Roe’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License