When the need for change trumps all else
If yesterday’s presidential elections in the United States were all about about morals, it would possibly have yielded an inconclusive result.
Indeed, if it was about choosing a “champion” for women’s issues, the ascension of Hillary Clinton to the presidency would have been a no-brainer.
However, disappointingly, the New York Senator and her suppporters now stand on the wrong side of history and that highest and hardest glass ceiling remains very much in tact.
A win for the Democrats would have been the proverbial icing on the Barack Obama presidency, but he too will have some serious soul searching to do, as will the entire Democratic Party, following yesterday’s stunning repudiation of them and their policies by the American electorate.
After eight years of hoping and praying that Obama’s term would somehow end, diehard Republicans, who ensured that his first term in Congress was nothing but memorable, were not about to cede the White House again, never mind that the last man standing after an uninspiring internal GOP race was something of a loose cannon, whose very temperament should have immediately disqualified him from the race for president.
“What the hell have you got to lose?” was the insulting way, Donald Trump, now president elect Donald Trump if you please, had chosen to make his direct appeal to African American and Hispanic voters back in August for their support.
And while many appeared to be initially taken aback by his depiction of them as underlings, who live in poverty and in neighbourhoods that are more dangerous than war zones, such repudiation was not borne out in yesterday’s result.
On the contrary, many, especially the Hispanics, seemed to connect with Trump’s bombastic style and message: “Our government has totally failed our African American friends, our Hispanic friends and the people of our country. Period.
“The Democrats have failed completely in the inner cities. For those hurting the most who have been failed and failed by their politicians — year after year, failure after failure, worse numbers after worse numbers. Poverty. Rejection. Horrible education. No housing, no homes, no ownership. Crime at levels that nobody has seen. You can go to war zones in countries that we are fighting and it’s safer than living in some of our inner cities that are run by the Democrats. And I ask you this, I ask you this — crime, all of the problems — to the African Americans, who I employ so many, so many people, to the Hispanics, tremendous people: What the hell do you have to lose? Give me a chance. I’ll straighten it out. I’ll straighten it out. What do you have to lose?”
The results show that Black voters made up 12 per cent of the national electorate this year, nearly the same as in 2012. And while Clinton won a broad majority of black voters — 88 per cent, compared with eight per cent for Trump, Obama had received 93 per cent of the African-American vote four years ago.
Hispanic voters made up 11 per cent of voters nationwide in 2016, just one point higher than in 2012. While Clinton got 65 per cent support among Hispanics, compared with 29 per cent for Trump, her support from this group was six points lower than Obama’s in 2012.
Overall, it was Trump’s election to win, and he did so very convincingly by capturing 290 electoral votes compared to Clinton’s 228 and pulling in significant support among white, working-class and rural voters across the country.
Clinton, on the other hand, did not have as good a showing as was expected. In fact, she did slightly worse than Obama among young voters, while Trump had the backing of 37 per cent of voters under 30 — the same percentage that Mitt Romney won in 2012.
The billionaire business mogul and television reality star also dazzled Independents, who made up 31 per cent of 2016 voters, but even more crushing for Clinton and the rest of the Democrats was his dismantling of the so called ‘Blue Wall” that had traditionally stood solidly behind the incumbent party, at least on the national level, and which Republican presidential candidates in the past have had to write off, in their quest to get the required 270 electoral votes.
Last night Trump also claimed for himself the key battleground of Florida, and with it the respect of even some of his harshest critics.
As pollsters continue to scratch their heads in disbelief over Trump’s unexpected feat, it is now left to be seen how he actualy intends to govern, particularly how his duties as head of the Trump global financial and business empire will coalesce with his new job as leader of the free world.
To his credit, he has already struck what we believe is the correct chord in his acceptance speech where, unlike during the campaign, there was no focus on building walls, alienating immigrants, repealing global trade agreements and the like.
Instead, his was a message of unification.
“I want to tell the world community that while we will always put America’s interests first, we will deal fairly with everyone, with everyone — all people and all other nations. We will seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict,” the President-elect said.
We congratulate him on his resounding victory as we brace for what is to come. For our sake, hopefully it is not “Brexit times 10”.