Phew …. thank god that’s over. After weeks of cat fighting, name calling and bitchiness that wouldn’t look out of place on a reality TV show we have our 45th commander in chief. In comes the most divisive and polarising president that I can remember. Ladies and Gentlemen the man who only 9 years ago was headlining Wrestlemania and drinking beers with Steve Austin is now the most powerful man in the free world. The man who called Rosie O’Donnell a fat pig and whose views of minorities and women could only be described as somewhat questionable – in the nicest way possible. Yet despite his self-parodying, and bombastic rhetoric, Donald Trump spoke to a large enough segment of American society to be elected.
His popularity undoubtedly tapped into the frustrations of people from the heartland of the country. Places with few jobs or prospects such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin understood the idea of making America great again – purely because their reality has been the polar opposite of great. But I doubt that if Trump had not come up against an opponent like Hilary Clinton – so arrogant with such an air of such entitlement – that he would have won. The email scandal never went away and the more he built the issue up the more of an issue it became as a consequence. I am sure it didn’t do Mrs Clinton’s cause any good when Madonna proclaimed that she would give oral sex to anyone who voted for her. Nor did the general sycophancy from the pandering elites of Hollywood and the music industry. If ordinary Americans needed any more reason to vote Trump then the site of Bon Jovi on Clinton’s jet performing the utterly ridiculous mannequin challenge would have convinced many doubters.
In a nutshell, Clinton’s exterior was anything but relatable. Even her hashtag #imwithher was out of touch. it should have focussed on being with the people of America, not the other way round. Her campaign reeked of complacency and a laissez-faire approach. She presumed minorities and millennials would be enough, and as a result, she isolated the white working class voters – who became such a cornerstone of the Trump campaign. Pollsters across the board – just as with Brexit – assumed the status quo would win. Once again convention and presumptions were wrong. Trump and the resurgent identity politics have blown the political status quo to smithereens.
Any remarks or bold proclamations made by Trump didn’t seem to matter as it was seen as honest, even if a lot of what he said was incredibly offensive. Whatever people felt about Trump they knew it was brutal honesty. Yes, it was uncomfortable but it was his truth as opposed to the dishonesty that became synonymous with the Clinton campaign. I think many people felt that Clinton would have gone into the white house steeped in controversy, with a more than reasonable chance of being impeached. Perhaps Trump was seen as a safer pair of hands than someone who people thought was tainted and therefore not trustworthy of the highest office.
If 2015 was the year in which the western ideals became under threat from ISIS then 2016 is the year the west struck back by changing tact. For better or worse conciliatory politics is dead and president-elect Trump will be the beacon for this new era of ‘us vs them’ welcome to the new world order.