Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Reaction to Donald Trump's victory

Reaction to Donald Trump's victory point by point: 

1) I was pretty sure Hillary Clinton was going to make it with the liberal press and media behind her. Her campaign seemingly became too easy - just let Trump's antics talk for themselves. Her campaign also became an emblem for American feminism. All looked good until the FBI decided to slip a confusing statement about the "e-mail scandals." In my mind, then, I started to believe that Trump actually has a chance. It goes to show how difficult it was to intellectually imagine Trump winning this election, which hints at our collective intellectual snobbery. 

2) Clinton's support base seems to be the elite, liberal class which is so shocked and surprised that the country has elected Trump. If Trump manipulated white, middle class fears then why is the political class so surprised? Why is this establishment surprised that the lowest denominators could have been tickled into a roaring "Make America Great Again" movement? 

3) Just perused through my News feed and saw a reaction by Paul Krugman, a very respected economist, who says in the New York Times: "We thought that the nation, while far from having transcended racial prejudice and misogyny, had become vastly more open and tolerant over time." This is a very naive statement to make. Who believes the United States is a racially equal and progressive society? Even we outsiders know that the United States is not fair, equal for black people who still suffer the legacy of slavery. When did the United States ever achieve racial equality and harmony for black people? When did the United States ever atone for its sins of slavery? Or, for its crimes abroad? 

4) This is a very very naive statement by Krugman and if the intellectual class of America is so naive, then it explains a lot.

5) Are we to read this as a victory for bigotry, racism and misogyny? Or, is this a general trend in populism which brought to power Modi, Marie Le Pen, Nigel Farage? 

6) Do we see this as a class and race war? 

7) It's such a contrast with the kind of graceful rhetoric that brought Obama to power in 2008 which was a historic moment and the divisive, crude rhetoric that brought Donald Trump to power in 2016, an equally historic moment. It's a white lash according to Van Jones

8) From Trump's graceful acceptance speech, it's not going to be an apocalypse. The man knows what he is doing. The market has sunk by 600 points but it will come back up and surely, reading of the stock market should not be the only worrying factor for champions of democracy and women's rights and equality and so on. 

9) How should the world react? Most Pakistanis I know have said from the outset: unfortunately nothing changes whether it's Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton or George Bush. Barack Obama was not able to keep his promise of closing down Guantanamo and drone attacks increased in Pakistan and Afghanistan. American foreign policy almost never changes when it comes to war, interventions, regime changes, covert wars, or its stance for Israel. 

10) It's ironic that the US has elected a perceived bully to power as President while the country itself is seen as a bully on the world stage. 

11) We need to start separating rhetoric from actions and understand the differences. We perceive sometimes Obama and great world leaders as having great rhetoric but sometimes their policies do not match their words. For example, Obama did not close down Guantanamo Bay and, despite his perceived dislike of Israel's leaders, the country got a huge stash of aid from its big brother. In the same vein, we need to start following Trump's actions now and, separate his rhetoric from analysing and observing his actions and policies. 

What a stunning moment.

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