The severely cold morning of January 20, 2017, in Washington, will be extra cold when Barack Obama, gritting his teeth, hands over the keys to the White House to a grinning, head mop in place and pot belly wobbling Donald Trump.
Trump used all the successful tricks of The Apprentice and the vagaries of his business and media experience to tap into popular grievances, glossed over by the liberal-biased media and American legislatures, to channel his race to become President. The media and the pundits’ new-found respect and wonder for Trump are amusing, to say the least.
He recognised a psycho-political vacuum, began building an inner circle of advisers to milk it and filled it with himself while parroting the same messages — ‘the establishment sucks,’ and ‘Crooked Hillary is Wall Street’s poodle’ — all through his campaign.
The rural voters and the salaried took the cue, projected their fate onto Trump, and responded with tight slaps across both the cheeks of the Democrats and the political class.
What Trump said about women, migrants, the disabled, and the rule of law, it seems, did not anger voters enough. Everybody’s subconscious mind has unkind thoughts and desires. Maybe people thought he was ‘genuine’ because he was forthright and did not shy away from playing dirty and saying it as it is.
Perhaps, after an Afro-American bent on changing gun laws and pegging back spending, a first woman President was too much for the Americans.
But not for Bernie Sanders who will be holding his head in his hands and spouting obscenities.
The tragedy is that Trump, who the Republicans loved and hated but nurtured through the ‘deep state,’ and Sanders who was forced by the Democrats to fall in line after all his hard work – both had the same message of change from the ground.
Did Hillary not do enough to carry forward Bernie’s message? Wikileaks’ various leaks exposed cracks in her judgment, appeal, and political instincts. The media projected her with ill-conceived dread, for not micro-managing enough while being discounted for having broad experience and receiving liberal backing from Obama and Bernie. She might not have ridden a car for decades and not solved the Palestine issue, but the same is true of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Obama who received a Nobel Prize for peace, of which he has ensured not one bit.
Americans have put their trust in Trump to address political and personal stagnation, frayed race relations, employment instability, gun control, threats from migrants, and bringing police violence under control. Since he considers himself to be his best adviser, Trump will experiment with policy making and may fall prey to insiders, power peddlers, lobbyists, and campaign fundraisers.
What happens now? Well, four years of daily entertainment: an apprentice is in the Oval Office, and he didn’t come about from an orangutan and a white woman.
Trump is the top boss now, and some of the pompous thinkers, stuck-up analysts, cotton-balled media veterans, and the slimy pollsters will have to shake the ‘little’ hands of the man who has pipped them all to the biggest reality show on earth,
For the next few days, Putin will take daily baths in vodka, China’s new year has already arrived, and the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte will order a few more extra-judicial killings in glee at the turn of events. Mexicans are scurrying to gather pesos to fund Trump’s wall; Muslims are thinking of shifting to Antarctica, where, hopefully, they will be left alone, and the reluctant Afro-American supporters of Trump are saying, “You betta calm them white cops down, or we will whup ya ass next time.”
When getting to business Trump will move towards the centre, but a Republican stranglehold on the Congress and Supreme Court appointees could result in decisions that shake up the status quo. He might surprise us with his performance as no matter what his record he is capable of vision, consensus, and has been leading a functional business organisation for a long time.
One thing we can be sure of, Trump’s business empire, after four years, will look a lot greener and wider.
For many, Trump as a President-elect is shocking, was there no one better? A person with a career pockmarked with shady deals, a bully who revels in lying and has never served in public office, who can’t survive a policy paper, a celebrity who disowned his party and used bribe money to mount a media campaign for the presidency — is now leader of the free world. Those who are pissed are already applying for immigration to Canada and Europe.
America has given a decisive vote for a new voice and course-correction and provided a clear line for present and future Trumps to political offices. And as always, the media, advertisers, and international finance will, still, saunter all the way into the bank. Money never dies, it changes hands.
Trump is cleverer than we think or the voter decided to go kamikaze to spite politicians and indulge in desperate hope. Either way, the American political system and governance stand answerable, and Donald could yet be America’s best trump card or a spiralling missile on top of our collective heads.