Wednesday, November 9, 2016


I woke up on the morning of November 9th to the greatest shock of my life in recent times- Trump was leading Hillary Clinton in the US Presidential race. I kept watching; hoping that something would change; it didn’t. Donald J. Trump went on to become the 45th President of the United States! What went wrong? From day 1, no one expected Trump to win. He was just too incendiary, too inflammatory. He seemed to exemplify the worst of the American society with his attacks on women, Latinos, African-Americans, and Muslims etc. We hoped and prayed that something would stop his momentum…nothing did.
As I watched the analysis on CNN, there was a lot of talk among Democrats about how the last minute e-mail scandal resurgence by FBI Director, James Comey, had done Hillary in and led to Trump’s election day victory; but the more I reflected on the stunning outcome, the more I was convinced that there was more to it. Yes, there were certain things that helped propel Trump forward- Clinton’s e-mail scandals, Russian interference via cyber hacks (that’s talk for another day) etc. But at the end of the day, the outcome of the election revealed a far wider problem brewing within the United States, and around the world.
There has been a growing wave of populism around the world lately; and it was the same populism which led to Brexit, that gave Trump the US presidency. We all looked at Donald Trump as crazy when he talked about ejecting Muslims, building a wall, and when he hurled various other insults; but what we didn’t see was that he was tapping into the emotions of millions of people in the USA…a sentiment shared by a growing majority in the world’s population. It was just more politically acceptable for more people to appear to support Clinton- and that’s why the polls got it all wrong- but beneath the surface, most of them were for Trump.
When Brexit happened, it was a shock to the world; but in reality, it reflected a growing global sentiment. People are afraid…of those who are different to them…it is no different in the United States. America is a nation of immigrants; but those immigrants who founded the USA were ‘flat-out white’; blacks initially arrived the US in ships as slaves. As the nation grew and prospered, others from various nations arrived the shores of the USA- more Africans, Asians, Latinos, Europeans, Middle-East folks etc. America became a salad bowl with various ingredients. But at its heart, it is still ‘white’; and lately, it wants to maintain that core.
The world has seen a growing wave of populist nationalism lately. People want their nations back. They do not want outsiders. It was for this reason that a far-right party in Germany won more seats in parliamentary elections as well. With the rise of ISIS, the decline of economic growth, people need a scapegoat…and the scapegoat usually does not look like them. The scapegoat has a different skin color, and practices a different religion…the scape goat has a different way of life. This is what Donald Trump understood. While Hillary Clinton tried to appeal to the better side of humanity (as it should be), Trump capitalized on the growing ‘evil’- for lack of a different word- within the human society. This is why while Hillary had a ‘rainbow coalition’, Donald Trump had a mostly white support base- a group of people who are fed up with sharing the nation’s wealth and resources with those whom they termed outsiders.
When Trump talked about building walls, it was not just a metaphorical statement. In reality, it reflects what the world is looking like today. Walls are being built up everywhere. People are increasingly trying to keep out outsiders. Europe is shutting its doors to migrants; even Mid-Eastern states are keeping out those fleeing wars in Syria. Donald Trump rode in on the coattails of human behavior as it stands right now in most of the world.
It is quite tragic that this is what the world has become; and truth be told, it’s very difficult to see a reversal of this trend down the road. Will Trump make good on his promises and threats? Only time will tell. It is a harrowing thought. I am quite disappointed that Clinton did not win; but I am more scared for the world. Where do we go from here?

No comments: