Donald Trump Is U.S. President, Credit Goes to Bush And Obama
NEW DELHI: Republican candidate Donald Trump has swept to victory on the back of a hate generating campaign that has left his own party deeply divided. He will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America.
The writing was on the wall for a while, for those who cared to see it. But many Americans --particularly those still consumed with the idea of a democratic US committed to freedom, equality and libery---remained in a sense of denial refusing to believe that a churning within was going to strong enough to change the course towards the divisiveness highlighted by a powerful hate campaign.
The very fact that a former First Lady, a former US Secretary of State, a woman who has been in the public spotlights for decades now was literally struggling to stay ahead of a Republican candidate who was almost buffoonish in his bigotry, was indication enough that all was not well in the ‘greatest’ democracy of the world.
And Trump’s campaign knew it. So they went for the jugular of discontent, very deliberately following right wing propaganda across the world by creating the ‘other’ who had flourished at the expense of the ‘native’ hard working, laborious American. The other included the Muslim, the Mexican, indeed most immigrants. As a CNN commentator said so aptly after Donald Trump’s victory speech, Americans seem to be still befuddled as to how a man whose main policy proposal was to start building a wall (between communities) has swept to power.
US President Barack Obama who carried out a strong campaign for Clinton and against Trump were clearly not able to transfer his own surging popularity to his Democrat colleague. Justifying the campaign on a talk show recently he said that while other Republican candidates in the past had been well within the confines of gentlemanly behaviour, Trump was different. And his campaign seemed to be steering the US towards another course, and bent on undoing all that the country had achieved.
Trump won not because of any great economic policy program; or of making promises that enthused the voters beyond all levels. He won because of his hate speech. He knew where the anger lay, he went all out for that voter, and he built an intolerance into his campaign that appealed to that frustration, and soothed it with impossible muscle building promises. Ironically, as the results show his vote seems to have gone beyond that particular constituency so easily dismissed by progressive intellectuals, into areas and professions that were not traditionally Republican voters. And certainly were not expected to bring Trump in as President with a positive vote.
But they did. And Hillary was left far behind even in the states that were recognised till now as traditionally Democrat.
Trump is the logical conclusion of the US foreign policy with a decisive domestic policy impact, followed earlier by George W.Bush and after him Barack Obama. Both presented more democratic faces at home, but unleashed wars that have destroyed large sections of the civilised world, that continue to generate hate and grief. The loud rhetoric of conflict and war, the justification by demonising another religion, the creation of bogeys, the insensitivity to women and child victims of war, the use of military might that started with Afghanistan and moved in to “shock and awe” the hapless population of Iraq has impacted on US domestic policy starting with the tightening of laws and the concept---given practical shape--- of Homeland Security.
Hate was infused into US society, and legitimised by former President Bush. It was not culled out by Obama despite his more democratic face. Terrorism, Islam was used by successive US administrations---in between the ‘we do not discriminate’ homilies of course---to create deep fear and insecurity amongst the people. Immigrants, and more recently the threat of an influx further fortified by reports of Syrian refugees flooding Europe, added to the churning within, and the Trump campaign latched on to this as its base for the elections.
Trump addressed a certain demographic profile of the blue collar White American. His remarks did not offend the collective psyche clearly, and even if there were momentary qualms these were overtaken on voting day through an assertion by groups that saw in him an antidote to the fears and insecurity generated by Washington over the years, to justify its militaristic foreign policy. He also played on popular perceptions about immigrants, Mexicans and others. It is not without reason that he got into some trouble not for his devastating hate speech but for his “Locker room” comments on women that dipped the scales, but not for long.
Sample: “There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey,where yu have large Arab populations. They were cheering as the World Trade Centre came down.”
"I'm putting the people on notice that are coming here from Syria as part of this mass migration, that if I win, if I win, they're going back."
(Proposes a ban on Muslims and when asked whether he had changed his mind said earlier this year to laughter and applause) ““No.Look, we have to stop with political correctness. We have to get down to creating a country that’s not going to have the kind of problems that we’ve had with people flying planes into the World Trade Centers, with the — with the shootings in California, with all the problems all over the world. … We have to find out what’s going on.”
On Mexicans: "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending the best. They're sending people that have lots of problems and they're bringing those problems. They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they're telling us what we're getting."
"I will build a great wall -- and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me --and I'll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
On Asians: "When these people (Asians in this context) walk into the room, they don't say, 'Oh hello, how's the weather? It's so beautiful outside. How are the Yankees doing? They're doing wonderful, that's great.' They say, 'We want deal!'"
On African Americans through barbs directed at President Obama such as : "Our great African-American President hasn't exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore."
Trump has played on hate and prejudice to create more divisions within American society. He has been voted into power not for taking any finer positions on issues of economic, political policies but for taking out racial, religious phobias from the world of whispers and placing what seems to have become an overriding American sentiment firmly on the table.
If Trump is to succeed as President it stands to reason that his policies will have to match his campaign that as it turns out, was not bizarre. It was real. It was his version of American destiny as he spelt out during the campaign, and reiterated more forcefully at his victory speech again with “we have to reclaim America’s destiny”.