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Lessons from Trump win

Many people have no positive feelings about Donald Trump. They believe it is hubristic of him to think he is qualified to be President.

They think that his treatment of women, even if not current, disqualifies him from being the nation’s role-model in chief.

I did not think Donald Trump would have won the Presidency of the United States. I viewed his intellect as shallow, reducing complex issues to bumper-sticker rhetoric.

Until he learnt to use a teleprompter, most people viewed his discursive, redundant, self-absorbed, bombastic public speaking skills as undeserving of even a passing grade in a high school class, let alone as President of the United States. As much as it was clear that he was appealing to a sentiment, albeit stunningly problematic for its racist, xenophobic and misogynistic notes, I still did not think he would win.

I am often called pessimistic and skeptical, even crazy, for the opinions I express in this column. However, I still believed that good sense would prevail and the people, good right thinking people, would vote for the more qualified, even tempered candidate who held a vision for the diverse and progressive country America is held up as around the world.

Perhaps my belief in humanity was misplaced but undoubtedly, I, along with so many others, were wrong and perhaps that says something about society, democracy and so much else. The polls up until Tuesday indicated that Hillary Clinton would have won. Post-election, people are now wondering how CNN and so many others were off by so much.

If we were not before, we are now sure that anger and frustration can determine the outcome of elections. It happened even here in 2014. So much so that they have the ability to break models and depart from what the polls suggest are likely to be the outcomes.

Perhaps a reminder for those of us in countries approaching constitutionally due elections, that we need to listen to the individual voter a great deal more. The sets of voters most chatted about in the last week, the silent Trump voter and the rural voter, are both said to have secured the win for the President-elect.

The silent Trump voter is said to have swung the election in favour of the blustering businessman.

These voters did not indicate to pollsters that they would vote for the Republican nominee, but ultimately did. 

One can safely presume that silent Trump voters did not indicate their

true intentions because to do so, it would have said something about the America they wanted and who they were, something they were not willing to tell everyone else in the context of a campaign where Trump said so much they were expected to disagree with based on markers like race, education, location and class.

Similarly, rural voters were won over by Trump’s rhetoric which suggested that he was going to return jobs to the jobless by tearing up trade deals that had led to domestic job loss.

He also pledged to put coal miners back to work in parts of the country where the industry had been stemmed by attempts at finding cleaner sources of energy.

Altogether, neither terribly sophisticated nor pragmatic arguments, but ones that worked in a race where his opponent did not have a consistent rhetorical argument on economics and jobs voters could easily recall and repeat in their sleep.

That Donald won is now water under the bridge. The media and pundits have been asking that electors not take him at his dangerous word (drain the swamp, build wall, deport immigrants, throw Hillary in jail, blow terrorists away etc). This, I think, is telling for it is indicative of how extremes are normalised in an attempt to move forward, and may even be evidence of the media already dropping the ball on a President who has scoffed at press freedom,

It is blatantly obvious that Trump’s ascension will have ramifications for the rest of the world as has the ascension of every man who has entered that office before him.

However, he is not only unlike his predecessors in his qualifications or lack thereof, but in his world view. He makes light of many of the world’s most pressing issues.

He thinks global warming is a figment of the imagination of Chinese scientists, a view that has the ability to put the global efforts related to such at risk.

The next four years may be tough for those most affected by US policy and that includes many of us, but Trump’s victory should also be a reminder that societal progress is not inevitable, that bad things can happen to good people, and we cannot afford to believe that right will always win. (Andwele Boyce, 2016)

Tumy on Monday



DPP Botswana

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