-Dev Ankur Wadhawan
America, considered as the most developed nation on this planet, is in for uncertain times ahead, as Donald J Trump, the Republican candidate, secured a stunning defeat over Hillary R Clinton. Trump gets ready to replace Barack Obama as the next President of the United States of America after he defeated Clinton in one of the most bitterly – fought elections in the history of America.
Clinton, most polls had predicted, would secure victory, in a closely fought election that could go down to the wire. But most analysts seem to have wrongly assessed the dominating mood in America. The vote in favour of Trump came despite the revelation through a tape in which he could be heard talking about women in a crude fashion and the accusations made against him, including that of being a sexual abuser of women. The vote is being considered as an anti – establishment vote and one that favours change at the helm of affairs. Trump, considered an outsider, was able to secure victory over Hillary Clinton, someone with years of political experience behind her. She, while Bill Clinton, was the President, performed the role of being the First Lady and has been a US Senator and the Secretary of State too. Clinton was up against Trump, a business tycoon with several interests but someone who was considered a rank outsider who had never stood for a political election prior to the fight for Presidency. Trump fought the battle in which odds were believed to be stacked against him, in an unorthodox way, manufacturing or fanning polarization, making people fear loss of jobs, creating phobia against Islam and Muslims, claiming that he will ban Muslims from entering America and pandering to the white supremacy sentiment, prevalent in America. Trump claimed that he will act against illegal immigration and seal borders with Mexico. The current establishment, including US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama had made their preference for Hillary and dislike for Donald Trump increasingly clear. Michelle and Barack campaigned for Hillary and hit out against Donald Trump. However, there had been a clear misreading of the prevailing mood and the establishment’s support seems to have worked against Hillary and not in her favour. American people have clearly voted in favour of change and a move away from status quo after two successive Governments of Democrats.
Hillary Clinton, it was predicted to be a favourite in her fight against Trump at the start of the elections. Both the candidates had made some early gains. However, Trump walked away with victories in key battleground states, including, Ohio, Florida and North Carolina. Hillary had a lead of one percentage point in the key state of Florida. However, Trump managed to wrest it in his favour, which hampered Hillary Clinton’s chances.
Trump, as is clear, successfully managed to polarize the US voters, playing on fears of mass scale job loss, minority phobia, white supremacy being under threat. Credit for Trump’s victory, its being believed, largely lies with the white workforce, who are believed to be taken in by Trump’s promise to create jobs, to shut borders, and for playing on the prevailing Anti – Islam sentiment. He has also been able to successfully encash the American sentiment against the scourge of terrorism and his views on ISIS. Americans also viewed Donald Trump as pro – Russia and pro – Putin believing that he can help in improving America’s relation with that country. Trump is also seen as someone who can help prevent China from establishing its hegemony and ensure that America clearly stays at the top in the emerging world order. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, was being viewed as pro – establishment, someone who was in favour of status quo in terms of various policies and measures, on the foreign and domestic fronts. Clinton and Trump did not see eye to eye on a host of issues, as was evident during the three Presidential debates held between the Republican and Democratic candidates. It was an extremely vicious campaign, which had generated a lot of bad blood between two sides. Trump had gotten personal on several occasions, accusing Hillary’s husband and former US President Bill Clinton of being involved in several cases of sexual abuse. He had also accused Hillary of committing fraud and claimed that he will ensure that Hillary is sent to jail, if he becomes the President.
However, post – victory, Trump seemingly adopted a reconciliatory tone. He stated that he had received a call from his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, congratulating him. “I have just received a call from Secretary Clinton, she congratulated us, on our victory and I congratulated her and her family on a very hard fought campaign. She fought very hard. Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time and we owe her major debt of gratitude to our country.” Trump also mentioned his outlook and plan going forward. “We will double our growth and have the strongest economy anywhere in the world. At the same time we will get along with all other nations, willing to get along with us,” he mentioned.
Trump also thanked his family who stood by him during the course of a tough election, in which several accusations were hurled at him, including that of being an abuser of women, and someone who was prone to creating Anti – Islam or Anti – minority hysteria. His wife Melania, his daughter Ivanka stood by him when the going got tough for him. They supported him through to the end. Trump had been himself involved in several comments during the course of campaigning that were considered as being nasty and below the belt. However, after securing the victory, his comments were markedly accomodative. “I love you and I thank you… this political stuff is nasty and it’s tough”, he said.
An elated Trump mentioned, “It’s been what they call a historic event. But to be really historic, we have to do a great job. And I promise you that I will not let you down.”
Post the loss, Hillary Clinton decided against addressing her supporters immediately. Her supporters seemed crestfallen, clearly shocked at the unexpected turn of events. Her supporters clearly believed that the Democratic candidate was poised to create history by becoming the first woman President of the United States of America. As results began to come in and it became increasingly clear that her campaign had failed to secure a win for her, eyes of many of her supporters welled up. Several analysts, its being believed, failed to interpret the prevailing sentiment for change and therefore, could not read the writing on the wall. Trump’s victory is being compared to the Brexit vote held in the UK, where the British people had, in an unexpected turn of events, largely voted in favour of UK’s exit from European nations. President Barack Obama, on his part, went ahead and invited Donald Trump to meet him at the White House to talk about transition planning. Trump’s victory signifies the end of eight years of reign by the Democratic regime.