Of Trump’s victory and psychology of American people
“Donald Trump has won a mandate!” declared campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, and fellow Republicans such as House Speaker, Paul Ryan. Otherwise, his victory might have been merely academic. This outcome was not only bewildering, but hardly believable.
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Question is, just how did the billionaire businessman who had never been elected to any political office pull one of the world’s greatest surprises? To some, he was even more surprised that he won the election. It’s amazing the type of precedence which the Americans have set by giving him a chance to get to this place. So, how did he get there? What went right?
It all began on June 16, 2015 when he came down the lift in his gold plated New York building, the Trump Tower and declared that he was going to contest for the presidency. His first words were not kind to Mexicans and with that he declared war with all the Latino community. He also stated that he would build a wall along the Mexican border and the Mexican government was going to pay for it. And his slogan ‘Make America Great Again’ was born; a slogan which rubbed many the wrong way with an accusation that it was the epitome of racism and confession of the same.
All the pundits thought he was not in by a long shot. On fact, the big question was just how long he was going to last in the race. In a competition which had 16 candidates, including career politicians such as Jeb Bush, Chris Christi, who had sufficiently prepared for this race, they seemed like they had a much better chance of winning, compared to Trump who many considered a business mogul but a political joker.
But Trump didn’t listen to anyone for the next 10 months. He came up with a loyal fan base and promised the Democrats a run for their money. He courted controversy by saying unspeakable things like banning all Muslims from coming to America or putting all Muslims in America under surveillance. He attacked everyone who dared challenge him or even question him. His favourite attack tool was twitter where he would resort to late night cat fights with everyone, including those who were not keen to fight with him.
To the mainstream media these were disqualifying factors, but to the ‘ancient’ Americans these were the things everyone was saying but were afraid to be associated with in public. And with that, he became the spokesman for the conservative Americans and that was all he needed to win the competitive Republican ticket.
American elections, unlike many elections, are determined by the Electoral College votes. These are a group of 538 people selected to elect the President and Vice President of the United States of America. In paper and theory they have an independent mind of choosing whoever they choose to, meaning Hillary Clinton still may have a chance of winning, but in reality their vote is directly related to the popular vote in a given state, meaning that if Trump won the popular vote in Florida he would get all the 29 Electoral College votes. So when they meet on 19th December the world expects them to rubber stamp the result.
It’s also important to note that the American election is determined by around 11 states out of 50 which are famously known as swing states. The swing states include Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin whoever performs well in these states usually wins the election.
In total, these state’s accounts for most of the Electoral College votes and Trump won most of these states making it a very easy sail for him. The Electoral College is determined by the population of a state so states with a large population are given more Electoral Colleges. California, for instance, has 55, while Florida 29.
Trump, being a celebrity without the presidency, was a darling of the media. Instead of looking for it, the media looked for him. He, therefore, made very few advertisements since he was always featured in the news anyway, albeit for the wrong reasons .Since any publicity is good publicity for a seasoned politician, this was a good thing for Donald Trump. Many thought this would work against him, but he probably was the only one who thought this was good for him. He was right.
He campaigned alone and declared himself as the only one who could bring change to the nation and in that he cultivated a loyal core. He said severally that America was losing and he wanted to get them back to the winning ways.
If Obama campaigned on hope in 2008, Trump campaigned on fear and the belief that the nation was doing very badly locally and internationally.
Because of his confrontational style, he was always ‘alone’ on the campaign trail even some Republican leaders left him while Hillary had all the celebrities and ‘good people’ around her on the campaign trail. While Clinton would do only one campaign in a day Trump had to do more sometimes even 5 since he was ‘alone’ in the journey.
So when everyone was running away from him, his supporters were getting more and more passionate and enthusiastic. His campaign rallies were always full. And come to Election Day they did the unimaginable; came out in large numbers and voted in Trump.
In all honesty, Hillary may have been a wrong candidate for the Democrats. She had somewhat much baggage around her and the fatigue of the few names in America might have made people opt for Trump even though he wasn’t the best replacement. Her unpopularity made it a little bit easier for Trump to triumph. That notwithstanding, as Hillary said, we owe Trump an open mind and we must give him a chance to lead the American people. Who knows, he could just be the best president America has ever had.
In conclusion, perhaps the occurrence of the day can best be understood from H. Mencken quote thus; “As democracy is perfected, the office of the president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron” And come 2020, the world might just be ready for another shock, Kanye West. And when this happens, it will surely be known that the more change is, the more they remain the same. A world of politics indeed!
The writer is the CEO of Right Elections®. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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