What an outcome! Dismissed as an outsider, Donald Trump, in the words of one commentator, “took on and comprehensively beat the party political system in first the Republicans and secondly the Democrats”. Now, the outcome of the election has changed everything. The question as to why he won cannot be answered in just a simple cause and effect explanation as most of the media are trying to do, but appears much more complicated.
Donald Trump knew his audience and connected with them. They in turn identified with him. He didn’t try to convert the present establishment, the liberal Clintonian America of the east and west coasts, to his cause. He spoke to his own audience of mainly white working class Americans who traditionally voted Democrat, those who felt left behind in this evolving global economy in which we live, and to those who found the liberal agenda of Mrs. Clinton too much.
It was in great part these voters along with those voters who are distinctly sceptical of career politicians and the Washington elite that helped Trump beat the Clinton dynasty that appeared to have no appetite for reform but to continue the Obama legacy. But these highly educated Clinton followers seem to have missed a simple political reality that unless voters are satisfied with both the state of their country and their own position in it, they are unlikely to favour continuity with a past administration.
Bernie Sanders, Mrs. Clinton’s Democratic rival in the nomination campaign, successfully painted her as a Washington establishment candidate and a stooge of Wall Street. He hit the Clinton campaign from the left. Trump added to this banding of Clinton as the establishment candidate the persistent question as to her honesty and trustworthiness. And, of course, there is the email scandal. This stuck in many of the electorate’s imagination. Subsequently it helped him to counter Mrs. Clinton’s persistent attempts to brand him as being unfit and unqualified for office. It became a slugfest.
Mrs. Clinton struggled to articulate a clear rationale for her own candidacy to those Democrats of rust belt states such as Pennsylvania. Her message was more of the same which was at best naive, and unsurprisingly rejected. Even her slogans were weak compared with Trump’s: “Stronger together”, “I am with her” contrasted against “Make America great again” and “Lock her up”.
The Democrats were convinced that Trump would not accept the results of the elections and that some of his followers could incite violence. However, today it is the Clinton supporters out in Manhattan, principally white and well educated, who are protesting against the election results. America appears crippled between two sides. It is a divided society at war with itself.
In 2005 Bill and Hilary Clinton attended Donald Trump’s wedding and Bill Clinton even continued to play golf until June of this year at one of Trump’s golf courses, perhaps in time that relationship will be rekindled to some degree and a level of cordiality will prevail once again. Or will these protesting progressive democrats continue with their protests throughout the coming years in an effort to keep their agenda alive with the hope of giving the Trump presidency an air of negativity?