On the night of November 8, 2016, my friends and I were eating Doritos and Pringles in bed as we were struggling to understand what had happened to the United States of America. We all hoped that the results would change as more votes were counted and stayed up all night to hear the final results. Unfortunately, Donald Trump had won the presidential election.
It is only a few days away from the inauguration and I still cannot believe that Donald Trump will be the president of the US. To be honest, it was Donald Trump that got me very interested in this US presidential election. At first, I thought he was just another funny candidate that would bring color to the political fight. As a result, I began to watch the American late night shows to get comedic commentary on Trump’s campaign, I watched the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Late Night with Seth Meyers, the Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Despite their comedic take on Trump’s behavior, they really demonstrated the flaws of Donald Trump.
I did think that he would win the Republican nomination but I had never thought that he would win the presidency. The things that he said and done during his campaign should have disqualified him from the race. My biggest issue with this election is that there is a double standard in assessing the presidential quality of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. It seemed that Clinton was under much more scrutiny and criticism based on her experience as a politician. On the other hand, Trumps gets away with a lot of the bad things simply because he was not held to the same standard as Clinton. The other important problem is that, despite being an experienced politician, Clinton got sucked into Trump’s rhetoric. She engaged into the topics that Trump brought up rather than introducing issues that really matters. For some reason, she tried to prove to the people that she was not the establishment and emphasized on the idea that being a female politician means being an outsider. Unfortunately, Clinton did not propose any new or significant policy change on issues that the people are concerned about. Whether he was conscious about it or not, Trump played the politics really well during the campaign. Trump attacked his opponents by demonizing them and calling them names repeatedly. He also made promises to build the wall and drain the swamp. As we have seen in the past few months, there is no sign that the Trump administration will adhere to the proposed plans.
The whole “Trump phenomenon” reminds me of what Adolf Hitler said, “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.” Trump did it, he created a simple big lie and repeated it; “Make America Great Again”.
Why did the US elect an extreme/radical leader? Did the people feel so desperate? It was the Great Depression in Germany that led to the election of Adolf Hitler because the people were desperate for change and they felt betrayed by their government (with regards to the unfair terms of the Treaty of Versailles). Was this the case in the US prior to the 2016 election?
I don’t think so. I am not an American and I have not been there so I can’t say with certainty about the situation on the ground but the statistics have indicated that many things have improved under the Obama administration. What are the American people desperate about? What bothered them so much that half the country voted for Trump? It seems as if the people did not notice any changes brought about by the Obama administration. Sure, the Wall Street bankers were never prosecuted for the financial collapse and the US is still entangled in the conflicts in the Middle East, but I don’t think that would be enough to cause such degree of desperation for change. It is fascinating to see how people can just look past all the racist and misogynist things he said and done that are completely against American values because they believe that he will make America great again.
As a global citizen, I am truly concerned about international security under Trump administration. The most alarming issue is Trump’s refusal of intelligence and the lack of trust for the government’s intelligence agencies. It can be helpful to question the intelligence that has been received but the complete refusal of intelligence is dangerous.
Ironically, the state that has pride itself as being the world’s greatest democracy has given the presidency to the man who lost the popular vote because of the ‘winner take all’ electoral college. The US has often expressed its discontent towards other states’ action of violence, human rights violations, and censorship. I think that under the Trump administration, the people of the US will then truly understand what it is like to live in a non-democratic state.