Donald Trump the President-elect was welcomed by President Barack Obama at the White House today who said about him to be ‘unfit’ for the role and was propelled to the office by those who Senator Hillary Clinton called ‘deplorable’. History is made in America again after electing the first black President Obama in 2008. This time not for the first woman President of America but for Trump, who became President without being part of the political establishment and without ever holding any public office. And, who said democracy is the collective voice of people? America is deeply divided as it is reflected in the voting (as of November 10 morning): Hillary: 59,755,284 votes (47.7%). Trump: 59,535,522 votes (47.5%). And half the people (around 47%) did not vote!
The Electoral College vote, where only few states decided the fate of the President is divided like this: Trump won in 29 states and Clinton in 21. The ‘battleground’ states which leaned towards Trump made him win.
Not a majority voice; if there was a strong 3rd party, the results would be completely different.
While the Republicans are celebrating, there are ‘protests’ today in many cities where people are chanting ‘you are not my president’. In the Clinton camp, people are deeply disappointed and hurt and will take some time to heal. Activists of any defeated political party has to go through this painful state of utter set-back.
America and the world will have to move on – nothing in the world is permanent! There are those who are upset and saying America is still not ready for a female President while, I share my empathy with them, I have a disagreement too. I don’t think nations like India, Israel, UK consciously picked female heads – it is mostly circumstantial! I don’t agree with people that American men consciously don’t want a female President, though maybe there are some. The challenge has been that not too many female candidates have come up to the forefront, who are as fortunate, tenacious and qualified as Hillary. And Hillary did create history yesterday, as a female presidential candidate, by getting the highest number of popular votes. Having said that, it is not guaranteed that a person representing an interest group such as the women would take care of all their problems! History is full of evidences otherwise! Eventually, gender and color is painted by the system and the power of the position!
I have heard from some Democrats that Bernie Sanders was sacrificed to give way for the first woman President who ‘has experience to be a great President’! Many feel Trump’s fate was sealed with Hillary being the Democrat candidate.
Some Democrats feel this defeat has nothing to do with her candidacy, but it was a stroke of sheer luck and it missed by very small margin. Same thing can be said about Trump! But, one may speculate that it is her own karma which yielded this result. Hillary may have chosen wrong advisers and kept wrong company. Whoever advised or did not advise her to use or not use a private email server has trailed and haunted her! It seems that Bill Clinton and Obama did not help, and may have hindered. Trump campaign used the past of former President Clinton against Hillary and Obama’s legacy was used against her for a ‘change’ and so did fear of dynasty rule. Some say that First Lady Michelle Obama was able to get more black and women voters out than Obama and Hillary, respectively. Did ditching Bernie become a negative karma? And Huma Abedin, a questionable person, was in the bedroom of American politics and government – that definitely did not help Hillary. Finally, Trump was successful in conveying to America that Hillary was a failure when it comes to dealing with war and peace in the world, especially in the Middle East.
So, what really happened?
Two things decided the fate of American presidency this time:
-Establishment’s over confidence
-Effect of the era of disruption
In 2004, India witnessed how ‘India Shining’ campaign miserably failed – Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government was routed out. I believe that the Democrats fell into a similar trap – ‘Obama has done so much for America’ was the attitude, but specifics were missing.
It is almost a law of nature – in Rabindranath’s language: ‘Who you put down will tie you down; those you leave behind will pull you back’. Poor, non-college educated male white voters supported Trump maximum. This is the new backward class of America. A degree of conservatism and some racist elements may be present in these groups and yet, they cannot be labeled as ‘deplorable’; one cannot deny that while the economy soared and job prospects increased during Obama era – this group of people were not getting the benefits they deserved. Many blacks, Hispanics and women did vote for Trump despite his negative remarks during campaign. Hillary failed to get sufficient support she needed from these groups. In 2012 Obama had 93% support from the African Americans, this time it was 88%. Among the women voters according to a CNN poll about 53% of white, 4% black and 26% Latina voted for Trump.
On the other hand the veterans constitute 10% of all registered voters – their health care is suffering tremendously after serving the nation. They overwhelmingly voted for Trump – 61%.
Only time will tell how Trump serves many of these deprived communities.
The world has entered an era of disruption. Perhaps it is more reflected in India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s spectacular victory in 2014. All the odds were against him including media and some from his own party, yet he emerged as the winner! The impact of disruption is extremely true in the technology sector – inventors or entrepreneurs may appear from anywhere and it’s no more a monopoly of the large companies. Media is also distributed now – social media has changed the game! And disruption is definitely playing well in politics and people’s involvement in governance. Actually, all three – technology, media and governancae are strongly connected today. It takes seconds to send a message to the remotest person! Nothing can be hidden anymore. Of course, WikiLeaks played a role – which is also part of the game named disruption. And ideas are always potent disrupter. ‘Make America great again’ was a disruptive idea which had power, just like Obama’s ‘Yes we can’! Hillary camp failed in this.
I disagree with many, who may brand it as Kali Yuga or the age of downfall! In my opinion, we have long past that era. Both spiritually and materially we are in an era of disruption – no more monopoly, no more hiding – both nature’s forces and laws are abundantly nearer to human access. The past hundred years witnessed major contributions in both the material and spiritual world – perhaps it is an upward Dwapar Yuga. And, if Trump’s Presidency turns out to be bad, it is the end neither for America, nor for rest of the world. It is unthinkable for a Republican to speak against Iraq war, which Trump has used skillfully against Clinton. He is not a typical Republican. So, in the long history of a nation of the world, a few years of unexpected or unwanted change, unless the change is earth-shattering, does not matter much!
Is Trump really racist and misogynous? World knows him like this, but a US President cannot remain as such, at least that is what America hopes. The White House rules should keep him in check from misadventures.
Deepak Chopra noted Trump may have been guided by the lowest chakra and the amygdala – seats for survival and animal instincts. But, what about Hillary Clinton? Was she able to work from a higher chakra – say for example – anahata – heart chakra? The answer is no. Ask Ken Wilber – he will still put both candidates in the lower stratum of socio-psycho-evolution ladder. Fortunately, the nectar of soberness drenched the hearts of both candidates after the election, Americans only hope for that not to cease!
So, what does one expect from a Trump Presidency? Much depends on who he surrounds himself with. It is said that Bill Clinton advised George Bush during transition – ‘Your team will determine your accomplishments’ – remains true.
In his victory speech he forgot to mention ’make America great again’. One only hopes that the slogan is in his head and the work of Trump really ‘begins’ now, without any more use of rhetoric and blame-games!
Many fear the tax-cut of the rich may not benefit the poor. But, if he is able to get some people with ‘heart’ as his advisors – that will work for those who are ‘forgotten’. Otherwise the opposite may happen. Bringing back manufacturing jobs is a sweet dream, which is not going to happen. Just like agriculture-based jobs have vanished, manufacturing mundane goods is a matter of the past. Most Americans cannot afford to buy many of these ‘Made in America’ goods and say goodbye to Walmart! America needs to be better at what is good at – innovation – both in technology and business. And, for that, American educational system needs an overhaul for two purposes: envision and plan out the enterprises and jobs of tomorrow and then offer the education and training to its new generation to be fit for that. If Trump gets this somehow right, he will do a great service to the nation. And of course – it must pay attention to trade deficits with countries like China.
One may be sympathetic to refugees in different parts of the world, living in hellish conditions. But, it is equally true that refugees from certain parts of the world will increase the risk of security and every job taken by them will deprive a citizen here. The official jobless rate is still 5%. These concerns are beyond race and religion. I’m yet to see an American picking up one of the half a million homeless people from the streets and give shelter! One in 7 Americans are food insecure – meaning they don’t have guarantee for two full meals a day! In 2015, there were 43 million people living in poverty, which includes a 24% share of black Americans.
Trump has talked a lot about ISIS and Islamic Terrorism. Yes – they are extremely dangerous for the world. America must look at the root cause of all these and chances are, that Trump may hit the root causes and not just the symptoms. Nations which are directly or indirectly responsible for terror must be dealt with strongly while making sure American policies do not create more such groups.
While no earthshattering change is expected from Trump when it comes to trade treaties and the border what may spun off from the rhetoric he used during campaign is some solid actions. And, in his heart if he has genuine urge to uplift the American have-nots, then much can happen without building the wall and cancelling the treaties. This disruptive world is defying borders and treaties to redefine trade, war, prosperity and peace.
Indian foreign policy makers will have to change the way they think of normal politics and governance while dealing with ‘blunt’ Trump. America will have to get used to a new way of expressing and transacting with the Trump-driven leadership. India, and for that matter, all countries will have to change the ‘established’ norm of transacting with America. While I don’t see any overhaul of American foreign policy in a significant way – some small steps may set the motion of relationship with nations in a more productive collaboration. India and America, two great democracies can do better job in collaborating in the following areas: Terrorism, Poverty, Education, Jobs and Technology especially in energy and space. It will help both the countries. However, on climate change related matters, Trump needs to reconcile his stand and India can work with him in this matter.
A Trump administration needs to immediately delist Pakistan from being a most favored ally, save our tax money from making bombs and promoting terror. That itself will influence policy decisions, including clamping down on the military forces from hijacking Pakistan’s civilian agenda and will enhance capability of the world to curb manufacturing of terrorists. America must act to protect minorities in Pakistan and Bangladesh and help the Baluchs to be free. As Saudi Arabia poised to face economic turmoil in near future – America along with the international community must not give any more opportunities to them to export Wahhabism – the most virulent Islamist ideology.
All that talk about Putin-Trump bhai-bhai (brothers), does not hold much substance! Two different systems of governance, two different value systems – cannot all of a sudden become compatible just because of Donald Trump! America can be made to believe that one has to take a hard stand with Russia, to make Putin curb his ambitions and interruptions – that is only partly true. Because, look around – how many friends does Russia have in the world and, apart from military ambitions, what is it left with?
It is easy to talk tough about China, but to act is not going to be any cake walk. America has no choice – dependency for its essential supplies currently coming from China has to be diversified to other countries, including India. Militarily India and America must join hands to stop Chinese actions, which may hurt the interests of both the nations and their allies. Trump can do a good job, if he is serious about it.
So, is America great again? America is great when it follows the ideals of its founding fathers and their vision which is embedded in the constitution. In this instance, 60 million people gave power to Trump – a rare chance to serve the country by depriving Clinton of the same job while another 60 million wanted her. There is a great fear that he will work based on partisan politics, not only inter-party but also intra-party. However, the system has checks and balances. If he is not able to work going above partisanship, it is a matter of 4 years! If he does well – 4 years of progress, if he does not – four years not wasted, but experienced!
Trump needs to shake off his image of having bad temperament and project a real Presidential personality which he has shown during his victory speech. He will have hard time uniting the nation after such a vicious campaign, that is a great opportunity for him to show leadership now!
I tell the Democrats – no use crying over spilled milk – ‘move on’; prepare for the next election. But, to the Republicans, who voted for him, through the lawmakers you have a duty to the nation – hold President Trump responsible from day one, if he fails to deliver!