Donald Trump has dodged the media, pollsters and nearly half the population to become the next Commander-In-Chief. It has been over a week since Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States of America. It is a result that has shocked many across the political world.
Trump’s path to Presidency was one of the most controversial and vitriolic campaigns in modern American history, a campaign shrouded in personal insults and xenophobia.
Here we break down the key elements that played a role in his victory, the concerns over his presidential policies and the response of the Left so far.
Donald Trump and the White-lash
Many Americans are asking themselves: How did America, a nation founded on the ideals of immigration and unity, elect a demagogue to the highest position of office in the world?
The answer to that would be two elements. First, the recent rise in the political phenomenon of White-lash, a term coined by CNN analyst Van Jones, who stated “This was a white-lash against a changing country. It was a white-lash against a black president in part. And that’s the part where the pain comes.”
A white-lash against pluralism, liberal institutions, Wall Street and the media. An estimated 63% of white men and 52% of white women gave their vote to Trump in comparison to 8% of black people. These men and women elected a candidate that promised to ban all Muslims from entering the US, labelled all Mexicans ‘rapists and murderers’, promised to build a wall against Mexico , encouraged violence at his rallies and was accused of promoting sexual violence against women.
Initially, Donald Trump waltzed into American politics as a Washington outsider, perceived as a political joke amongst pundits and politicians. However, his voice resonated with voters on the right. He cemented his campaign success on a platform echoing divisive statements, based on scaremongering and spouting conspiracy theories against rival Hillary Clinton. He unashamedly exploited voter ignorance by making promises that appealed to a certain demographic in America: the conservative white voter. Anger and disenfranchisement has also been cited as a reason amongst the working class white, who feel that political elite’s liberal policies and pro- immigration stances have widely ignored their struggles and have contributed to their low socio-economic position in life.
The second being a climate of nationalist populism, a movement that has been gaining traction over the last few years, notably since President Obama was elected in 2008. It has been reported that a number of white nationalists mobilized to rebel against the progressive establishment by electing a non-political media figure. This was a strong statement to oppose a multicultural America. He was also endorsed by numerous white supremacist groups including Neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan, most famously its former leader David Duke.
After the election win, the KKK announced nationwide celebration parades to mark a new era for America. This election has seen the apotheosis of the US nationalist organisations.
Concerns over the perils of a Trump Administration
A post-Trump victory has some serious ramifications. Protests have broken out in numerous states and cities in the US, against Trump’s hateful rhetoric and those taking a stand against this election. Since the result, thousands still continue to target the Trump buildings in different cities, chanting pro-immigrant slogans. Police and protesters have violently clashed and many arrests have been made. America has nuances of a nation descending into a state of civil war.
There is also another disturbing dimension to this current debate. Just like in Britain after the Brexit vote, many racists have become emboldened by the election result and hate crimes have seen a surge. Reports of Muslim women being physically assaulted and having their hijabs ripped off, to black people being told to sit ‘at the back of the bus’, minorities being verbally assaulted, high school students being threatened, to swastikas and nooses found on college campuses and members of the LGBT community being attacked on election night.
There are also legitimate concerns over the super-team of bigots, Islamophobes and racists that Trump is allegedly appointing to his cabinet. Recently, it was reported that former Breitbart editor and Alt-Right leader Steve Bannon, is to take over as Chief Strategist in the Trump team. Bannon is a controversial pick, as he has a history of promoting white supremacy through Breitbart News, has made derogatory remarks about Jews, and was also involved in a domestic violence case against his ex-wife. Bannon’s appointment has been praised by white supremacists.
Then there is Frank Gaffney, who has been named as an advisor to Trump. Gaffney is a noted Islamophobic conspiracy theorist, who was one of the first US right-wing propagandists in claiming that Barack Obama was a ‘closet Muslim’, and claims that the highest levels of the US government had been ‘infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood’, even trying to implicate close Clinton aide Huma Abedin to the group.
With more names to be announced, these recent appointments give us an indication of what to expect further from this Trump administration.
Political experts, world leaders and analysts are also questioning how a Trump Presidency will approach foreign policy matters. There is a general concern that diplomatic ties will be strained with other nations after this election result. The Obama administration worked diligently to negotiate ties and lift sanctions on Iran and Cuba, nations that were previously considered as hostiles towards the USA. America has also worked hard to build relationships with emerging competitors China and India. Other concerns such jeopardizing ties with allies such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on the War on Terror are top concerns, the growing US-Russia ties under Trump, as is the contentious and ongoing Middle-East peace process. There is a danger that a Trump administration will countermand these diplomatic efforts, further plunging an already precarious world into a political quagmire.
Tea Party of the Left
There has been a significant paradigm shift in American politics that has normalized the extreme right ideology. Liberals, minorities and Muslims must now adjust to a new chapter in America’s history. Donald Trump voters have created a new sinister America that has gone back 50 years in time. However, even in the midst of all this chaos and uncertainty, all is not lost for the liberal movement. The left has its own game plan.
Bernie Sanders, now a powerful figurehead in the progressive movement, has urged supporters to continue protests against the President-elect Trump, to oppose his bigotry and hatred. There are talks of liberal institutions galvanizing to create the ‘Tea Party of the Left”, to combat the growing brand of hatred that is consuming America.
To further add to the brewing political revolution of the left, there has been reports that Keith Ellison, the first US Black Muslim Congressman from Minnesota, is a favourite pick amongst many Democratic Party members to head as the DNC chair. This could prove a game-changer for the Democrats.
Keith Ellison has already been endorsed by some impressive names across the liberal spectrum. Elizabeth Warren, Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid and Bernie Sanders have all thrown their support behind him. This would be an unprecedented step for the American-Muslim community.
Whatever the outcome of this endorsement, Democrats have four more years to win back America. They better make every minute count. Starting right about now.