This is one election victory where nobody can claim to be wise, or wiser, after the event. Donald Trump, not even an outlier but a complete outsider to the Republican Party, makes a takeover and wins the 2016 US general elections to become President-elect of the United States of America. And that too against divisive forces in the very Republican Party he was heading, which coalesced to publicly denounce both the man and his style! Unbelievable victory indeed, against so many odds both external and internal.
But as in many elections around the world, practically everybody got it wrong. Senior, seasoned journalists to start with. Pollsters almost all tilted in favour of Hillary Clinton, making one wonder whether there could be such a thing as wishful polls! Many analysts around the world, leaders who openly did not want a Trump Presidency, reputed newspapers in the US and Europe: they all plumped for Hillary.
But the American people have decided, and Donald Trump will become the 45th President of the USA. There will be no dearth of very learned analyses to try to understand why the polls went wrong, why this man who ‘prowled like a bear’ around Hillary Clinton during their second face-to-face debate, who seemed less able to articulate his views on important policy issues as compared to the savvy and articulate Hillary Clinton among other things – how this businessman who had no political footing or experience at all rose and rose, mostly on his own strength to beat his opposite number who had almost four decades of public and political engagement.
But let the post-mortem conductors enjoy themselves. What is certain is that they will come to no particular conclusion. And they could save their breath for the next round in four years. And likely repeat their errors in prediction.
What is more significant is that Mrs Clinton conceded defeat at a given point, and called Donald Trump and congratulated him. He praised her for the great work that she had done for her country during her years in public office.
It’s over for Hillary Clinton, and the glass ceiling she sought to break through will simply not yield. Feminism and equal rights and opportunities are good rhetoric towards the outside world. America is still a male stronghold, and there is no sign of any woman president for the US in a long time to come. It is very unlikely that that Hillary Clinton will be there in 2020 to fight another presidential campaign. Donald Trump expects to win a second term, which diminishes the possibility of any female presidency in the US even further. And if he wins another term it will probably be no surprise then.
For he has already made an almost 180 degree turn in his short acceptance speech. Perhaps suddenly conscious of the enormous responsibility that now rests on his shoulders, he left behind all the campaign rhetoric to deliver a sober short address which surprised his opponents. He would be the President of all Americans, he said, Republicans as well as Democrats, and both of those who voted and did not vote for him. He would work with all countries that wished to work with America, and would seek only the best for his country. He would work for the unity of the American people – and so on.
The stock markets and the Dow Jones which had dipped started to narrow the gap again, as investors gained optimism when he mentioned that infrastructure will be a priority. Donald Trump said that his party has an economic plan, and that things will look up again to make America great and Americans to fulfill their dream.
Commentators noted these remarks as a sign that he was going to be a pragmatic president, which is what Americans and America’s partners and allies expect of him. Someone made a comparison with Ronald Reagan, the cowboy who became president – and left a reasonable track record. Who knows, he opined, for all we know Donald Trump might turn out to be as successful as Ronald Reagan. Indeed, who knows?
Another point worth mentioning is the transition to power: one must give credit where it is due, and this is indeed a strong point of the American system. President Obama has already invited Donald Trump to the White House to discuss the transition. And one cannot see the campaign rhetoric coming in between them as the handing over of the affairs of State is handled by both men. It is too serious a matter, and at stake is the future of their country and that of the world too.
All said and done, it seems that so far the right moves are being made to give Donald Trump a smooth entry into function. As to how this will pan out, well, like everyone else, we just have to wait and see. No predictions are to be made, for they will not hold. Good luck, Mr future President Trump!