It seemed that Clinton will have a smooth ride to the White House, as she was clearly a top contender as per the polls. But hold your horses, debates do not win elections. I know many of us will start finding holes in the Clinton campaign, and what could have been done differently and so forth.
People are already pointing out that Bernie would have been a better option against Trump, but Clinton went to that point with her merit, and with the support she enjoys from the powerful quarters of the country. The debate results, numerous presidential polls, celebrity endorsements, late night shows, and you name it, everything has fallen flat on its backs.
The result is overwhelmingly leaned towards the billionaire’s side. Who would have thought, right?
I am not an expert on this issue, but I have done my kind of analysis of the whole deal. Let’s see if this makes sense. I have taken a rather business-like approach to this political outcome. Trump, being a businessman, has approached the election by identifying his target group, their needs, behaviour, and what they want to hear.
Trump has targeted white Americans. He has successfully unearthed what they feel in 2016. A similar approach in 2008 would have been a disaster when the whole country was fighting double digit unemployment, recession, and people were suffering.
But it’s not 2008. Unemployment has been managed by a black president, and he isn’t running anymore. Just like the need theory, when basic things are covered, you think of something else. The last eight years of Obama’s government have streamlined issues like health care, unemployment, and he has been successful in foreign affairs as well.
Apart from the disastrous Syrian campaign by the US, the Democrats had little to worry about in a third round in the office considering the last eight years of achievements.
Just imagine for a moment that Bangladesh has become a high-income economy and taking immigrants. How will the native Bangladeshis feel when they see people from different races around the world enjoying the same benefits like they do?
So what about the polls?
How could they have been so wrong? The answer could not be simpler -- the people interviewed were not the right segment, and were not proportionate.
The Economist rightly pointed out that the shy-Trump phenomena may have been the case, where people were reluctant to be identified as a Trump supporter, where the whole media was branding them as ignorant, arrogant, and crazy. So, the actual Trump base was much bigger than it appeared.
In a recent study by James Toedtman, former Washington bureau chief for Newsday, it was reported: Americans in general are frustrated with the federal government, and 55% of them think ordinary Americans can do a better job in solving problems, and only 19% of Americans have trust in the government all or most of the time.
This is not a pretty picture at all. When people start to think they can do a better job than the man in power, they may well be voting for someone who is evidently an incompetent candidate for the throne.
According to Pew Research Center: “Americans are more racially and ethnically diverse than in the past, and the US is projected to be even more diverse in the coming decades.” Whites constitute more than 60% of the American population. Asia has replaced Latin America in the highest migrant source in the US.
Furthermore, “America’s demographic changes are shifting the electorate and American politics,” where still 69% of the eligible voters are white.
Clinton has addressed every voter segment possible, but couldn’t understand a sentiment that has been brewing for a while. Trump has attacked minorities, Hispanics, and Muslims in an unprecedented way, which didn’t backfire at all.
An analysis suggests Clinton won more counties where at least 45% of the population was black.
My take on this is: Hypothetically, just imagine for a moment that Bangladesh has become a high-income economy and taking immigrants. How will the native Bangladeshis feel when they see people from different races around the world enjoying the same benefits like they do?
I won’t say it will be hatred, but surely there will not be love.
Trump has successfully ignited the racial flame inside the whites. It was not a war between two parties; rather it was a racial one, a value proposition so severe that the gun-slinging Ted Cruz bowed out. It will be a major concern if politicians keep using Trump-like racial rhetoric as a campaign tactic as the world is already at one of the worst points of racial-religious division. Racial violence is on the up -- there has been a 75% rise in this type of violence this year in the UK alone.
As an optimist, I want to believe Trump’s wayward words were just a stunt to allure white votes, and the won’t do anything that damages the country, let alone the world.
Mahmud Wahid is a freelance contributor.