Donald Trump is headed for the White House and for the second time in a matter of months the world is reeling from a vote that no-one expected. Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election is all the more cataclysmic because it is a result that was so unexpected. Admittedly the pollsters had been saying that the gap between Hillary Clinton and Trump was a narrow one, but few doubted that Clinton would carry the day. As the results emerged on Tuesday evening, and it became clear that Trump was set to pull off a staggering victory, there was a sharp intake of breath across the world.
Interestingly, in the final days leading up to the election, Trump predicted that everyone had it wrong and that he was set to pull off a “Brexit” style victory. According to the BBC, there are many parallels to be drawn between Brexit and Trump’s victory. The reality seems to be that Trump has successfully tapped into an anti-establishment feeling among the millions of people, on both sides of the Atlantic, who feel that they have been failed by the system.
In the run up to both the Brexit vote and Trump’s election victory, both sides blasted the other with claims of lies and by stoking fear as to what would happen if you didn’t vote the way the establishment wanted you too. Many of those who voted for Brexit regretted their decision saying that they wanted to give the government “a bloody nose” rather than actually quit the European Union. Sadly, Trump also learned from the Brexit vote that, stoking fears over immigration was a sure-fire vote winner.
Since it became clear that Donald Trump was to be the 45th U.S. president there has been an outbreak of “voters regret” sweeping the nation. CBS News reports that thousands have taken to the streets across the nation in a wave of anti-Trump sentiment. Some of the anti-Trump protests erupted into violence.
Film Director and activist Michael Moore had predicted a Trump victory and was present at a Trump demonstration in New York when he told CBS that “an archaic system” had allowed Trump to become the president-elect.
One protester told CBS that Trump’s election victory is “an affront to democracy,” because Trump is “a racist, homophobic, xenophobic, misogynist nightmare. Others claimed Trump represented “the white supremacist, imperialist, capitalist state.”
The Independent reports that YouTube personality Adam Saleh captured the mood of many Muslim Americans when he shared a video of his five-year-old niece crying when she learned that Trump had won the election. Whilst Trump is unlikely to actually build a wall along the entire length of the U.S. border with Mexico, or to stop Muslims entering America, his rhetoric has caused deep concerns for many. It was the very same rhetoric that led people in the UK to vote for Brexit, and the disbelief that the British people had voted for the unthinkable is something else that Trump and Brexit share.
During Trump’s campaign, many predicted financial meltdown if Trump were successful. Admittedly the Brexit vote and Trump’s win both resulted in stock market crashes across the world, but there are already signs of a market rebound. The London Stock Exchange has already recovered the losses it endured when Trump’s victory was clear.
Whilst Trump’s win has shocked many the BBC point out that things are rarely as bad as you fear they might be, and they offer a post-Trump survivors guide suggesting a list of things to help you to overcome the sense of shock. They suggest that focussing on your family, traveling and making a conscious effort to understand why people voted for Trump will help.
Few would doubt that Donald Trump is a deeply flawed character and something of an egotist, but Trump is hardly the first flawed personality to succeed in politics. Trump may have absolutely no experience of holding public office but the U.S., like any representative democracy, has checks and balances in place to ensure that the president does not exceed his powers.
Trump may be a political novice, but he has congress to hold him in check. Barack Obama held a majority in both houses for the first two years of his presidency. That soon changed when the American people grew concerned about some of his policies. Does anyone really doubt that the machinery of state will be unable to bring Trump to heel if it needs to?
People in the U.S. will soon learn that the sun will rise every day, even with Trump in the White House.
[Featured Image by Ted S. Warren/AP Images]