I think we all woke up on the 9th of November either with a monster hangover from watching the events unfold and taking a shot whenever someone said “projection”, or woke up with the naïve expectation that the seeming inevitable of Hillary’s election would happen. I was in the latter group and when I found out the true result I went through the standard stages of emotions. First I laughed (somewhat in fear) as the culmination of 1 and a half years of campaigning had resulted in what most in the world didn’t want. Someone who is the personification of a spanner thrown in an engine at a budget mechanic actually winning the presidential election. Then I thought that for all the names and accusations thrown at Trump in the campaign, he had succeeded in winning the shiniest circular office on the planet. It is clear that the Clinton Campaign was doing something wrong, as is now displayed by the world gasping in shock as if it was the coming of the orange apocalypse (although sadly not the series finale of the Only Way is Essex). The Clinton campaign made one fatal mistake, they focused on character and not policy.
I will be honest when I say that both Clinton and Trump would go in my “basket of deplorables” as each has done irredeemable things in their lives. Trump with his highly misogynistic views on women, the accusations of sexual assault and his overall attitude to all that would seem contrary to his perspective. Then we have Clinton, with her close connections to Wall Street, her Qatari 1 million dollar “donation”, anything to do with the Clinton Foundation and her private email server. Each of these features would seem like a final nail in the coffin. However, both of the candidates had these issues raised when it was politically beneficial. The sexual assault accusations made against Trump were only raised once he became a real prospect for President, in the same way as Clinton’s emails having come under 16 months worth of investigations by the request of the Republican controlled Congress. The issues that each candidate has, makes both of them unelectable to me on their own. In a battle of personality, both would be in deadlock. Both candidates are unpopular, so nothing can be gained with any further smear campaigns. The issue is, that was exactly what the Democrats did.
Like the future colour of the white house, Trump painted a future of gold. His speeches spoke to the disenfranchised in the United States, particularly with voters from the working class. A true populist politician, he painted a brighter future that would put the interests of his electorate at the heart of policy. It is now clear that his seemingly extreme rhetoric spoke to people more than what the Democrats offered. To me this election didn’t show the political skill of Trump and the Republicans, it showed me how lacklustre the opposition was.
The Democrats never seemed to offer more than the “least worst” approach to politics. In a year of political and social troubles, particularly the United States, the idea of “more of the same” was not appealing to voters. The Democratic Party stuck to their guns of maintaining all that President Obama put in place. However in the process they alienated the far left by side-lining Senator Sanders (some say even rigging the primaries against him as seen in the Podesta emails), alienated the general left for not seeking to improve what was built by the previous democratic president, and provided no incentive for those who supported Trump to change sides. Such as a stricter immigration policy for example.
The Democrats solely focused on condemning Trump. I agree that what this man has done is despicable and irredeemable. In any sane election, Trump would have been kicked out long ago. However no one is denying that Hillary has done some highly questionable things in her time in office. Both candidates are neither redeemable nor ethical. In a race that some say was Hillarys to lose, if she had just stopped scare mongering and promised something more positive, then people might have gotten behind her.
What follows the election of Donald Trump is still an enigma. I simply hope that his worst critics are wrong, just for as long as it takes to build a nuclear shelter. Till then I say good luck, and god save the United States.