TRUMP WON - What happened?

Wayne Chamley

Former scientist, senior public servant with long-standing and broad interest in public policy issues.

Frankly I was amazed by most of the comment from media, academics and even past political leaders (Rudd, Carr, Beasley, Howard, Keating) in regard to the outcome of the recent presidential US election and the possible implications for our Australia. For me much of it lacked depth and it was very narrowly focused, with few insights about much of America, its extraordinary diversity and its extraordinary people. Many of the personal views espoused were seldom based upon available facts and analysis.

Instead viewers and listeners were given opinions and these were then re-cycled, over and over. I must declare that I expected the Clinton campaign to win, although I was sure that it would be very close.

In my view everything changed for each of the candidates after the second debate. Essentially all of the bile, grunt and negativity was now expended and three things happened.

  • Paul Ryan, Congressman and speaker separated from Mr Trump
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) made a very late and in-opportune (for Mrs Clinton) announcement of its considering another investigation of  Mrs Clinton’s emails.
  • Numbers of Democrat supporters, who had supported the campaign aspirations of Mr Bernie Sanders, became aware of Mrs Clinton’s secret fund-rasing briefings to Wall Street bankers and finance company executives for a small sum $600,000 per event! These voters and expected supporters deserted her.

 

By the time the democrat campaign reached voting day, Hilary Clinton was never going to win under the US voting system.

People should look at the voting numbers. Votes cast in the last three Presidential elections indicate that Mr Trump attracted fewer votes than either of the Republican candidates who ran against Barak Obama, and Mrs Clinton attracted 6 million votes less than Mr Obama in his second campaign. 

As is the situation in this country, Americans are divided and many are totally fed up with the adversarial behaviour of elected representatives. For most, wages having been flat for almost twenty years and they see few opportunities for their children, outside of military service.

Beyond the shadow of the Presidential campaign activities, the political parties really worked the turf over the possibility for majority control of either the Congress and/or the Senate, because each detected a weak possibility of a chance that the Democratic Party could pick up extra congressional representation. The FBI announcement was the clincher. I challenge that this had any real and direct impact upon the Mrs Clinton’s campaign. Instead it consolidated the thinking of those who were yet to vote about the next Congress and Senate. With Mrs Clinton in the Whitehouse, political paralysis would continue while with Mr Trump in the Whitehouse, the deadlock on many issues would disappear. For so many, this was the overarching matter in need of resolution.

For so many, this is what they want. They want their government to focus primarily upon domestic issues.  They want to have the opportunity to work; they wish to get off welfare - millions of them; they want better school education; they want secure borders; they want their nation to be the most powerful military deterrent and they want their nation to keep out of disastrous and costly wars. In the spray of random statements made, the Trump campaign did put out these messages although often they were poorly articulated.

The American people and the rest of the world must now wait for the Trump Presidency to commence. As with any change of a government and an administration within a democracy, there will be winners and losers. Already some signals are being given in regard to a focus upon the US domestic economy, a different role and presence in the Asia-Pacific region and a pragmatic approach towards trade and multi-lateral defence arrangements. Politics is always the art of the possible and Mr Trump will be in a very strong position to introduce highly technical and far reaching legislation in to enable him to “make America great again”.


This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of The Policy Space.

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