Ten Points To Understand American Verdict
Washington D.C.: Although every political observer worth his salt had predicted an easy win for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, it is not difficult to understand, with hindsight, the reasons that led to the debacle of her electoral effort. First of all, all media houses, including New York Times, Washington Post and the premier news channel CNN have to publicly acknowledge that they went wrong in their calculations and could not gauze the undercurrent that made the underdog the favourite.
Let us examine the reasons that have caused the defeat of a favoured candidate:
- The trust deficit that dogged Secretary Clinton remained unfilled till the end of the campaign. It had, if any, increased in the process because of the way she tried to hit Trump below the belt. She criticized Trump for his misconduct with women. One would have thought that the episode in which an audio record was played to show Trump as a womanizer would turn the women voters against him. Had that happened Hillary would have won hands down. Instead, 52 percent of the white women and 60 percent of white men reportedly voted for Trump. Why did the women vote for Trump despite his loose talk and offensive behavior? The women in the US seemed to be nursing a greater grievance against Hillary Clinton. Their complaint was that Hillary behaved in a way that is not commensurate with the American tradition. She was criticized when she excused her husband Bill Clinton’s sex scandal in 1999. The American women expected her to get separated since that is the way the average American women take pride in doing. In fact, Hillary’s assistant, Humar Abedin, whose husband was found sending sexual emails to young girls had divorced him. (The bulk of the emails was a subject of controversy which forced FBI Director Jamesh Comey to write to the Congress on October 28. He said that the agency has to examine the emails to see if the Democratic candidate is in any way connected with them. Two days before the polls, however, Comey had declared that there was nothing against Clinton in the emails). But Hillary chose to continue to live with Bill Clinton solely because of her ambition to become president. Bill Clinton remained popular in public esteem even after his extramarital affairs. She wanted to make use of her husband’s popularity, strategic skills and connections with corporate houses in her battle for presidency. Her decision to use personal server as Secretary of State for emails caused grievous wound to her image. She openly apologized to the people of America. But she was not evidently forgotten.
- The people of America elected a party for the third term in a row only once in the last 70 years after the second world war. They were, perhaps, against giving a third term for the Democratic party despite a supposedly good record of President Obama’s eight years in office and his public and deliberate endorsement of Hillary’s candidature.
- Like Obama’s ‘Yes We Can’, Trump repeated only one slogan throughout his campaign. That was ‘making America great again’. In contrast, Hillary gave more than 80 slogans without focusing on any one of them. She promised to continue the legacy of Obama but there was nothing inspiring in her basket. It would have been more of the same had she been elected. But Trump has been different from the word go in his attitude and articulation. While Hillary wanted to be everything to everybody, Trump was at his candid best when he spoke of his apprehensions about Muslims, Mexicans and Indians. Though as the Democratic party’s candidate, Hillary was suppose to address the concerns of the workers and unemployed, she did not do so. Trump, on the other hand, connected well with the workers in the Midwest although he is part of the elite living in a penthouse on Trump Towers in New York, being a born billionaire.
- Donald Trump was straight and specific in his expression. He did not try to be goody goody. He was blunt and outspoken. He was reportedly behaving entirely against the advice giving by his campaign managers when he declared that he would get a wall built between the US and Mexico. Even his tirade against the family of a Muslim soldier in the American army was not something to be carried out by a presidential candidate. But Trump was speaking straight from his heart with care abandon. That was appreciated by the people compared to the calibrated way of Hillary Clinton’s expressions.
- During the three presidential debates, Trump was agreeing with Clinton and nodding in approval when she made a good point. But Clinton never appreciated a point made by Trump. Though the viewers of the debates, whose response was solicited, gave more marks to Clinton, the general voters appeared to have sympathized with Trump. Clinton’s scathing attack on Trump for avoiding payment of taxes did not go well with the people. Trump said he is the cleverest man in the country since he was avoiding paying taxes taking advantage of the provisions in US tax laws. He did not violate any law. He declared insolvent thrice only according to law. Clinton’s indictment of Trump on this score did not meet with popular approval.
- Hillary Clinton had a large team of advisors. But they seemed to have failed to notice the pent up anger with which the workers, unemployed and underemployed were seething. She spent about 600 million dollars on her campaign as against about 300 million dollars by the Republican candidate. The size of the team and the amount of money spent on the campaign did not matter. Her experience of living in White House for eight years and working as Secretary of State for four years did not make any difference. While Clinton was in politics for more than thirty years, Donald Trump is new to politics. Within months of entering political arena, he is walking into the While House. It is the theme, not funds, that is important to win elections.
- The Americans deliberately missed a chance to create history again. They made history first when they elected an African-American, Barak Obama, as president. They were on the verge of creating history again. Had they vote for Hillary Clinton they would have made history for the second time. Another woman politician would take a long time to come up to Clinton’s level and get nominated as a candidate of either Democratic party or Republican party.
- There is a clear anti-incumbency, anti-establishment and anti-Democratic party wave. The Tuesday verdict is against Obama as much as it is against Clinton. The popular mood was not discernible and the media too missed it. The people were not only against the establishment, they also appeared to be against the established mainstream media. All the Democratic party bigwigs were with Clinton. Money bags were with her. Even the top leaders in the Republican party disowned their party candidate. Clinton was speaking on issues with authority and fair of a president. Trump was found wanting many a time when a foreign policy issue came up in the debate. But the people had decided to vote for the underdog.
- Trump was heard supporting Putin, the Russian president, as against President Obama. He was accused of hacking the computers in the Democratic campaing offices with the help of Russian government. Clinton said Trump had business interests in Russia. As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton had strained relations with Putin. Trump promised to take Russia and China along with him. He criticized the Obama government for spending billions of rupees on fighting somebody else’s wars. He faulted the role played by the US in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya at the cost of American exchequer.
- Trump was unequivocal when it came to war against terrorism. He would go all out in the fight against terrorism. India would be a partner in the fight against terror. There is nothing for India to fear. He may have some reservations about H1B visas. But he will not be taking decisions in isolation. For that matter, this kind of decisions are influence more by the industry than the government. It is part of the right-wing wave that has been sweeping the world starting with the Narendra Modi led BJP marching to power in India. It moved on to Britain forcing Britain to walkout from European Union. Then some European countries had rightist parties forming governments. This trend was visible in Latin American countries as well. The circle is now complete with Trump’s triumph. Indian-Americans are looking forward to a meeting between Donald Trump and Narendra Modi.