Shock as Trump is elected US President. What can we expect in his presidency?
As the Rolling Stones’ song “You can’t always get what you want” is playing on the stage, the new president-elect of the US, Donald Trump, is congratulated for his unexpected victory. The 9 November begins a new chapter for the American people, one that might be potentially damaging.
A man who ran a nationalist campaign based on anti-immigration policies and against global trade, defeated Hillary Clinton. A celebrity TV star, business tycoon and “homegrown authoritarian”, as Obama put it, is now the president-elect of the US. No one else has been compared so many times to Hitler or Mussolini, but his fascist image and ideas reek more of the Italian Il Duce’s authoritarian language. As Trump once said: “I alone can fix this.”
Trump’s promise for change is ridden with racial hatred
But, as the Stones’ song says, “you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometime you find, you get what you need.” Maybe, the American people voted for what they need, and that is change, only that such a change will take America backwards and will come at a dear cost. The white male American who feels aversion towards diversity and is anxious about his racial status voted to “make America great again”, as Trump’s slogan promised.
But, how, “an unstable bigot, sexual predator and compulsive liar”, as Jonathan Freedland described Trump in today’s The Guardian, will deliver this change is unknown and dangerous.
US and international response
The New Yorker is calling the result “An American Tragedy.” The New York Times refers to “Trump Triumphs: Shocking Upset as Outsider Harnesses Voters’ Discontent.” The New York Post is also stunned as it reports that “Donald Trump sweeps to victory in historic upset.” The Daily News’s front page reads “House of Horrors: Trump seizes Divided States of America.” The unexpected news has also caused international responses such as this from the Catalan El Periodico: “God forgive America.” The chairman of the Nobel Foundation board of directors, Carl-Henrik Heldin, was “depressed.” He foresees “a movement towards right-wing populism and isolationism and anti-intellectualism. We move away from logical thinking and rationalism towards a very uncertain direction.” But there were others who welcomed the result. Brexiteer and UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson, tweeted “Congratulations to Donald Trump and much looking forward to working with his administration on global stability and prosperity.” I think the two of them will make a productive duo in spreading discord around the world.
Americans trying to escape Trumpland
Canada immigration website crashed overnight with people seeking to immigrate to Canada. And Google Trends showed searches for “moved to Canada” increased during the night as news of Trump’s victory was unfolding. Singer Marcio Novelli wrote: “Canada is the second largest country in the world with one-tenth of America’s population. We’ve got room.”
Protesters against Trump
The news of Trump being the president-elect has sent protesters against Trump in the streets of the US, with marches in Oakland, Los Angeles, Portland and New York City. At the University of California and Columbia University hundreds of students took to the streets expressing their anger against Trump.
What’s going to happen now?: Implications of Trump’s policies
There is a lot of uncertainty. Trump’s lack of political experience, his volatile character and disdain for international trade are good reasons to make everyone, from citizens to businesses and world economies, uncertain.
As Eduardo Porter wrote yesterday in the New York Times:
Consider the challenges ahead for the nation. The new administration will face rampant inequality and persistent poverty, decaying infrastructure, and mediocre and segregated public education. It will have to deal with one of the most expensive, least effective health care systems in the industrialized world. And one way or another, it will have to address climate change.
• Little economic confidence: Individuals and businesses will avoid spending money and investing since uncertainty will weigh on their future plans.
• Hostility towards trade: Trump opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership and possibly will impose tariffs on foreign-made products sold in the US as high as 35% or 45%, creating uncertainty for firms to invest in the US. His clothing collection by the way is made in China and Mexico, but he has promised to move his collection to the US.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with 11 Asian countries is considered by Trump a “horrible” deal because China, Trump claims, is taking advantage of the US. But as it has been pointed out before, China isn’t part of the TPP. While he is taking advantage of global free trade he is promising to restrict it in order to keep jobs in the US.
• Cut corporation taxes by $2.6tr: This will make the wealthy wealthier. As the newspaper Politico shows, “While the top 1 percent would receive an average tax cut of $215,000, the top 0.1 percent would pocket an additional $1.1 million.” Trump’s tax plans “would balloon the debt by $7.2 trillion” and would hurt growth in the long term.
• Healthcare: no support for government health insurance. He has said he will repeal and replace Obamacare. The Commonwealth Fund analysis says that his proposal will leave 25 million people without insurance. The Fund also found that “Trump’s ACA repeal and replacement options would make insurance coverage in the individual market more expensive on average, with some proposals resulting in low- and moderate-income families paying more than higher-income people.”
• Climate change: Trump doesn’t believe in the scientific evidence that climate change is real and has said that he will withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement. Back in 2012, he tweeted: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” The US will miss out on economic opportunities if it doesn’t change into clean energy. International climate campaigner Mohamed Adow said: “Last year’s Paris Agreement showed the world was united in its concern about climate change and its commitment to decarbonising the global economy. The rest of the world will not risk a global climate catastrophe because of one man’s opposition.” America is the second largest polluter in the world and responsible for 13% of the world’s emissions. Trump will jeopardise efforts to curb climate change and will “make America a global laughing stock and embarrassment”, national political director of the US environmental group Sierra Club, Khalid Pitts said.
• Racism: From building the US-Mexico wall and deporting immigrants, this will destroy international relations and will affect the economy. Enforcing the current immigration law will cost the federal government $400nb-$600bn. The labour force will shrink by millions of workers and this will slow down the economy. Building a wall will cost as much as $10bn or $12bn, but he has said that Mexico will pay for it because it is “taking our business.” Mexico isn’t willing to pay for the wall and it remains to be seen how Trump will tackle this.
• Poverty and income inequality: won’t be high (or at all) on Trump’s agenda. Trump’s plans will increase inequality by making the rich richer. But he hasn’t provided any direct position on poverty and inequality. He seems to want to produce new jobs and higher wages “and let the problems of high poverty and lack of economic mobility take care of themselves.”
Trump is our clown for a new generation of American politics. If such an image is disturbing to you, and you feel increasingly worried that this man is a “dangerous sociopath”, then you can rest assured that you are still a human being with a conscience.