Kofo Braithwaite explores the deeper implications of Donald Trump’s election.
Millions of Americans, and the majority of them it would seem, gathered at the polling stations on Wednesday 8th November with the hope Hillary Clinton would become their new commander-in-chief. But alas, it was not to be, and despite a lower percentage of the popular vote, Donald J Trump is the president-elect, having gained six electoral college votes more than the 270 needed to become leader of the free world.
A ‘wild ride’ was the phrase used by Mrs Clinton’s running mate, Senator Tim Kaine, to typify this unconventional election, and it was a wild ride indeed. Donald Trump. The outsider. The man that pollsters gave a 1% chance of winning in the early days of this election. The man that has been called almost every name under the sun: racist, sexist, misogynist, liar, rapist, evil, mad, dangerous. Despite all of this, despite mainstream media strongly against him, despite the cases of sexual assault against him, despite the unprecedented, and a lot of the time offensive, rhetoric used by him, he somehow took home the trophy, again proving the majority of polls wrong.
I do have my misgivings about The Donald, but I’m not going to sit here and write about whether I think Donald Trump is racist or dangerous, I’m not going to sit here and write about whether he should have been allowed to run in the first place, because there is a much more important story here, in my opinion. Donald Trump is not an anomaly, and it is far from surprising that he did win this election. Donald Trump is not just a man, but an idea, an idea that has been gaining massive support all across the globe.
Mr Trump’s election is part of the tide of intolerance sweeping the globe. People are sick and tired of the status quo, tired of politicians and the institutions they represent, tired of experts, tired of the establishment. It is now very fashionable to be patriotic, and it seems people do want their countries back. They want strong leaders who will put their country first no matter what. It shows that people are scared of globalisation, they want the return of nation states, sovereign states. We’ve seen this in Britain with the vote to leave the EU, in France with Marine Le Pen and the Front National gaining a lot more support, and now we have seen it in America through Trump.
So what does the future hold? It seems as if we are regressing, going back to the days of isolationism, redoing all our efforts to create a global network, where countries can interact and trade freely with each other. Brexit has happened, and now there are calls for referendums in France, Germany, Greece, and more member states.
Does this mark the end of globalisation? I can’t say for certain, but what I can say is there is definitely a new world order on the horizon, the global political climate is being shaken up, and now the decision lies with us whether we want to pursue this.