The election of the 70-year old Donald John Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America on Wednesday has been shock-inducing for much of the world, and for many Americans, who were pla
The election of the 70-year old Donald John Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America on Wednesday has been shock-inducing for much of the world, and for many Americans, who were plainly insulted by the new lows of incivility the President-elect displayed through his campaign.
He was frequently, racist, bigoted and vulgar, especially about women. He often spoke with indescribable crudeness. A prominent US columnist, who is no fan of Hillary Clinton’s, has called Mr Trump’s campaign speeches “a Niagara of mendacities”.
And yet, the rampaging victory of a man who had lost all the three presidential debates, had been written off by pollsters and the media, and who, according to 61 per cent of those surveyed in exit polls, did not possess the qualities for a President, must tell us something.
The Republican candidate capitalised on forging connections with a large swathe of America displaced by changes in the US economy, and new technologies in the production process. This was white working class America of the rust belt, rural America and a section of the white middle class. The winning campaign thus had an anti-immigrant and protectionist thrust. Mr Trump said free trade had caused economic expansion for others but pain for America, where only the financial elites had gained from globalisation, a line of argument put forward by some liberal US economists but rejected by Democrats and Republicans alike.
If Mr Trump sets about following through on his poll promises, it could mean putting Ms Clinton in jail and take away media freedoms. But can he In his acceptance speech, Mr Trump sounded somewhat presidential. He praised Ms Clinton for the services she had rendered America. He promised to speak for all Americans. He promised to deal “fairly” with all countries.
This is a good beginning. But the best that can be said for now is that the future is uncertain, although it is likely that the President-elect will moderate some of his election-time stances as he receives institutional briefings by different departments of the US government, and others.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done well to get in touch with Mr Trump right away in the expectation of making India-US cooperation grow more vibrant. Of course, the new US leader, whose term will commence on January 20 next year, has to take a calm call on his level of engagement in international affairs.
A new international dynamic will be inaugurated if the US limits its political and military interest in Europe, West Asia, Russia, China, India and the Far East, and pulls troops out of Germany and Japan and let Japan and South Korea go nuclear. But we are jumping the gun.