Thursday 19 January 2017

This nastiest of elections had me looking towards home, I'm glad it is all over now

Published 09/11/2016 | 02:30

'Y ou scumbag, you maggot you cheap lousy faggot" - just one of the iconic insults from Shane McGowan's haunting and epic elegy to this city, 'Fairytale of New York'. Abuses hurled during this Presidential campaign did not quite meet this level of scorching invective, but at times it wasn't far off.

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Election 2016 threw up a pair of characters all right, one uncontrollable, unpredictable and volatile, the other looking on with distaste, bewilderment and disgust.

Unlike McGowan's popular dirge, however, this campaign never strayed anywhere near poetry or prose.

Less 'Fairytale of New York', it was much more 'Nightmare on Elm Street'.

The level of name-calling and insults bandied between the two candidates at times fell somewhere between obscene and offensive. It meant that policy took a back seat. Always.

Yesterday, as voting finally concluded, the critical path to 270 electoral votes moved centre stage.

Poll predicting went into overdrive, as spin-doctors and seasoned reporters and party hacks took to the airwaves to argue over swing states, spoiled votes and trading more information and insults than they did during the campaign.

Excuse me while I stab myself in the forehead with my very own "Make America Great Again' Trump campaign pencil.

By 7am yesterday in midtown Manhattan, queues snaked around blocks quiet and patient, but you could tell many New Yorkers were chomping at the bit to draw a line under this extremely nasty political soap opera.

Nestled between Tiffany's and Gucci's on 5th Avenue - Trump Tower mothership of the blingtastic billionaire provided a backdrop for international media crews who stood along members of the NYPD in the crisp morning cold.

In Chappaqua, Hillary Clinton cast her vote with husband Bill Clinton at a school near their home in a relatively low key affair.

Donald Trump on the other hand in keeping with his penchant for high drama ensured that 5th Avenue was shut down.

Foot traffic and waiting media were herded back down the street to allow his cavalcade down the most famous avenue in the world to cast his vote in polling station 59.

Inside, topless protesters were removed before his arrival, presumably because he finds exposed breasts offensive. I doubt it. "Who did you vote for?" questioned a journalist as he cast his ballot. "Tough decision" replied Donald. Outside, people booed.

After voting, anxious election watchers gathered at events throughout the city to look at early returns. Virginia, Georgia, Ohio, North Caroline, New Hampshire and Florida were watched for early clues to how the night might unfold.

By the time you are reading this, all those questions will be answered.

For those of us based in New York last evening, I can tell you only of a night where news hungry hacks flitted between the two heavyweights like a children trying to decide which of their rowing parents they would spend Christmas with.

On the banks of the Hudson, Hillary Rodham Clinton hosted her final rally at the Jacob K Javits Convention Centre in New York.

Event organisers must have wet themselves with excitement when they learned of such a venue right here in New York, with a glass roof.

Having spent the early stages of this Presidential campaign promising to finally break through the metaphorical glass barrier, it was the perfect arena for the First Female President's celebration.

However, even plans for a majestic firework display over the Manhattan skyline hung in the air when the NYPD chief of intelligence told a city press conference the Clinton crew had no permit for pyrotechnics.

Maybe the showstopping finale will be Hillary being catapulted through the glass ceiling.

Meanwhile down on 5th Avenue in Trump Towers, an election night closing party hosted by arguably the most controversial presidential candidate of all time was taking place.

A big, brash, orange man returned to his native city for his final event.

Complete with shoulder pads that would not look out of place in the 1980s soap opera 'Dynasty', and hair that appeared as though it may have been salvaged from a smouldering mattress, he thanked those who had supported him throughout.

Trump's complaints about the press continued. Ironic in the extreme, given that it was largely the American press who at the earliest stages of his campaign gave him so much oxygen and popular support.

While mocking his audacity, the media unwittingly gave him traction far beyond what any misogynistic racist deserves, and in doing so created an uncontrollable beast that would feed on the very scorn levelled at him.

Now he no longer needs them. And for the most part the media here despise him and use any opportunity they can to tell you so. He is what he is and promises to be nothing more - political Ronseal. He is no holy roller, this is one bad hombre.

This historic presidential election campaign was billed by some observers as the greatest reality TV show of all time.

This was far worse than any reality TV show. It is reality. A reality with potentially deadly consequences.

The US Presidential Election 2016 have would have been funny were it not so serious. Americans are hoping the campaign was the storm before the calm. In the closing days of this campaign, Hillary Clinton tried to assuage voters she would endeavour to represent everyone. But one can't help thinking that no matter what the outcome is today more turbulent times lie ahead.

Last night inside the Javits Convention Centre on the banks of the Hudson River thousands of Clinton supporters gathered to watch the results roll in.

Based on early tallies, exit polls and results in key states, speaker after speaker declared that Hillary was well on her way to victory.

For the thousands of adoring supporters inside the convention centre and thousands more outside, it would be a few more hours before they knew if this would be the night when the glass ceiling would be shattered for once and for all.

in New York

Irish Independent

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