'His election is a remarkable achievement, not just for the man himself but for the common American man and woman'
Donald Trump did away with the nonsense and achieved the greatest political victory in decades
Published 09/11/2016 | 18:02
Like the weather beaten political anorak that I am, I watched every minute of CNN’s election night coverage, only flipping to BBC during the ad breaks, for some unbiased coverage.
Before a single result came in, we were reliably informed that America was about to get its first female President. The reason, at least according to CNN, was that the Republican Party was already on “the wrong side of history”, a phrase that always amuses me and in hindsight should have been my first clue that things may not go to CNN’s plan.
“The wrong side of history” is a vacuous mantra beloved of virtue signallers. However, when you blow away the pomposity, it’s essentially someone saying “I’m able to see into the future and everyone will agree with me”. It’s a way of avoiding debate, because in the end, there’s only one opinion that matters.
Last night Donald Trump did away with this nonsense and achieved the greatest political victory in decades. Instead of getting its first female President, America put the first man to have never served in public office or the military into the White House.
Trump may have had the greatest one-man publicity machine, but given how he was the target of relentless media attacks and the victim of a nasty campaign to highlight every misdemeanour in his private life, his election is a remarkable achievement, not just for the man himself but for the common American man and woman.
Trump didn’t do this alone.
He was ably assisted by a Democratic Party who contrived to put Hillary Clinton onto the ballot. Unlike Trump, most of the media ignored or down-played Clinton’s dubious past and gave cursory coverage to the revealing Wikileaks emails. I was genuinely astounded by the people who said that they supported Clinton, when it was all too obvious that she was a patently unsuitable candidate. Just how many moral hoops did people have to jump through to support this unelectable woman? Thankfully we have now been spared years of another Clinton impeachment distraction.
So what lies ahead for America and the World? Given Trump’s political doctrine, such as it is, the USA is likely to get its first proper attempt at immigration control. This is no bad thing and it’s long overdue. Time will tell whether it comes in concrete form, but as someone who subscribes to the idea of good fences making good neighbours, I have no issue with the deportation of anyone who is illegally in a country.
Trump’s other bête noire, international trade deals, will be harder to tackle, although I think we can say “au revoir” to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the E.U. This under-reported and highly dangerous deal, transferred far too much power from the accountable national governments to multi-national corporations.
Trump may also provide tax incentives for American companies to keep jobs at home. Lowering U.S. Corporation Tax levels from over 30% may hit F.D.I. into Ireland in the long-term but I suspect that China may be his first target.
Trump’s belief that Europe should pay its fair share for NATO and his budding “bromance” with Vladimir Putin will certainly ring alarm bells in Brussels and Berlin and cause disquiet in Eastern Europe. It may also hasten the introduction of an E.U. army and some countries may follow Lithuania’s lead in introducing conscription.
At home, the President-elect has committed to undoing “Obamacare”, the one tangible legacy of the outgoing regime. Trump may be helped in this by the spiralling costs of supporting the most expensive healthcare system in the World which have already caused widespread public disquiet. However, finding a better alternative will be a challenge.
Optimistic social conservatives are hoping that appointments to the Supreme Court will reverse America’s liberal abortion regime and or even the 2015 judgement that allowed same-sex marriage. However, given the age profile and apparent good health of the current Supreme Court, this optimism may be misplaced.
Anyone wanting tighter gun controls will have to work state by state, with little federal support. A lot more power may return to the states as Trump tries to undo Obama’s federal over-reaching.
Hopefully Trump will not face the Washington gridlock of recent years and he should be helped by a Republican Party which will not only hold the White House, but also the Senate and House of Representatives. One can only wonder what the Republicans could have achieved if they were not on “the wrong side of history”.