- A 2000 mile wall across the Mexican border, paid for by Mexico
- A ban on all Muslims entering the United States
- Abolishing the Affordable Health Act – dubbed ‘Obamacare’
- Bombing ‘the hell’ out of ISIS
- Repealing pro-LGBT legislation – permitting anti-LGBT discrimination on religious grounds, supporting local anti-transgender laws
As of November 8th 2016, it is official. Donald J Trump has been confirmed as President Elect of the United States of America, at the climax of what has been undoubtedly one of the closest, most controversial, media-covered and down right weirdest of elections in modern US history.
Many Americans are rejoicing, and many are heartbroken – even turning to protesting the result in city streets across the nation. Unless you have been living under some kind of rock for what seems like the last million years, you’ll know why. But for the purpose of completeness, and also as a gentle reminder of the magnitude of the shit storm that the US has coming to it, listed above are a number of the policies which Trumpy has declared at one point or another which have cemented his controversial status.
However, I really do feel that the core issue has been overlooked by the US media. Consider this sentence:
The people of the United States of America have voted for Donald Trump to be their next President.
Understandably, what everybody is focusing on is the latter point, that Trump will be President. In lieu of his policies, I can completely understand why.
However, I feel like Trump’s success is more of a symptom than the problem. The core issue is the first part of the sentence – the people have voted him in. It’s very easy to forget that the system is not top-down, it’s bottom-up. Sure, the endless rallies and campaigning will have ignited sparks which were clearly inside millions of Americans. But the point is that the sparks were already there.
Americans are clearly unhappy with many aspects of their country. The media, the style of politics, immigration, terrorist threats… and so on and so forth. These grievances are already there, and would never have organically gone away. And for these particular Americans, Trump’s rhetoric and campaign style struck a chord.
It’s also important to point out that the power of the President is not absolute. There are still a multitude of political and constitutional hoops a president must leap through before even the slightest political change can be made. One could certainly argue that the the same barriers which capped Obama’s success will be the barriers which also put a lid on Trump’s tantrums.
Put simply, it is quite unlikely that much will change at all. The problem is that although not all of Trump’s policies will come to fruition, many Americans want them to. So what we need is a shift. A shift in education, a shift in views, a shift in priorities.
To those who are completely disheartened by Mrs Clinton’s defeat, I have this advice for you. Educate your peers. Discuss issues in the LGBT community, introduce your wonderful Muslim friends to Trump voters. Introduce any Trump supporters that you know to diversity, show them the benefits of increasing equality. Give them undeniable proof that, while Obama’s government may not have helped them directly, Obamacare helped pay for important treatments for your neighbour’s little girl. The Muslim doctor gave your best friend his diagnosis just in time. And there’s a gay couple who live on your elderly Mom’s street in Michigan who take it in turns to pop in to check on her with a bag of groceries twice a week.
Trump is not a problem. He is a symptom. If American values, education and priorities change to a better and more holistic way of thinking, the next time an election comes round, the ‘gut-instinct vote’ won’t be quite as devastating.