Trump’s trump card – the blue col­lars

Jamaica Gleaner - - IN FOCUS - Ed­ward Seaga is a for­mer prime min­is­ter

VOT­ERS IN the Amer­i­can pres­i­den­tial elec­tion of Novem­ber 8 were trumped by the bil­lion­aire, Don­ald Trump.

The elec­tion fea­tured an al­most cease­less stream of vile ac­cu­sa­tions on both sides, ac­cus­ing Trump of mas­sive tax avoid­ance over two decades and al­leged sex­ual abuse publicly dis­closed by ag­grieved women, among other in­ci­dents.

Hil­lary Clin­ton was ahead in the elec­toral race from early and in com­fort­able con­trol un­til she was con­fronted by the FBI with ac­cu­sa­tions of us­ing her per­sonal server to process gov­ern­ment emails, pos­si­bly in­clud­ing topse­cret gov­ern­ment cor­re­spon­dence. Ex­pos­ing se­cret cor­re­spon­dence was a crim­i­nal of­fence if proven.

She was even­tu­ally vin­di­cated on the eve of elec­tion day by the FBI, leav­ing no time to suf­fi­ciently ad­vise the pub­lic who went to the polls with the mis­taken im­pres­sion that she faced crim­i­nal charges as Trump po­lit­i­cally main­tained.

He won the vote of the Elec­toral Col­lege, 298 to 228; the pop­u­lar vote was nar­rowly won by Clin­ton.

Who is Don­ald Trump? One of the moguls of the real-es­tate world in Amer­ica own­ing sev­eral mon­u­men­tal build­ings ac­com­mo­dat­ing his high-rise of­fices and apart­ment build­ings, casi­nos and ho­tels. In ad­di­tion, he owns many golf cour­ses, all of which en­ti­tled him to en­joy the sta­tus of bil­lion­aire with­out dis­clos­ing the size of his for­tune.

But there is an­other side to this man who was widely con­sid­ered to be un­fit for the po­si­tion of pres­i­dent of the United States.

His cam­paign was laced with provoca­tive, crude, in­ept speeches that caused great con­cern as to how as the Amer­i­can pres­i­dent he would com­pare with the sea­soned political lead­ers of the world. This could bring shame to the USA.

Psy­cho­log­i­cally, he was a nar­cis­sist, which gave cre­dence to the con­cern that he would not be able to tol­er­ate the ad­vis­ers around him.

But there is more to this man who broke sev­eral glass ceil­ings in his cam­paign­ing:

He fiercely ac­cused the me­dia, in gen­eral, of be­ing bi­ased;

When he re­alised that he was los­ing, he charged that the elec­tion was rigged;

The Repub­li­can Party lead­er­ship was in­sulted openly by him when he was chal­lenged about his rau­cous con­duct and wild strat­egy; even his col­leagues who par­tic­i­pated with him in the de­bate had to leave un­der his

dam­ag­ing shame­ful and dis­re­spect­ful ref­er­ences to them;

He threat­ened to boy­cott his party and cam­paign on his own, which he did;

His view of Washington was that it was the roost of in­ept, self-serv­ing politi­cians, not in­ter­ested in the peo­ple they served;

Wall Street did not escape his caus­tic com­ments, nor did he spare for­eign lead­ers and coun­tries;

Women were abused in lan­guage us­ing the most vul­gar terms;

But he saved the worst for his op­po­nent, Hil­lary Clin­ton who in the run­down to the elec­tion he dis­re­spect­fully re­ferred to in vir­tu­ally ev­ery speech as “cor­rupt” and hav­ing a 30 years of un­suc­cess­ful per­for­mance in pol­i­tics; Trump is per­ceived as a racist for his in­sis­tence that Pres­i­dent Barack Obama was not an Amer­i­can, and other racial re­marks. The state­ment by the Ku Klux Klan that they were sup­port­ing him, which he re­jected, ex­posed him to the racial di­vide which will need his full at­ten­tion;

Im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy would deal only with doc­u­mented per­sons. This could res­ur­rect “Amer­ica for Amer­i­cans”as a pop­u­lar pol­icy af­ter de­port­ing 11 mil­lion un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants in the US;

And char­ac­ter­is­tic of his style, he would “bomb the s**t out of ISIS”, which could cre­ate more civil­ian deaths than in the ISIS mil­i­tary forces;

But still, he was elected with a solid ma­jor­ity. Why?


The cen­tral fea­ture of this cam­paign was that Don­ald Trump cre­ated a bluecol­lar coali­tion move­ment in­volv­ing work­ers from the con­struc­tion in­dus­tries, fac­to­ries, wharfs and their coun­ter­parts on farms, trades­men, cler­i­cal and mid­dle-level work­ers, among oth­ers, who are fed up with Washington mak­ing pacts with for­eign coun­tries that busi­ness favoured and work­ers lost their jobs. He was “mak­ing Amer­ica great again”, he ex­tolled.

Trump’s prom­ise to re­view Oba­macare, the national health sys­tem, to spare the peo­ple from its grow­ing costs that would make health care more ex­pen­sive. This was hailed na­tion­ally. His commitment to sub­stan­tially in­crease the min­i­mum wage was an­other sig­nal to the blue-col­lar move­ment that he cared.

Notwith­stand­ing these pos­i­tive poli­cies, Amer­i­cans feared putting the abil­ity to set off a nuclear war by this wild­card pres­i­dent.

Anti-Trump protests have now been staged by small and large crowds in many cities and fires set in many forests. They were giv­ing no­tice that his provoca­tive and abu­sive ac­tions would not be tol­er­ated. Later, Trump sup­port­ers ar­rived. All these were ar­eas of the national di­vide that he has promised to heal as he dis­played a new Trump who would be more com­pli­ant; but only time will tell.

Trump’s hard hats are also go­ing to be in­sis­tent on Amer­ica lim­it­ing for­eign mil­i­tary in­volve­ments which they con­sider do not in­volve the United States. This could rad­i­cally al­ter the bound­aries of na­tions fight­ing op­pres­sion in the world with­out Amer­i­can back­ing.

Still to come is per­haps the most danger­ous ini­tia­tive. The new Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is likely to im­pose a 35% duty on im­ports hav­ing Amer­i­can con­tent to dis­suade Amer­i­can busi­ness from hav­ing their goods pro­duced over­seas. In to­day’s trade, that could be a se­vere blow to for­eign economies, such as China’s.

It ap­pears to be un­known that this is what caused the Great De­pres­sion of 1929.

Such a pol­icy could cause un­told dis­tress for Amer­i­cans at home and abroad as the economies of for­eign coun­tries would ex­pe­ri­ence creep­ing col­lapse from a dys­func­tional Amer­i­can econ­omy.

Trump will have to learn the diplo­matic art of com­pro­mise for his ad­min­is­tra­tion to be strong enough to heal his di­vided na­tion and to main­tain peace and global sta­bil­ity. He will need a lot of guid­ance, which the new Trump would have to learn where the old Trump failed.

If his blue-col­lar move­ment is to sur­vive as a crit­i­cal new voice po­lit­i­cally, they, too, would have to learn to com­pro­mise, lest they be­come just more of the cat­e­gory of those who are al­ready known as ‘ugly Amer­i­cans’.

In their hands rests the future of the globe and bal­ance of power.


Trump sup­porter Grant Bynum raises his hands af­ter hear­ing the news Don­ald Trump won Ohio in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion dur­ing a Dal­las County Repub­li­can watch party at the Westin Dal­las Park Cen­tral ho­tel in Dal­las, Texas, on Tues­day, Novem­ber 8.


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