So near and yet so far
waiting with bated breath if he would carry out this threat upon taking office in January.
The 2016 election also saw the most vigorous campaign by an incumbent outgoing president for his party’s candidate as Obama criss-crossed the nation to boost Clinton’s vote bank.
Perhaps for the first time, we saw the first lady was also a show-stealer on the campaign trail and what a discovery Michelle Obama turned out to be as she impressed everyone by being a great orator just like her husband.
Obama himself went on the offensive against Trump, whom many even among prominent personalities in the Republican Party branded as unqualified and not having the quality and temperament to be the commander-in-chief of the world’s most powerful nation.
Perhaps Obama’s overkill in support of Clinton could have had a backlash effect on voters against the backdrop of his own plunging popularity in public opinion towards the tail-end of his eight years in office.
Obama himself had described Clinton as the “most qualified candidate ever to run for president in the history of the United States”.
She has in her four decades in public service been a senator, first lady and secretary of state.
Much of the hopes of the outside world especially to see a woman president installed at long last in the US also rests on the simple logic that the vast majority of women in America would naturally want to see and vote for one of their own gender in such a high office. Imagine what it would be having three of the world’s most powerful nations being led by women at the same time after Germany and Britain?
But in politics, logic doesn’t always work and that’s why it’s called the art of the possible and the impossible, too.
Many would tend to believe that among other reasons, Trump, who has never held any public office, had won because of his pledge to close America’s borders against illegal immigrants.
Just as the Brexit referendum earlier this year in Britain was successful on the immigration issue or the notion that the country would be better able to control migrants upon leaving the European Union.
On a much smaller scale, a political novice in Australia, Pauline Hanson, turned into an overnight sensation with her antiimmigration campaign that got her elected into Parliament some 20 years ago and later became leader of a political party.
Trump has indeed pulled off what House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan described as the “most incredible political feat in my lifetime”.
He has also galvanised support for the Republicans with the party now dominating both the House and the Senate which according to CNN analysts means that Trump is presiding over the most powerful White House in American history.
The world, as well as the global stock markets, reacted in shock to Trump’s upset win as everyone was trying to digest how this maverick billionaire businessman and reality TV star with absolutely no political experience could emerge as the 45th president of the United States.
Trump’s victory had been totally unexpected especially after some startling revelations in the last two weeks with several women coming out to say that he had groped them and with some locker room talk going viral as well.
In a way, it has proven true the saying that America after all is a big Hollywood.
I posted on the WhatsApp chat group comprising ex-colleagues in Bernama this line shortly after Trump had clinched the 270-vote electoral college mark needed to win the presidency – My headline: “Trump Triumphs”. That would make a perfect newspaper headline for me.
Some hours later, I received this posting from Zulkafly Baharuddin, an ex-Bernama journalist who has lived in Washington for decades – AU, Washington Post took your suggestion for headline: Trump Triumphs.
“You made my day. I can work at Washington Post,” I told him.
According to Zulkafly, Trump had won on a massive swing by blue-collar workers who are just fed up.
To them, electing Clinton as president would be more of the same kind of administration America is so used to having all these years under the Washington establishment.
It’s still too early to say what kind of a Trump administration it would be and more importantly if he would opt for a different kind of persona from the one we saw throughout the campaign.
I waited the whole night after CNN had displayed on the screen a banner saying that Clinton would soon make her concession speech. That soon came almost shortly before midnight.
I couldn’t bear to watch how disappointed she was deep inside though she managed to put up a brave front to face and thank her campaign workers who have slogged for the past two years.
“I am sorry we didn’t win this election. This is painful and it will be for a long time,” she said as many in the audience were seen wiping their tears.
On Trump, she only had this to say: “I hope he will be a successful president.”
All said and done, it’s been a presidential election like no other in living memory with an outcome people could only think possible in their wildest imagination.
Presidential debates left nothing to the imagination.