Carry on Trump!
Electing a populist demagogue with zero political experience looks hazardous for American health
THE 45th US President, by his comments and actions in the long election campaign, provided plenty of fireworks and portents of the things to come if he was elected. The divisions sparked by his totally unexpected win are now glaringly obvious, while his choices for some key posts, conservative, filthy rich, white supremacists, some say misogynistic and racist, and his anti-media remarks, have created a furore in some sections of American society. These include women, minorities, especially Muslims and illegal immigrants. Even the number of people attending his swearing in was turned into a war of words with the media, his Press Secretary denouncing alleged ‘deliberately false reporting’. The hostile Press was earlier repeatedly dubbed as ‘dishonest’ by the President-elect. No wonder his approval ratings were just 37 per cent, as compared to the 50 per cent plus in case of incoming Presidents. So it would be futile to speculate on his first 100 days, because every other day of his incumbency promises to be equivalent to a 100, if judged by Day One.
It was the women, fearful of their hard won rights being reversed, who turned out in their millions not only in the US, but elsewhere in Europe, Australia and Canada, over bragging, sexist remarks made long ago by Trump in an unguarded moment, and caught on audio. Women were largely backing the complacent and over confident Hilary Clinton, and in any other democracy, she would be comfortably ensconced in the White House, having received 2.8 million popular votes more than Trump. But such are the vagaries of the unique American Electoral College, which badly needs attunement to the needs of the modern era.
And the worst is yet to come. Trump’s views on the Mexican Wall, tariffs and trade, Taiwan, global warming, torture, abortion, Iran nuclear deal, NATO, Vladimir Putin, and the affirmation of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem, come with an attached burning fuse. But demagogues and dictators can enjoy some limited successes by their simplistic response to otherwise complex questions.