How will Amer­ica change?

CityPress - - News - CARIEN DU PLESSIS news@city­press.co.za

US pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump has made a fam­ily af­fair of the team that will be pre­par­ing for his move to the White House. Sons Eric and Don­ald Jr, and son-in-law Jared Kush­ner, are on his 79-mem­ber ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee, as is his daugh­ter Ivanka, one of only 19 women on the team. Days af­ter Trump was an­nounced the win­ner of Tues­day’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, most Amer­i­cans – his sup­port­ers in­cluded – are still try­ing to come to grips with what a fu­ture in Trump’s Amer­ica would look like. His cam­paign was vague on pol­icy and some of his prom­ises seemed too out­ra­geous to be true.

Many are also won­der­ing how the polls got it so wrong. Jonathan Zogby, CEO of poll­sters Zogby An­a­lyt­ics, said those polls that had Hil­lary Clin­ton win­ning by five to 10 points “go­ing into or close to elec­tion day sam­pled too many Democrats and made in­cor­rect as­sump­tions about other de­mo­graph­ics who sup­ported Pres­i­dent Bar­rack Obama in 2008 and 2012, mainly younger vot­ers, women and mi­nori­ties”.

Many mi­nori­ties stayed away from the polls this week, while Trump’s ru­ral, white sup­port­ers flocked to the vot­ing booths.

The im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of the elec­tions saw racist and re­li­gious hate crimes against mi­nor­ity groups, of­ten in Trump’s name, while in var­i­ous cities peo­ple came out in their num­bers to protest against his pres­i­dency.

African-Amer­i­can Angli­can dean Wal­ter Brown­ridge, who cam­paigned for Clin­ton in the swing state of Ohio, said many African-Amer­i­cans ex­pected life to be bet­ter un­der Obama, but life was still hard. “They were clearly less en­thu­si­as­tic about vot­ing this year,” he said.

Trump sup­port­ers have said they would be happy to see Oba­macare scrapped, be­cause it had hugely in­creased their med­i­cal aid bills and could po­ten­tially ruin busi­nesses.

Mi­ami tourism stu­dent Toney Parker – one of the only 8% of African-Amer­i­cans who voted for Trump – said he voted for Obama be­fore, but it re­ally wasn’t a good enough change from the Ge­orge Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“I thought Obama would be dif­fer­ent, but things changed. Oba­macare is killing small busi­nesses,” he said, re­fer­ring to the ris­ing costs of the gov­ern­ment med­i­cal in­sur­ance scheme. Trump’s prom­ise to build a wall be­tween the US and Mex­ico, and clamp down on im­mi­gra­tion, has caused anx­i­ety among im­mi­grants. While some of his sup­port­ers said Trump se­ri­ously meant to build a phys­i­cal wall, paid for by Mex­ico, oth­ers said it was a “metaphor” for stricter im­mi­gra­tion con­trols. Al­ready, how­ever, one of the pol­icy port­fo­lios on his tran­si­tion team is ti­tled “im­mi­gra­tion re­form and build­ing the wall”. Fed­eral gov­ern­ment health an­a­lyst Philip Pas­sarelli, from Boons­boro, Mary­land, said he was in favour of im­mi­gra­tion be­cause his fa­ther im­mi­grated to the US to marry his Amer­i­can mother. This, how­ever, had to hap­pen legally. “If my fa­ther were still here to­day, he would feel peo­ple are be­ing let in here il­le­gally,” he said. Pas­sarelli is not a fully fledged Trump sup­porter, but voted for him be­cause “it was the lesser of two evils”. “I be­lieve our coun­try was founded on strong Judeo-Chris­tian ethics, and I think that politi­cians such as Hil­lary Clin­ton want to move us away from that prin­ci­ple,” he said. Carla Rob­bins, clin­i­cal pro­fes­sor at the Austin W Marxe School of Pub­lic and In­ter­na­tional Af­fairs and ad­junct se­nior fel­low at the Coun­cil of For­eign Re­la­tions, said Trump’s promised de­por­ta­tion of up to 11 mil­lion un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants was hard to imag­ine. “It’s also hard to imag­ine who would do the jobs that are so fun­da­men­tal to our econ­omy here,” she said. There was real fear on the streets this week, de­spite con­cil­ia­tory words from Trump in his ac­cep­tance speech on Wed­nes­day. “He has a re­ally, re­ally long way to go if he wants to bring the coun­try to­gether and to re­as­sure peo­ple in Latin Amer­ica,” Rob­bins said. Many for­eign­ers liv­ing in the US, in­clud­ing South Africans, have been con­sid­er­ing their op­tions in the past week. Per­for­mance artist and wait­ress Tumelo Khoza, who lives in Chicago, said friends back home told her to come back. “The truth is that it was in no way po­lit­i­cal cir­cum­stances that en­cour­aged me to move [to the US]. My move was en­tirely in­spired by a need to grow as an in­di­vid­ual,” she said. She said al­though Trump’s elec­tion will make “for an in­ter­est­ing ex­pe­ri­ence both for Amer­ica and the world”, she would stay put. “One may only hope for good.”

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PHOTO: AP

FIRST COU­PLE speech Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump kisses his wife, Me­la­nia, af­ter giv­ing his ac­cep­tance FOR HIL­LARY Rachel Horn­ing

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