How will America change?
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.”
TALK TO US How do you think a Trump presidency will affect us South Africans?
SMS us on 35697 using the keyword SA/TRUMP and tell us what you think. Please include your name and province. SMSes cost R1.50
FIRST COUPLE speech President-elect Donald Trump kisses his wife, Melania, after giving his acceptance FOR HILLARY Rachel Horning