The world woke up to a political earthquake today. PADRAIG HOARE, a self-confessed US political obsessive, says Donald Trump is the President because his rivals snubbed so many.
EIGHT years ago, it was an uplifting message of hope and change that swept America on election night — in 2016, an ugly hybrid of seething anger, vitriol and racial division has sent Donald Trump to the White House.
It is scarcely believable as I write these words — I’m not exaggerating when I say my fingers are trembling, and I am barely able to think coherently as I worry about the future of the globe in the hands of the most unqualified person ever to be elected to the greatest office in the world.
Hyperbole and elitist nonsense? Let’s examine the evidence.
Under a Trump presidency, 11 million people in the USA are now terrified they will be hunted down and deported because they don’t have the necessary documents to prove they came to the country legally.
The healthcare of 20 million poor Americans is now in jeopardy as Trump has promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, not specifying in any detail what he will put in its place.
Gay people who fought so hard for marriage equality are facing the probability that the right will be snatched away from them.
Women who feel they are entitled to look after their bodies as they see fit when it comes to pregnancy will no longer have a choice.
Trump’s promise to nominate arch-conservative justices to the Supreme Court — and there will be a number of vacancies of the nine in the coming years — puts paid to pro-choice and pro-same sex marriage aspirations.
He has vowed to send political opponents to jail, including Hillary Clinton, threatening to create the very authoritarian regime that the Founding Fathers explicitly sought to avoid while creating the cherished constitution more than 200 years ago.
Minorities, hunted left and right this election cycle by some of the more nefarious Trump supporters, must be wondering how the land of liberty has taken such a monumental step back to the dark days of segregation.
I do not blame millions of his voters. They have been lied to, cheated and patronised for decades, while the cosy cabal of the media and Washington DC elites have forgotten about their legitimate concerns.
Could you blame the steel-working Trump voter handed a watch after 30 years of loyal service at a cheap going-away party who is told his job is no longer viable because it can be done cheaper in Mexico? How about the miners of West Virginia and the stevedores of Baltimore, maligned in comic strips, the big screen and the media for generations as hicks and hayseeds who were only there for the amusement of those living in big cities?
The American electorate, we have been told for generations, is changing to a multi-ethnic society. That is to be lauded. Racial equality and diversity is celebrated, especially in urban centres like New York. However Democrats and the Washington elite clearly forgot to appeal to the 70% white population in order to shore up African-American, Latino and urban voters.
Yes, white privilege exists — but that cannot be a legitimate reason to take them for granted and do nothing for decimated poor communities in Ohio and Wisconsin where people have seen their jobs and livelihoods fall by the wayside as those in the capital look on from their ivory tower, telling them how they should feel instead of asking how they actually feel.
You can mine all the data in the world, have focus group after focus group, run poll after poll. You can mock and belittle a candidate for being an ignoramus and a charlatan. You can scoff with your friends on Twitter and Facebook about how Americans are stupid to elect such a man.
Trump made a fool of all of us who think we have a semblance of intellectual prowess. He has an instinct and sixth sense that none of us could see, except for his closest supporters.
You think it is confined to the United States? Think again. The word ‘establishment’ has become a lightning rod for anger and disgust all over the world. People — good people, not racists and bigots — have had enough.
Here in Ireland, we hear from our politicians and business leaders how Cork could become the next Silicon Valley, how STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is the next great revolution in employment. We no longer hear about the tradesperson who is treated unequally because he is a self-employed worker when it comes to tax. We barely take notice of farmers clinging to their livelihoods and taking their lives because it has become so damn hard. We see Dublin get richer and rural Ireland get left behind.
We have our own elite problem. We are a conservative country, reluctant to change. That is why the Irish General Election of 2016 provided what we thought was same old, same old. It didn’t. The old guard may be the ruling class but the smaller parties are on the rise.
The next General Election here may bring out a new wave of emboldened voters, taking inspiration from Trump voters that they can bring the political class to its knees. A generation of voters left behind will explode in a powderkeg of bitter recrimination.
Meanwhile, we should be very afraid of the next four years. A man prone to histrionics because someone baited him on Twitter will have access to the nuclear codes.
The onus is now on the elites to wake up, empathise with voters, become more human, and retake the White House before too much damage is done.