9/11

The day that Trump got elected was 9/11 (for the rest of the world). I am the first to admit I am no astute political commentator – but a man that builds his campaign on race-baiting and misogyny is not the ideal candidate to be in-charge of an army. I am not American – I am a British subject and this is my point of view. As someone with living family who have memory of fighting Fascism in Europe, it seems bigotry and xenophobia have been elected stateside.

It is almost inevitable that Marine Le Pen is elected in France followed by the inevitable rise of The Right in Italy. The rise of hate in the Western hemisphere is somewhat alarming. But what is it a rise against? Other than campaigns being led on race-baiting, I struggle to see any solid argument for electing hot-heads to power. Okay, Brexit was a vote against “those” that seek refuge in our green and pleasant land – but surely “they” are people with just as much right to a safe place to live as we are?

However, I am wavering – this rant is about 9/11 (for the rest of the world).

So how did it happen?

It really was a case of Hillary losing the election – not of the divisive Trump winning an election. So, why? “It’s the economy, stupid” was a phrase coined by her husband’s adviser James Carville in the 1992 election and, in many ways, it ought to have helped Democrats again in 2016. Barack Obama helped rescue the US from the financial crash and presided over a record series of consecutive quarters of job growth. Unfortunately for Clinton, many Americans simply did not feel as positive. Stagnant wage levels and soaring inequality were symptoms of the malaise felt by many voters. Trump successfully convinced them to believe this was caused by bad trade deals and a rigged economy.

Neither socialism nor the proto-fascist homilies of Trump offered much in the way of coherent alternatives either, but the bottom line was that Clinton simply failed to articulate a convincing defence of modern American capitalism.

Also, the fact that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was investigating the Democratic candidate until just two days before voting with a view to bring possible criminal charges for her flouting of data security laws was just the most extreme manifestation of the issue. It was damaging not just that the FBI bungled its timing of what ultimately proved to be a dead-end investigation but because it played into the notion that the Clintons behaved as if the law did not apply to them.

Clinton’s campaign slogans are notoriously vacuous. Obama’s “hope and change” turned out to be more of the former than the latter. Yet Clinton’s “stronger together” only really began to take shape in response to Trump’s divisiveness. It was attractive to many Democrats as a symbol of what they felt the campaign was about but it ensured the battle was fought on Trump’s terms.

Trump in many ways ran to Clinton’s left on some economic issues, with a populist appeal to a growing group of unaffiliated independent-minded voters. But the way the man carried himself during the election was not of dignity. The man seems a buffoon – and now he has the codes to nuclear warheads.

What of all of the climate treaties that were signed under Obama? Trump has openly stated that he wants to “rip them all up.” What of the Human Rights afforded to American citizens and non-domicile residents? From a man who has pledged to build a wall across the Mexican border things do not look too good. The man has no experience of politics.

9/11 was a dark day for the rest of the world. A light has gone out.