Donald Trump’s ascension to the presidency of the United States and thus the most powerful job on the planet sent shock-waves around the world. His election was a result that opinion polls and many people did not expect, to the point where some believed that the election would be a landslide for Hilary Clinton. Yet the reality of the result and the unpredictability of Mr Trump (he already seems to be flip flopping on key issues) means a future that cannot be forecast for many Americans.
The reasons for why Donald Trump won must be understood, through the reality of a broken and divided country. This division is clear, not just along party political lines but through a division of the ‘haves’ and ‘have not’s’. This was evident in both the Republican and Democratic primaries through the support for both Trump and Bernie Sanders. Both were considered ‘anti-establishment’, both proved popular. Thus I believe this and a number of other reasons can be evidenced as to why Trump won.
Let’s be frank, the solution to such deep set problems evident throughout this campaign is not to be sensational and brand half of this country ‘racist’, it is too question. What on earth led people to believe Donald Trump should be their president? The issues need to be addressed as to why people believe he is the solution. The reality is many who voted for Trump have felt that there has been an out of touch liberal elite who have been arrogant in their attitude, focusing on a perceived ‘progress’ without addressing the core issues that many face, such as joblessness and declining wages. They have felt they have had no voice. Many just wanted hope and many of them found that hope in Obama in 2008, but equally then felt that this hope did not manifest a solution, especially across the rustbelt states. These are places like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, states that haven’t gone republican since the 1980s, but that all voted for Trump this time looking for the change they so desperately desired. That is the stark truth.
It is very easy to judge these people, but far more difficult to understand. Yet it is crucial that we understand one another. Shouting down each other in rage does not provide the solution to the situation that is before us. A lack of willingness to genuinely listen to one another and accept different opinions is part of what brought us here. As Martin Luther King Jr said, ‘We haven’t learned to walk the Earth as brothers and sisters.’ These words are as applicable now as they were decades ago. We need to not shut ourselves away from genuine, equal, open discussion. It seems that this open discussion was lacking in a sadly nasty campaign. A significant minority of people were seemingly afraid of being open to the fact they would vote Trump, and thus what the polls predicted and what the actual result was, differed starkly. This is something we have seen time and time again when measuring the ‘right’s’ electoral chances. Maybe we need to change our approach in dealing with the ‘right’ to stop this from happening?
President Jimmy Carter put it aptly in 1979 saying, “We’ve got to stop crying and start sweating, stop talking and start walking, stop cursing and start praying. The strength we need will not come from the White Hose, but from every house in America.” This perfectly illustrates the reality that modern America is not defined by Donald Trump, it is defined by its people like any nation and if its people can unite and work together across party lines, they can do wonderful things. Or they can continue down a broken path, refusing to consider one another and breeding discontent.