Understanding the US elections

Nov. 13, 2016

THE STUNNING VICTORY of President-elect Republican billionaire Donald Trump is considered the greatest upset in modern American political history.

The New York Times forecast Democrat Hillary Clinton an 85% winner and our own Philippine Star had it at 90% for her. Even the  Chronicle  had the former First Lady a front-runner in a very close race.

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All of us were  wrong- except that ancient parrot in the mountains of China who is regularly consulted on the outcome of every American presidential race and had it right all the time. In a video that went viral- the parrot kissed the image of Trump- creating guffaws that the bird was indeed a parrot -who talks with no brain. But the creature was right- or was it?

We had worn down to pieces an election adage that “the voice of the people is the voice of God.” The American style of election made a monkey out of that truth.Why do we say that?

As of this writing Trump won over Clinton in the Electoral College vote ( 279-228) but Clinton nipped Donald 47.7% vs 47.5%  or over 200,000 votes margin. in the popularity vote. Extrapolating the uncounted votes  Hillary would beat Donald by over one million actual citizens’ votes. Whoa?

We do not know what wisdom the Americans have in using the Electoral College methodology. Part of the reason why there have been violent protests in 25 cities  after the polls is precisely that. The man who is going to sit as president in the White House had less votes than his rival.

Be that as it may. Former senator Kit Tatad described 2016 as the “rustication” of American politics. While media was concentrating on the political noise in affluent coastal states – what was kept under the radar was the teeming underprivileged ,angry whites in the rural areas (mostly male).

While media closed in and watched what the candidates said and did – little focus was made on what the teeming populace felt. And it seemed many were discontented because of the state of “non-inclusion ” in the growth of America.

In a previous Editorial here, we mentioned that America grew on its strength of diversity with the first migrants coming from different nations- they had to cooperate for the united states to survive. Over the years, however, came the erection of the political and economic elites.

The  antipathy today  is not so much now because of  of color or creed- but between  the haves and the have nots. And the “have nots’  seem to have  revolted through the ballot in the 2016 polls in favor of  Trump.

Donald ,though a billionaire- is considered an “outsider” of the “ruling class”- he became a champion  for many since  he  ‘achieved” his American Dream without relying on the patronage of the ruling political and economic social class.  Thus he was voted for.

The brazenness and loathsome character of Trump was somehow subsumed  by the hunger and pain that grieved the lower strata of American society.

One theory also said that with the gains of the noisy women’s liberation in America, some males actually resented having to also lose even  the White house to the fairer sex. And although many women were for Clinton- there were some who were actually jealous of her- that woman “who has it all” already” must not also have the presidency as well.

Of course, the pollsters were also misled. There were actually many Trump supporters interviewed who denied they were  his supporters since it was not “in style ” to be in bed with an apparent demagogue and iconoclast in Trump. But they actually voted for him. Thus the surveys and actual results did not tally.

It has been said that in 1945, Franklin D Roosevelt upset Tomas Dewey by the extensive  use of a newfangled gadget then called the radio. In 1960, John Kennedy used TV -and in that classic debate with Tricky Dick Nixon- won the presidency by a hairline.

Barack Obama is a product of the internet and social media -getting US$5 dollars contributions and campaign groups through cyberspace.  Trump is a both a social media and reality show (TV) by product.

More than that , the campaign manager of Trump said that back  in 2012 , they only had less than a thousand spokespersons banging on door to door to vote for their candidate. This year , there were 6,000 of them- coaxing the forgotten many in poor fringes of society- telling them in their desperation- it was in their power to change the system. And to therefore -go out and vote.

But yes, Trump may have prevailed -but can he govern.?Yes, in the sense  that the Republicans control both the Senate and the Lower House.

But more than half of the voting populace- those who sided with Clinton-will not just go quietly into the night and die.  They will holler like Jennifer Lawrence pegged- “let’s get loud”,as if to recite the song of another feminist Jennifer Lopez who has a song of the same title.

Said Jlaw’ “Let this not defeat you- but instead bring out the fire (in you) that was not there before. If you an immigrant, a person of color, an LGBT- a woman- … let’s get loud.” (paraphrased). It might be a tumultuous first two years for Trump.

Over the long pull- the test is even mightier. Will the new experiment of Trump to be inward-looking, an isolationist (almost xenophobic)  hold up America’s old (global)  alliances in the political and economic front  for Washington’s benefit? Or would the price be too steep to pay?

If you found the RP May elections troubling- you have to find a worse adjective to describe the latest American polls.

For comments: email to dejarescobingo@yahoo.com or bohol-rd@mozcom.com



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