In the wake of Donald Trump’s stunning and unpredicted victory in the 2016 US Presidential election, which defied nearly all pollsters’ and pundits’ expectations, Natasha Ezrow and several other analysts write in The Conversation (9.11.16) about what the Republican candidate’s victory means for the United States’ political system, and for the rest of the world.
‘This was one of the most contentious elections in US history – and now it’s ended in a shocking upset: Donald Trump appears to have won a majority in the electoral college, which if confirmed will make him the president-elect of the United States. The rest of the world now has to work out what happens next.
‘Even before Trump pulled ahead on the night, the campaign itself was disastrous for America’s reputation abroad, exposing the worst in US politics. Trump’s views on Muslims, Latinos, Blacks and women earned him global notoriety. He also alarmed many of the US’s key allies with his opinions on NATO and the use of nuclear weapons. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton suffered from her own problems, branded by Trump and others as untrustworthy and “crooked”. Both candidates had historically low likeability ratings.
‘Many Americans on both sides apparently chose whichever candidate they considered the lesser of two evils. But when it comes to political experience and capability, the difference between the two candidates is very, very stark.
‘Whether or not you agree with her views, Clinton is experienced and knowledgeable about policy and how politics works in Washington and around the world. Trump, on the other hand, seems ill-informed about almost all global issues. He seems to have no understanding of how the checks and balances built into the US government work. And his ideology, to the extent it can be discerned, seems to border on the anarchic. Four former living US presidents have deemed Trump unfit to the lead the country.
‘So a Trump victory won’t just do incredible damage to the US itself – it will badly tarnish America’s image abroad and will profoundly transform its relationship with almost all countries around the world.’