The tumultuous American presidential election, which happens every four years, has finally ended. Donald Trump won.
Before “email gate,” Hillary’s popular support always seemed greater than Trump’s, so how did Trump make a comeback? Trump’s election demonstrates Americans’ disgust with elitist politics. China’s rise and America’s decline has made Americans retreat to an isolationist Americanism, in which America belongs to Americans and not the world. From now on, America will not be concerned with the world, only itself. Average American citizens don’t want their country to police the world; they want an experienced businessman to revive the country’s economy.
Trump won. Will he really fulfill his ridiculous claims? Let’s see what he actually said during the election.
Trump said China was a country which manipulated currency, and he said he would punish China with sanctions, trade wars, and tariffs on Chinese products to bring back job opportunities for Americans. He said he would build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and make Mexico pay for it; that he would engage in trade wars with new countries to earn back American jobs; that America has no responsibility to maintain world peace, and therefore he would cut NATO spending; and that Asian allies such as Japan and South Korea need to be more independent. He also said that if he were elected, he would also improve relations with Vladimir Putin, etc. Trump said his top diplomatic adviser was himself, and that he was gifted in that area.
Before the FBI decided to investigate the Clinton email charges, Hillary had consistently led Trump in all the polls. Why was there such a big difference between the polls and the election results? Polls are the weather vanes in an election, but none of them, whether conducted online or via phone, can be trusted 100 percent. People can hide their real opinions in polls, especially in dictatorships. It matters more how much money people give you and not how many “likes” you receive. In addition to online promotion, support on the ground and door-to-door campaigning often had more impact, which was the Republicans’ strong suit.
Let’s also take a look at Trump’s campaign team. The CEO of Trump’s campaign, Stephen Bannon, ran the extreme right-wing site Breitbart News, and Trump is known for his right-wing views himself. When Trump is sworn in as president, America’s mainstream ideology will turn to the right.
While 93 percent of the votes cast in Washington, D.C. were for Hillary, the political elite does not decide America’s direction anymore. In this election, all of the mainstream media and all of the business titans asked people not to vote for Trump, but the voters did anyway. An America which is unified in its public opinion no longer exists; there are divisions between the grassroots and the elite. For the first time in over 200 years, the awakening of the grassroots population has led to an America that is fractured in opinion and which lacks consensus.
Trump’s capriciousness and contrary nature will make it hard for the world to adjust. He’s bound to inflict enormous shock on America and the world. Every leader in the world has to learn how to deal with characters like Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.
The author is a renowned brand strategist in China and the brand adviser for CCTV.