The candidate, who claimed that Mexicans are ‘rapists’ and who boasted of grabbing women ‘by the pussy’, took to the stage at 2:47 eastern time to accept his victory
In a major upset for the political establishment and decent, sane people everywhere, Donald Trump has won the election.
The candidate, who claimed that Mexicans are ‘rapists’ and who boasted of grabbing women ‘by the pussy’, took to the stage at 2:47 eastern time to accept his victory. In an unusually gracious speech, he called for unity, saying of Hillary Clinton “we owe her a major debt of gratitude”. Of Americans: “Tremendous potential… every single American will have the ability to realize his or her potential…” Of America: “We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become by the way second to none”. To other countries: “while we will always put America’s interests first, we will deal fairly with everyone”.
This will do little to soothe worries abroad: shares in Asia, stocks in Europe and the Mexican Peso all plummeted this morning. Countries bordering Russia will surely be wondering what their future holds, given President-elect Trump’s vocal support of Putin and disparagement of NATO. France must take stock: if Donald Trump can win an election surely Marie Le Pen, leader of France’s far-right FN party, stands a good chance in 2017. And what of Cuba, whose opening of diplomatic relations with America rests on executive orders made by President Obama? Or the Iranian nuclear deal? These advances, which have made the world a more open, safe place are now under serious threat.
Even more worried must be Americans who stand to lose from a Trump presidency. Women, gays, ethnic minorities, Muslims and many others now face four years of rule by a man who has demonized them. Because the Republicans have maintained control of the Senate, Trump can appoint the most conservative, traditionalist judge he likes to the Supreme Court, which will tip the balance in favour of anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-civil rights activists.
Worst of all is the message this sends to the next generation: you don’t need to be a hard worker, a decent person, a good neighbour, to get ahead in life: bluster and bullying will serve you just fine. As long as you’re a white man.
So what can we do? As the world takes a sharp descent into close-mindedness, isolationism and intolerance, ‘Generation Snowflake’ must take heart. Millennials are far more liberal, tolerant, and progressive than any who have come before. We remember a time when our countries were open and accepting, when the earth was something we’d inherit. Now we have to fight for it. We must learn the lessons of this year – that a good GDP does not mean a happy people, that high employment rates do not mean a job that pays the bills. That rampant inequality cannot be ignored. We must stand by our belief in a liberal, open society, and we must work out how to balance that with opportunity for all. Being defiant will not be enough: we must be smart. If we do this, and we work, and stand together – if more among us finally grow up, take notice and learn to ‘adult’ – we can create the world we thought we’d be given.
President Trump will be bad, but all is not lost.