Like the rest of the world today, I have been shocked by the outcome of U.S. 2016 presidential election. Donald Trump, an outsider among his own party and a man of rotten moral values, was elected the 45th president of the United States of America.
America, how did this happen?
A friend of mine in the Bay Area–the heart of West Coast Democrats–couldn’t believe how this was happening. Everyone was sure Hillary Clinton would win the presidency. Early surveys and projections showed overwhelming advantage for Clinton. Moreover, I didn’t believe America would be crazy enough to hand nuclear codes to a man who cannot be entrusted with his own Twitter account, who is considered as great of a threat to the global economy as Jihadi terrorism.
Republican candidate Donald Trump had one third of the chance to win presidency. To do so, he would need at least Florida and three of the other four battlegrounds (North Carolina, Virginia, Iowa and Ohio) plus another blue state from the north-eastern corner, which consists of traditional Democratic states.
In other words, Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton only needed two of the battlegrounds, or one and all her traditional blue states to win. This is why she famously referred to the north-eastern corridor of Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania as “The great blue firewall”. She had overwhelming chance of getting elected and her campaign, reportedly, had already popping champagne corks since yesterday.
The first two batches came in at 7:30PM, Hilary still got things under control. An hour later, Michigan, followed by Ohio and North Carolina, began to turn red.
Michigan had been at the center of attention from both sides during the last sprint of their campaign. Trump’s camp was the first to realize how they could take advantage of Hillary’s push for green energy and gain popularity among the coal miners in this leaning-blue state. It took Clinton’s camp much later to realize how important Michigan would be in the race.
Florida came down to a narrow victory by one percentage point for Donald Trump.
By this time, Donald had snatched three out of four battlegrounds (except for Virginia) to his side and Florida. Wisconsin began showing signs of trouble and so did New Hampshire. His final victory condition was to take one of the leaning-blue states and he was turning three of them red. Therefore, his chance to win presidency skyrocketed as reported by the NYTimes live result forecast.
Hilary had a chance in these ballots, of course, if she managed to secure all three states, the night could have ended with a historical 169-169 tie. However, as the clock ticked 11PM, it soon became apparent Wisconsin was a done deal. To rub salt into her wounds, Pennsylvania slowly turned red as well. She lost the support of the white collar demographic, who made up the base of the Democrats for decades, in the northern counties.
The fight for Pennsylvania was incredibly close. Still, Donald Trump pulled ahead as his seemingly out-of-place and bizarre visit to this traditional blue state earlier in the campaign finally paid off. With Pennsylvania secured, he claimed a decisive victory against the Democrats.
I had my hopes up that Hillary could comeback when a number of provisional votes (10%) were added to the tally later on but the number of missing votes turned out to be insufficient.
At this point, Donald was already the president before passing 270 electoral votes mark.
Though just to be safe than sorry, both camps waited until the very last possible moment to concede defeat or declare victory. Thank God, Hillary did so gracefully in a phone call less than an hour after Donald took Pennsylvania and President Trump’s victory speech ended this controversial election on a lighter note, speaking of unity and bringing together a divided nation.
Perhaps, this was a different side of Donald Trump he couldn’t show in his campaign which had been built on the concept of a bombastic rejection of the establishments and social norms. In hindsight, there were a number of strategic decisions in his campaign that won him presidency. He knows his target demographic, he knows his opponent’s weakness, he knows how to turn his candidacy into a brand to rally mindless mobs who religiously believed in his vague promises and scandalous claims, and he knows how to hide his aces so that his enemies will underestimate him.
I think the line between a racist moron and a tactical genius is just that blurry. Whatever he is, I sure hope he would stay restrained and presidential when he took office next January.
America, what were you thinking?
I have spoken to some people on Trump’s camp in this election (unavoidably because they are everywhere). Destruction of the corrupted system, the polarized media, the political correctness is the selling points of Trump’s campaign. The system hasn’t been working for them and they want to tear it down and take a chance at the dice roller in hope of coming out winners.
Fundamentally speaking, Hillary Clinton did not lose because people think her email server, Benghazi (which she has nothing to do with) and the cover up of Bill Clinton’s affairs (which is unlawful but morally justified. Oh the crazy things one can do for loved ones). The people struck her down because she represented a system that has not working out for them. The fact that she’s a woman fighting against an army of hardcore conservatives did not help.
Her downfall last night was primarily the result of neglecting the cries of the white worker class and middle-income class–which are base of her blue party–, and taking their votes for granted.
Their cries are now heard, loud and clear.
But watch the kind of dice roller America has chosen instead of the establishment: a Russian roulette sponsored by Vladimir Putin himself. If the old system has been harmful to the American people, the new dice roller will give them a shot at a brighter future, a refreshing zero, the same negative experience or even worse ending imaginable. That’s how changes work. Opportunities and risks usually come in one package.
America, what have you done?
In any cases, the damage this election has done to the global economy, free trade, military influence and climate change is irreversible.
To put this in perspective, after Trump became elected president, Dow Jones index plummeted by record 800 points in one hour, S&P hit threshold limit of -5% in one day and the U.S. dollar lost 3.6% value compared to the yen. Mexican peso got hit by an 11% drop and similar story happened to Canadian dollar as Trump threatened to end border trade to these countries.
Europe took a hit as well but more on the military side of things. NATO allies begin to fear whether or not American will still be their ally and whether or not they can afford American “protection fee” which Trump has been demanding in his campaign. And while the warmed up relationship between Russia and U.S. is a welcoming sign to either countries, the European nations, especially the former Soviet countries, will have no way to fend themselves against an increasingly aggressive Russia. And for Cuba, it’s game over for decades of diplomatic efforts to reconnect the two nations.
There’s this one other concern that might be a bit far fetched, but, given Trump winning presidency is already a miracle, I will not discount on the possibility of this next catastrophe happening in the next 4 years. The dollar–or any fiat currency for the matter–cannot be considered a safe currency anymore. This loss of credibility can potentially affect how banks and international organizations handle money in the future. Worst-case scenario, we’re so going back to mortgage and gold standard. Although, since he is a businessman, I trust Trump know better not to mess with currencies.
More importantly, should President Trump push the topic of white supremacy further, centuries of racial equality will be undone in no time; should he show the same misogyny he has been showing so far, decades of gender equality will be undone in no time; and the only thing that I can be certain of is that the wealth gap will be widened after his regime. Poor people stay poor (or deported) and rich people get richer.
The true irony? A few people voted for the man who promised to make their life miserable.
Personally, I won’t be affected by the reversal of liberal movements since I’m migrating to Australia and watch the western hemisphere burn from this end of the world. But, for some of my friends in America, this leap backward can be very damaging.
The glass ceiling Clinton’s camp wanted to shatter remained out of reach. It tucked at my heart string to hear how much hopes Hillary was carrying last night: the hopes of the Latino Americans and the hopes of liberal women. Gosh, think about all those kids at home who went to sleep thinking the world tomorrow would be a better place for them.
So yes, one election, one night, thousands of shattered dreams and numerous mankind’s achievements in the last century are at risk.
The question now is: “What are you going to do now, America?”
P/s: Read the emotional thank you note from Hillary Clinton here: https://medium.com/@HillaryClinton/thank-you-d2decf198a69#.aye9ec3by