Forecast by pollsters and news media failed to click as Republican candidate Donald Trump defeated Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton in the presidential election on November 08 of 2016. She was the first female nominee from one of the major political parties against the Republican nominee who has no experience in any administration or even in military. A real estate moghul, who became a best-selling author and reality TV star, won 289 electoral votes. However, Hillary Clinton won majority popular votes by 47.7 per cent while Trump had 47.5 per cent. The election result appears to be against legacy of President Obama.
The people from all strata of the American society cast their valuable votes on November 08. Possibly, this was for the first time that a US presidential election took place against the backdrop of a bizarre, ugly and demoralising campaign. The Editor of Week Journal said, "The rift between red and blue America has opened to a chasm of mutual contempt and incomprehension. Politics has become overtly radicalised, venomous, toxic--- a civil war by other means."
Having seen this bizarre campaign, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama went out for campaigning for the Democratic nominee. On November 07, one day before the election, Obama practically appealed to young voters and minority communities to come out to vote for Hillary. His appeal apparently meant to continue his legacy. Apart from them, some pastors in swing states appealed to African-Americans to cast votes but refrained from endorsing any candidate. The number of African-American voters increased from 12.9 million in 2000 to 17.8 million in 2012. In 2012, African-Americans cast votes at a higher rate for the first time. In battleground state of Florida, former Vice-President Al-Gore also appeared one day before the election in favour of Hillary to remind the voters of his episode in 2000 when he lost against George W.Bush as a result of shortage of votes cast by Florida voters, apart from not recounting of votes. This was the second time Al-Gore campaigned for Hillary in Florida.
The FBI Director's bombshell by discovering a fresh trove of e-mails on computer of Hillary aide Huma Abedin's estranged husband 11 days ahead of election also caused a devastating effect on Hillary. Another side of the election--the rise of the ultra-right, extremist movement--has been emboldened by the rise of Donald Trump. According to The Week journal, "It's a weird mix of old school neo-Nazi, conspiracy theorists, anti-globalists and young right wing internet trolls-all united in the belief that white male identity is under attack by multicultural, politically correct forces." It may be recalled that one of the most famous figures of ultra-right movement Milo Yiannopoulos, along with anti-Islam conservatives, held a 'Gays for Trump' party at this year's Republican National convention. This group was also energised by Stephen Bannon, editor of a right news site Breitbart.com.Breitbart following election of Trump. Bannon was appointed chief strategist of his campaign in August this year. Trump also received endorsement from former KKK leader David Duke, who is notoriously a white supremacist, calling 'the surging real estate mogul a good salesman and the best of the lot of the large group of 2016 Republican presidential candidates'. Both these groups propagated for Trump to win the presidential election by using social media and internet. This means Donald Trump applied his secret weapon to win the election. He also committed himself to apply the secret weapon to destroy ISIS and terrorist groups.
Apart from campaigning by these groups, young voters of Senator Bernie Sanders and Latinos did not show up in large numbers, neither did African-American turn out in sizeable numbers to vote for Hillary as they did on election day of Barack Obama in 2012. It is also interesting to note African-Americans and Latinos cast votes in favour of Trump in spite of his disparaging remarks against them during election campaign. This is one side of the story relating to presidential election. On the other side, Republicans won majority seats in the House of Representatives while they lost one seat in the Senate. This means the Republican Party is holding both houses of the Congress. The result of both presidential and congressional elections in America is the reflection of the fact that voters are fed up with political system, growing inequality between the rich and the poor, less job opportunity and poor development in economic sector.
Election of Trump would bring significant geo-political repercussions around the world as he has romised to transform the US foreign policy. He has pledged to build wall on US-Mexico border, deport illegal immigrants from the country, defeat ISIS and annihilate terrorist organisations. He expressed his admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin promising to forge a closer relationship based on mutual respect. In an interview with CBS TV network on November0 9, former four-star General Michael Hayden, who served as Director of National Security Agency and CIA as well, said Trump has become President-elect 'showing anger, by being accusatory, frankly, not being all the fact-based and scapegoating real and imaginary enemies'. Gen Hayden is one of the 50 national security officials who, in a signed letter, warned that Trump was a risk to the country's national security. Vladimir Putin was the first foreign dignitary to congratulate Trump while people in Moscow celebrated his poll victory.
The writer is a former Bangladeshi diplomat.