I wanted Trump to lose. I was utterly sure he would. I've never been so wrong in my life. It's been a humbling experience.
Although I’m displeased with the results, there are three silver linings in the Trump Cloud.
1. The US Democracy Works
Cynics love to say that American democracy is broken because:
- Money buys elections.
- Special interest groups pick the winner.
- Political connections, unions, and lobbyists are the puppet masters.
- The media manipulates the masses.
- Big money, big advertisers, and big donors conspire to effectively rig elections.
- Pricey political consultants gerrymander and engineer elections.
- Citizens United and Political Action Committees help plow millions into campaigns to determine the results.
- Jews control everything, including your hand which pulls the voting lever.
All these forces undermine our democracy.
Hillary beat Donald on nearly all these forces:
- Thanks to her “Friends of Bill” connections over the last 30 years, she had a Rolodex unlike any other politician.
- Wall Street favored her.
- Comedians ridiculed Trump and said voters who supported him were stupid.
- The mainstream media was certainly favoring her, as anti-Trump stories vastly outnumbered anti-Clinton stories (partly because there was just far more dirt on Trump). The NY Times, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, MSNBC, and even the Wall Street Journal cheered for Clinton. Yes, Fox News supported Donald, but the majority of the media leans left of center.
- Even some prominent Republicans were backing Clinton!
Although Trump is a billionaire, he spent less on the election than Hillary. His war chest was relatively small. Political analysts were stunned by how tiny his organization was (especially when compared to Hillary’s). Trump was paradoxically poorer than Clinton.
In short, Hillary was Goliath and Donald was David.
However, despite all her advantages, the will of people (according to our electoral college system) prevailed. The Powers That Be lost.
I’ve been in Africa for the last four years and I’ve traveled through 45 African countries. If America were like most African “democracies,” Clinton would have won. Her clout, money, and connections would have engineered a victory. She would have rigged the election and Trump votes would have been suppressed.
Instead, the American silent majority picked the winner, despite all the forces against them.
Moreover, after losing, Hillary didn’t even think about making a coup d’etat like African dictators do so often, even though she could justify such a government takeover by saying that she received more votes overall. She had a perfect excuse to contest the election. Instead, she accepted her loss with dignity. What a beautiful demonstration of our 240-year-old democracy at work.
One thing about Hillary that I didn’t like was her last name. Just like I didn’t want Jeb Bush to win, I wasn’t thrilled to have another Clinton. Not because Bill was bad (he was excellent), nor because Hillary would have been lousy (she would have been better than Trump). I simply disliked the meaning behind electing another Clinton. Had she won and been re-elected, this is how the last few election winners would have been: Bush, Clinton, Clinton, Bush, Bush, Obama, Obama, Clinton and Clinton again. You call that a democracy? That sounds more like the noble families of the Middle Ages.
It’s hard to lecture Africans about democracy if we keep electing people named Bush or Clinton.
In that sense, the Founding Fathers of the USA would have been proud about this election. Royalty lost. The outsider and rebel won.
Again, I dislike the results of the 2016 Presidential Election. And I really think that the electoral college system should be abolished since it makes no sense in the 21st century. Again, we’re lecturing Africans about the importance of all voters having an equal say, but we’re hypocrites since, in America, swing state voters have more power than non-swing state voters. A straight popular vote makes far more sense nowadays.
Still, despite all these misgivings, there’s a great lesson in all this election: American democracy is doing better than most thought. Most political pundits and cynics (including me) would have never thought that Trump could overcome all the incredibly powerful forces stacked against him: the media, Wall St., PACs, lobbyists, and Clinton’s well-run organization. Even many powerful Republican leaders fought Trump! But in the end, all that mattered were the voters themselves. And that’s a wonderful thing.
2. Relations with Russia may improve
I wrote a book about Eastern Europe and spent 3 years in the region. In my chapter about Russia, I lament how many Americans are still stuck in a Cold War mentality and believe that Russia is the enemy.
Yes, Putin is flawed. However, if America can sleep with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and many dictator-led African countries, why can’t we also do business with Russia? Why must we look at Russians as diabolical adversaries?
As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton promised to “reset” Russian-American relations. But she failed.
Donald has another chance. And given Putin’s support of him (some conspiracy theorists ridiculously claim that Putin single-handedly engineered a Trump win), this reset will get off to a better start than the last one.
Of course, Trump’s unpredictable and childish behavior may quickly sink Russian-American relations, but I’m thrilled that at least we’ve gotten off to the best start since Yeltsin in 1991.
3. Mars May Benefit
Trump’s ego is out of this world, so he’ll have to take us out of this world to satisfy it.
What kind of ego orgasm would he have if we managed to plant a Trump flag on Mars?
The idea is irresistible to him.
Therefore, he’ll dramatically boost NASA’s budget and collaborate with private industry (especially Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk) so that we can get to Mars by his second term (and of course, he’s sure that he will win a second term!).
I’m shocked and disappointed that Trump won. However, I’m thrilled that democracy won. I’m also pleased that Russian-American relations have won (so far) and that our space program may get a boost.
Although I’m keeping an open mind, I bet that overall Trump will be a lousy leader and an embarrassment to the world. He’ll raise our debt levels to astronomical heights. He’ll be a one-term president.
On the other hand, I don’t want to underestimate Trump again. So before moving abroad, keep an open mind and wait to see how he leads.
Like all politicians, he won’t fulfill most of his promises, especially his most wild ones. Too many Trump haters have loss all sense of rationality. They imagine the deportation of over 10 million Latinos and Muslims. They imagine WW III with the Middle East. They think that from now it’ll be perfectly acceptable to grab any woman by the pussy.
Remember, America is more than just its President. Even though the Congress is Republican, the Republicans won’t blindly follow Trump—they certainly haven’t until now. They must listen to their constituents. Trump may try to enact a few wild ideas, but he’ll backpedal the moment he realizes that his idea won’t fly. As a Tanzanian was telling me over lunch today, "I believe the political system will stop him from doing something too stupid."
Just like the voters put him in power, they have the power to impeach him, like they did to Nixon.
Remember that Trump is just one human being. When Obama won, people thought he would be the messiah and do all sorts of miracles. Ultimately, he struggled against forces that disagreed with his vision. Similarly, Trump will bump into all sorts of forces that will derail his vision. Obama wasn't the messiah. And Trump won't be the Great Satan. So relax and see you in 2020.