“Brexit x 10.” That’s what he said but did he mean it? How will he deliver the promises made in the heat of campaign? Will the United Sates remain even remotely united? We know that left-wing administrations turn right in power. Will an apparently very right wing administration turn left as it enters the Oval Office? What got Trump elected?
There is a sense of disgust with most governments, with many employers, with a lot of parents, with whole swathes of the teaching profession, with religious authority and, in fact, with anyone who has to order the disorderly, turbulent world we live in. It emanates not from the obviously suppressed, though they are sympathetic to it, but from a large part of the middle class that feels it has carried the burden of world crises for the last ten years and got nothing but criticism for doing so. Not only that, but their wages have not gone up to match their overwhelming responsibilities. They’ve had enough. They are the closet voters.
Well, they’ve come out of the closet now. What will they do with this understandable but incomprehensible victory?
The President of the United States is invested with stature and gravitas by virtue of his office. Ronald Reagan moved from a bit part to centre stage with style. He let others take the credit because they did all the work. Trump won’t be like him but he will feel the mantle of office heavy on his shoulders. He has managed without advisers for much of his campaign.
He will have advisers galore now whether he likes it or not. I dare say he will listen to them, at least in the areas of foreign policy and diplomacy. If he doesn’t we are, for certain, going to have a very hard time. He will try to give himself stature, to be a People’s President certainly but to be an American President, too. I don’t doubt his sincerity in wanting America to be great again but I wonder why he doesn’t realise that America is still great and needs to maintain its position in the world as a great nation.
I think he will modify his extreme views, conduct a few fairly unconventional international visits, make several decisions that demonstrably bring jobs back to USA, do a good job of negotiating trade terms with other countries who might regard him as hostile based on what he said on the hustings. He will not achieve all he wants to do – no President could – but he is in a very strong position to negotiate with the Republicans in the Senate and the House. They don’t want to lose the Presidency or the political power they have acquired and he basically doesn’t care if they do. You cannot be in a stronger position than that.
President Trump is a Christmas present from the joke shop but he may turn out to be more effective than the itching powder they put in your stocking. As the BBC’s Laura Trevelyan said “It’s Technicolor”. Whether you like him or not, you will notice him.
You may want to take care that he doesn’t notice you.