Donald Trump, the celebrity outsider pulled off the un-thinkable. Or so it seems. Riding on a wave of immense xenophobia, racism, sexism, bigotry, hatred, and plain misinformation, Trump is the President Elect of the United States of America.
It should have been easy to predict however. This has been the year of Brexit, the year South Africa, Africa’s model and vibrant democracy pulled out of the International Criminal Court. It is the year President Duterte came to power in the Philippines on the back of promises to kill drug dealers and drug users.
In Britain, in Manila, in the United Kingdom one message seemed to resonate with voters; a message of reclaiming greatness by destroying those considered insiders, then eliminating those deemed outsiders.
For Donald Trump, his message of making America great again was closely tied to his idea that America, and Americans must come first, be it trade, or humanitarian assistance. The notion that foreigners, immigrants, and the outside world benefit more from the USA than the USA itself swept like a wave through nationalists. Trump won.
The world has very few reasonable people, and nationalism is known to inspire amazing levels of ignorance, while fueling hatred, and an under-siege mentality.
Keen readers of history will quickly realise how nationalism led to the rise of Adolf Hitler. How Trump’s message, Nigel Farage’s ideologies, sound a lot like Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Germany’s Minister of Propaganda.
But nationalism, is not the subject at hand, it is the stoking of nationalism that is. Hateful comments have allowed rank outsiders a chance to win at all costs. By dividing the rational from the irrational, bigots have conquered their dreams.
Yet, the irony is not lost, and should not be lost. The adage states that, ‘united we stand, divided we fall’. For the subject matter, Donald Trump, divisions have been a useful servant but they now stand to be an equally potent enemy.
Demonizing foreigners, Muslims, immigrants, and liberals brings other dangers. Leaders who fan nationalist animosity are not always able to manage it. Once the fires of hatred rage, it is difficult to quench them.
America is now extremely divided, and it is impossible to see how it can be unified again. Since the election was won, anti-Trump supporters have stormed the streets in the USA. They are not relenting and violence seems to be escalating.
An online petition to force the electoral college to vote against Trump has garnered millions of votes.
This is a far cry from the swashbuckling style seen in his campaign. The irrational trigger happy chap has been replaced by a more responsible voice of a leader. But the damage has been done already. America is at war with itself, and the world threatens to crumble with it.
Meanwhile, incidences of racially motivated, or xenophobia inspired violence are on the rise. An elderly man, accused of voting Trump was beaten in the street. His car was stolen. He is one of many. Anti-Black, Anti-Hispanic groups have surfaced everywhere on social media.
By the time Trump was elected, he was at odds with nearly all the heavy weights in the Republican party, some of whom he will be expected to work with. Paul Ryan has already said that Republican GOP is not going to set-up a deportation force despite Trump’s rhetoric.
Given his comments against Paul Ryan, and other members of the GOP, it is unlikely Trump will be able to govern. Politicians are known to have sharp memories and bear unforgiving grudges. Trump spit in their face, they will fight back. A leading professor, who predicted the win has said Trump will be impeached. It is probable.
The Donald’s country, strange as it sounds to say that, is divided, and falling apart. When all things finishing turning against each other, they will probably turn against Trump too. They may already be past turning. Things are past daggers drawn.
- Maynard Manyowa is a political analyst and founding editor of Khuluma Afrika
This article is especially dedicated to Peet van Aardt, the voices editor who unearthed my talents, and turned me from opinionista to opinion leader. From a political writer to an ambitious journalist. Wherever he ends up, or i end up, i will always be extremely grateful. Adios editor. Always loved.