Let’s be frank: Donald J. Trump is a divisive figure. The billionaire property developer won the race for the White House against all odds. He has no experience in government and is the first non-politician to be elected president since Dwight Eisenhower.
In defiance of nearly every opinion poll, Trump pulled off a stunning upset. The ill-disciplined reality TV star flouted virtually every convention to defeat Hillary Clinton in a polarising campaign. His behaviour made him the most talked about political figure of 2016 and Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.
To many, it is unfathomable that his campaign did not self-destruct after his lewd and vulgar remarks about women were made public. Despite his sexist insults and other jaw-dropping statements, Trump prevailed. His slurs, innuendos and hyperbole did not sink his presidential candidacy.
Many of the things he promised in order to get elected make no sense. His flimsy policies appealed to the heart, not the head. A disgruntled electorate voted on emotion, not logic. The working class were conned by Trump who tapped into the social undercurrents that exist in the “divided states” of America.
In his efforts to secure his spot as the 45th president of the United States, Trump declared war on his own party, called for a ban on Muslims entering America, labelled Mexicans “rapists” and “drug dealers” and vowed to slap a 45% tariff on Chinese imports.
If that were not enough, he threatened to throw Hillary Clinton in jail, declared that women who seek abortions should be punished, claimed he knew “more about ISIS than the generals” and boasted that he would be “the greatest jobs president that God ever created”.
Controversial filmmaker, Michael Moore, claimed that Donald Trump never actually wanted to be president. US Vice-President, Joe Biden, also theorised that Trump did not want to win the presidency. Trump himself said in a 1987 TIME interview: “I have no intention of ever running for president”.
Whether he wanted it or not, Trump will soon be the leader of the free world. At 70, he will be the oldest person in history to be sworn in as US president. Those who argued that “Trump for President” was a ruse that was going to last only for a short while are still scratching their heads.
The next four years will be a very interesting social experiment. Trump will enter the White House riding a wave of xenophobia and will take the reins of a divided nation. Over recent decades, Americans have never been more bitterly split - particularly over immigration and globalisation.
Can we expect to see more of the provocateur Trump we witnessed on the campaign trail? Or will the new president be more statesman-like? My sense is that over the next four years the world will be subject to the whims of one very unpredictable man and this will give rise to many concerns.
Personally, I hope that Trump does not start a trade war with China. I hope that he does not declare climate change a hoax. I hope that he does not build a great wall. I hope that he does not suppress freedom of the press. Most of all, I hope that he does not start a nuclear war.
Like millions of others, I worry that the US will have an angry finger on the nuclear button. This finger will belong to a temperamental commander-in-chief who pledged during the election campaign to “bomb the shit” out of ISIS and to significantly increase US military spending.
My suspicion is that buyer’s remorse will eventually grip the US public. Trump will continue to re-write the rules of politics and his unorthodox ways will unsettle many. His followers will eventually come to realise that most of Trump’s campaign promises were implausible.
Well, that’s almost it for me for 2016. Next Monday, I will publish my final blog post for the year - my ninth annual Christmas parody. On a personal note, thank you to my loyal readers for your on-going support. I trust you have enjoyed the breadth of topics covered in Doubting Thomas during 2016.
May peace and happiness be yours during this holiday season and throughout the New Year.
Paul J. Thomas, CEO