From the Editor-in-Chief: Trumping his way to the White House

Enayetullah Khan
Thursday, November 10th, 2016
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As voting got underway last Tuesday in the 2016 US presidential election, the one thing we all knew was that history beckoned for its people, and by dint of its inordinately consequential place in the world – in the words of President Obama, “the indispensable nation” – the ripple effects could easily be expected to reach every corner on earth.

 

You could ask anyone though, and almost to a man or woman they would all agree – the protagonist in this historic exercise would always have to be Hillary Rodham Clinton, a former first lady, senator, and secretary of state, now bidding for the presidency. Indeed, by now on the cusp of it. What proceeded to transpire was, in the very best tradition of the US, a blowout. No, not a landslide or anything. Yet the reversal in fortune, or just the starkness in contrast, to what the media, pundits, pollsters, assorted experts and the political establishment ensconced in a Washington too often felt to be out of touch with the world these days.

 

Into that void of anger and dissatisfaction this year stepped billionaire real estate developer Donald J. Trump – who previously had given indications of his easy nature and ability to hold style. He even called himself a blue-collar billionaire, an early signal of his ability to get through to people. Donald Trump has upended almost every single institutional habit to do with the presidency – especially running for it. His off-script candidacy has of course frequently drawn scorn and opprobrium, not least allegations of drug use actually (from someone as senior as the Democratic vice-president candidate). Even his own party has not backed him to the holt, and as voting drew to a close on that historic day we still had no idea. A sense of it perhaps – but still far from explosive.

 

The mainstream media in the US was completely blindsided. Their sheer chutzpah in trying to pull off not one but two Faustian pacts – first with Trump during the Republican primaries, fuelling his rise no end, to the one with Clinton in the home stretch, where they overcompensated to accommodate her own shortcomings, were at times alarming. Yet in what was a sobering acceptance speech, he did find magnanimity to praise Clinton’s public service, and from that note, we may be optimistic about the times ahead of us.

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