Americans must accept their new president, Donald Trump. Their electoral system has allowed a populist candidate to beat the more popular contender to the post.
More than a month after Trump’s election, the Americans are still processing the result with a mixture of shock, outrage, a sense of betrayal and even suspicion of sabotage by the Russians no less. They are in denial. Americans want to go back to sleep and wake up to a brand new day where Trump is history. So far, there is no substantive effort to dissect, evaluate and acknowledge decades of failed social and economic policies that have brought them to this point and which are probably going to continue with a Trump presidency.
The CIA put out a statement that they suspect that a foreign power, Russia of course, may have interfered with their elections and thereby helped a right-wing candidate to win. Let us be clear here, we are not talking about Costa Rica or say even Denmark, we are talking about the land of the Nixons, the Kissingers, the Reagans, and the Bushes. The era of anything that resembled true Democrats died with John F Kennedy and Jimmy Carter. Clinton was more Republican than the Republicans and Obama’s presidency has seen the decline of a criminal justice system and demise of grass roots organizations. It is not like the US is the paragon of left leaning governments, very far from it.
Furthermore, this report comes from an organisation which has distinguished itself by its unsurpassed record of supporting, nurturing and aiding right wing governments in Latin America (go check Netflix for a few documentaries) Africa and Asia. It is an irony: one could ask, so what is wrong with a right-wing government, if it is good for the sponsored, it must be equally good for the sponsor.
And more importantly, what, pray is the purpose of this report by the CIA after Trump has been declared the president elect.? Or is this the dying cries of a director who is on his way out?
The Mainstream Media (MSM) does not fare any better. They too are still wallowing in denial. Rather than accept that they backed the wrong horse and in the event only heard what they wanted to hear, by accepting polls that confirmed the outcome they wanted, they too have now resorted to blaming the pollsters. They blame the difficulty of getting accurate polls because of one legislation or the other – these legislations were not concocted just for the November elections. Excuse me, if you use SurveyMonkey to poll your friends, don’t complain about the result if they prove to be wrong. They also blame fake news. Were they misled by the fake news too?
And the Democratic Party, that silenced Bernie Saunders campaign before it even started, now blame Russian spies too. There are spooks everywhere you look. But they too have to move beyond denial and accept the result which they helped to secure. Until Bernie Saunders capitulated, he presented a glimmer of hope, and maybe those who rallied around his campaign would go on in the intervening years to build a movement that would challenge the business-as-usual of electoral politics in the US. But that time is still some way off.
And the consolation for the ordinary Clinton supporters: she won the popular vote. If that was all she had to win, then she would be on her way to the White House. But she needs to win the electoral colleges – hey, rules are rules. And it is doubtful that any recount will change the result, at least not without significant upheaval.
The rest of the world has accepted the result and are braising themselves for a Trump presidency, the Chinese are poised, the Taiwanese and the Russians think there is something to look forward to, even Duterte in the Philippines hope that things may be a little different. It is time for the Americans to follow the rest of the world and accept the results rather than wasting valuable time in denial. Americans need to regroup from the ground up, grassroots movements are dead, Bernie Saunders who could have been a leader in a Trump world has decamped, there has to be a centre ground that would hold Trump to account over the next 4 years at least.
There is after all power outside electoral politics. If Americans are unhappy about the state of affairs in their country and fearful of a Trump presidency, they should return to the Civil Rights template and build grass roots organizations to challenge the course in which their country is travelling. It is highly unlikely that electoral politics will deliver the kind of change they are looking for, and rather than looking for spooks under their beds, and chasing their own shadows, facing up to their present predicament with courage and a renewed civil rights movement is more likely to deliver the kind of results they are looking for.
The American spirit is not dead. This is not the time to give in to despair. There is much work to do over the next 4 years.
This article was first published in The European Financial Review on 21 December 2016.