Experts: US voting results show serious split in American society
17 November 2016. PenzaNews. An unexpected victory of Donald Trump who is to become the 45th president of the United States is actively discussed by international experts analysing the county’s possible changes in foreign policy.
Photo: Gage Skidmore, Wikipedia.org
According to many analysts, the election results demonstrate deep political crisis, and show a serious rift in American society, the great part of which long for drastic change in the government. For example, Mark Chou from Australian Catholic University stressed that the atmosphere in many parts of the US is now one of division.
“America is a country divided and more than 50% of voters think it’s only set to become more divided under Donald Trump’s watch. President Trump faces an uphill battle to appease his die-hard supporters but to unite or not to further alienate his many critics,” he told PenzaNews.
Answering the question about how Donald Trump, who was mocked by the Media and took a stand against the US establishment and the powers within his own party, could become the president, the analyst said this was precisely what helped him win.
“There’s a populist wave rising in many parts of the world. We’ve seen this for some time in Europe, and now in places like Britain and the Philippines too. Even in my own country, Australia, there’s been a re-emergence of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party on the political scene. These trends tell us that many citizens feel a deep sense of anxiety and fear; they sense crises – economic and political – and they want a savior to make everything stop. The establishment is seen as the source of all evil and all their lived problems. Trump’s rhetoric to ‘drain the swamp’ and ‘take back the White House’ proved extremely powerful for the many who feel they are no longer being represented by their political representatives. Nothing short of a fundamental change will do,” Mark Chou explained.
It is impossible to make any certain assumptions about new policies of the country because the president is ready to reconsider some of his promises made during the election campaign: for example, his position on issues like Obamacare change, he said.
“The only predictable thing about Trump is that he’s been unpredictable. […] Few world leaders are quite like this – Kim Jong Un, for instance. Broadly speaking, a Trump White House will cut taxes, withdraw from as many international agreements perceived not to be in the US’ interests as possible. Minorities within the US and climate change commitments will probably also suffer,” the expert said.
Meanwhile, for those who are unhappy with the election results, it’s important to oppose Trump’s policies and not the electoral process and procedures that have brought him to office, he believes.
“There’s a real risk that more damage is being done to democracy through the protests which reject that he is ‘my president.’ There’s a lot that many can do, in their communities, with their elected representatives, to resist what’s happening,” Mark Chou added.
In turn, Henry Brands, a historian at the University of Texas at Austin, member of the Society of American Historians and the Philosophical Society of Texas, also noted that the election results were quite a surprise.
“Many people are shocked. The big question now is whether Trump meant everything he said during his campaign. We will have to wait and see,” the expert said.
Analyzing potential causes that contributed to the Republican’s victory, he suggested that US citizens are tired of the political situation in the country and eager for change.
“Very many Americans are so disgusted with government and elites that they just want to blow everything up. Trump is their bomb,” Henry Brands explained.
According to him, it is impossible to predict President Trump’s policies at the moment.
“Will Trump govern as a revolutionary, or will he yield to the status quo? Time will tell. But till then we’d just be guessing,” the historian said.
Meanwhile, Jennifer Gordon, Professor at Fordham Law School in New York and an expert on immigration policy, reminded that during his presidential campaign, Donald Trump made a series of promises about what his immigration policies would be.
“The most prominent included building a wall between the US and Mexico, for which he would make Mexico pay; creating a ‘deportation force’ and removing all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States; and forbidding Muslims to immigrate to the United States,” the analyst said.
However, now we know little about what Trump will actually do, she added.
“He still insists he will build the wall, but the estimated cost would be approximately 25 billion dollars, and Congress is unlikely to approve that money. For its part, Mexico is a sovereign nation and is under no obligation to fund Trump’s projects. The leading Republican in the House of Representatives has rejected the idea of a ‘deportation force,’ which would cost many billions of dollars. Trump says that he will focus first on deporting what he claims are 2–3 million ‘illegal criminal aliens.’ In fact the number of undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes is probably closer to 800,000. It is unclear how he would fund even that number of deportations in a short period of time,” Jennifer Gordon said.
According to her, Donald Trump now says that he would not bar Muslim immigration but would subject would-be immigrants from countries with ‘high levels of radical Islamic extremism’ to ‘extreme vetting.’
Once Donald Trump appoints his cabinet, we will have a better sense of how he is likely to proceed, the expert believes.
“A number of the people who Trump is considering for key positions, such as Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security, have supported very anti-immigrant policies in the past,” she said and added that there is tremendous anxiety in immigrant communities at the moment.
In turn, Daniel Chirot, the author of Modern Tyrants, Professor of Russian and Eurasian Studies at Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, stressed that the US is badly split now.
“Those more tolerant of minorities and culturally more open were Democrats, and those who were more focused on fears that minorities might take over and less open to the cultural changes that have taken place in the past few decades were Republicans. This promises to continue and lead to permanent conflict between the two sides,” the expert explained.
According to him, the fearful, less urban, more religious, white part of the country still includes about half the population. They voted for Trump, and were not well enough surveyed, the expert said.
“Too many experts did not see that it is more than the white working class that was against Clinton, but a lot of others who dislike change and feel insecure. In a real sense that insecurity is justified as a lot who feel that way are threatened by globalization, but also by technological advances that leave less well educated people stranded,” Daniel Chirot said.
Analyzing potential changes in the foreign policy of the country under its new leader, the expert suggested Washington’s possible weakening.
“The US will be a less reliable international player, there will be less international trade, and in the long run, this leads to a less stable and poorer world. […]One of the bad long term effects will be that bright young people, who already were not joining government service in large enough numbers, will withdraw even more. No modern country can run well without a capable, smart civil service,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tinashe Chuchu from School of Economic and Business Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, suggested that the polls results could mean that some respondents blatantly lied to pollsters.
“How can one explain a democrat loss in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania? The last republican to win Wisconsin was Ronald Reagan in 1984 – in a year he won 49 states. I think the atmosphere in the US can be described by a sense of shock. A democrat win was expected however that ended up not being the case. Unfortunately some cities are currently experiencing protests from Americans that were not happy with the outcome of the elections,” the analyst said.
Donald Trump had a message that resonated with the rust belt: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa and Michigan, he suggested.
“The people in this region of the US felt neglected by the establishment. They lost their manufacturing jobs and blamed the government. He promised to bring back their jobs. This group of voters ended up deciding the election,” Tinashe Chuchu said and added that these four states were states that Democrat Barack Obama carried twice.
In his opinion, the US should expect the new president to honour his promises.
“Donald Trump promised a lot and he will be expected to deliver. He will have control of the White house and both Houses of Congress; on top of that he will be able to appoint a conservative Supreme Court Judge who would make decisions favourable to a republican controlled Washington. The whole world should understand that President-Elect Trump was elected by the American people and their needs come first. The whole world will have to wait and see but they can expect the US to be more conservative in terms of trade deals and immigration policy,” the expert said.
“The world is changing so should its politics. Brexit was a precursor of the Trump victory. It shows that there is a lot of anger from the working class that the establishment needs to address it,” Tinashe Chuchu concluded.