Wednesday, November 09, 2016

First Reflections on US Election.

No point denying it. I was utterly astonished by the result of the US Presidential Election. And yes, disappointed too. I'd been bit surprised by the Conserative victory at the last General Election, greatly surprised by EU Referendum result, but utterly astonished by the Trump victory. Of course it's too early to draw any final conclusions about what it all means. There are some very big questions hanging out there for we Brits to be thinking about.

Firstly, why were we in the UK so misled about how US voters felt. It's clear there must be a massive disconnect between 'Washington' and a big chunk of the American people. The British media presented us with the buffoon Trump, out of touch with today, despised by Hispanics, by women, by minorities. Led most British observers to dismiss a Trump victory as unlikely and unwelcome. It was simply not how Americans viewed him. I should have known better. American businessmen I'd talked to had told me they were backing Trump. When I expressed surprise, they told me the British media were making no attempt to explain the scale of contempt for 'Washington'. They thought Trump would win. Yet again I was conned by the cosy consensus that delivers overseas news to us. Have I really become part of the metropolitan cosy club!! Was equally astonished when Colombians voted down the recent peace deal between their Govt and Farc. That came as a shock to me, but not to modern articulate Colombians I've talked to who cannot stomach wholesale amnesty for years of murder and violence. UK view of the world out of touch again. 

We are where we are. The American people believe in democracy. The defeated Democrats (Clinton and Obama included) have backed the victor, wishing President Trump the best as he takes over the political leadership of America. I think they mean it. They still seem to believe in the American dream, something else our cynical media will struggle with. My guess in that the British media will report every negative story about Trump they can find, while the American media will give President Trump a chance. I must try not to be so easily taken in.

My main concern about President Trump is his attitude towards world trade. Looks as if TTIP is dead in the water. It was looking on its last legs anyway. Seems he's keener on a trade deal with the UK than Obama has been. Good on the face of it. But let's wait and see. Trade relations with China look interesting. And could be very new US policy in the Middle East. Attitude to NATO will be interesting as well. Like most Brits, I've not liked the idea of a President Trump. We've no real idea about what President Trump will be about. Not sure what he's said so far counts for much. But he won. We had best get used to it. It's democracy, US style. No doubt I'll be editing this post tomorrow. 

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