Republican leader and billionaire tycoon has won the US’ most tightly contested election and is set to become the 45th president of the United States of America. In his victory speech, Mr Trump has vowed to be the “president of all Americans” and to rebuild the nation that has been more divided than ever. The world and America will be watching closely how Mr Trump lives up to this promise.
Defeating rival Democrat Hillary Clinton, Mr Trump has won well above the required 270 votes to become the next president. Trump has won in key states of Florida (29 electoral votes), Pennsylvania (20), Ohio (18), Michigan (16) and North Carolina (15). The Republicans have also retained control of Congress, winning majority in both the Senate and House.
Vote against Establishment
This pivotal event in American history culminated a drawn-out election campaign that was full of scandals, controversies and gaffes. The results reflect the widespread frustration and anger brimming in American society that extends beyond Washington, D.C., as well a strong anti-Establishment sentiment. Trump’s pet moniker for Clinton – Crooked Hillary – clearly found a ready target in his audiences. Inequality, terrorism and slow growth helped unfetter the groundswell of dissatisfaction, and the Trump election campaign only riled up the American public’s appetite for a break from the existing status quo.
V-day speech: ‘America will be best’
At the podium giving his victory speech, Trump targeted this same line of thought: “It is time for us to come together as a united country…Ours was not a campaign but rather an incredible and great movement made up of millions of hardworking men and women who want a bright future… Forgotten men and women of our country will not be forgotten any longer.” America will be “second best to none” and it will “never settle for anything less than the best.” The work begins now – to work together to “begin the urgent task of rebuilding our nation and renewing the American Dream.”
As exit polls are announced (non-white US citizens with a college degree voted largely for Clinton versus white US citizens without a college degree largely voting for Trump), reactions have started coming in from across the world — Egypt’s Abdal Fattah al-Sisi became the first Arab leader to congratulate Trump. In many parts of the world, shock is the reigning sentiment. Germany’s Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen has called Trump’s advantage over Clinton a “huge shock”). As political pundits deconstruct Mr Trump’s triumph, the question to ask is how Trump will go about making America great again. While campaigning, he has pledged to bring into force the biggest tax cut in history, do away with Obamacare, build ‘The Wall’, put in place stricter immigration policy among many similar-veined pitches; this is being counted in several quarters as an American tragedy heralding the death of neoliberalism and an American withdrawal from the world.
“President of all Americans”
For the moment, he has pledged to “be a president for all Americans” in his victory speech, calling his campaign “a movement comprised of Americans from all races, religions, backgrounds and beliefs, who want and expect our government to serve the people.” He has even reached out to all of his non-supporters in the past for their “guidance and help so we can unify our great country”. Pursuing such a track in the coming weeks and months may be the best indicator of an upcoming presidency headed by a business man, real-estate entrepreneur and reality TV star with no previous political experience who has time and again shown himself to be a nativist, racist, xenophobic and misogynist.
(Ritika Passi is Associate Fellow at ORF)
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