7 Lessons Kenyans Can Learn From Trump’s Victory.



Donald J. Trump’s win was one of the most astonishing victories in American political history. It has left millions in the US and beyond in shock and asking: “How did Donald Trump grab it?”

Hardly anyone saw it coming, except maybe the alternative media. All the established pundits, pollsters and mainstream media gave the billionaire businessman no chance but “Mr. Brexit” pulled off an unexpected victory, becoming the 45th president-elect.

Donald Trump's surprise win provided several political lessons, including the fact that polls cannot be trusted.

1. You need to ‘connect with the voiceless’.
One lesson that we learnt is that any candidate who resonates with the challenges affecting with the majority of the downtrodden carries the day regardless of their political affiliation. Trump’s biggest support base was among uneducated white men, people who felt that they have been left behind in the current economy and angry with the Washington elitists. It was for this reason that Donald Trump campaigned on his ability to create jobs and economic success.

The other point here is the elite are known to be very vocal and will readily offer moral support but they rarely get out to vote. They are usually very comfortable with the status quo and rarely devote their time to vote.

2. You got to rally your support base to get out and vote.
Very big crowds in one’s political rallies and big support base on social media amounts to nothing if they do not get out and cast their votes.

Trump was able to inspire these group of voters to get the vote out even in states where he didn't have efforts on the ground. White men without college degrees voted in their droves, while elites stayed back and follow the proceedings online.

3. It is never over until it is over.
The traditional view of recent American elections gave even more reason to think Hillary Clinton was safe. But she under-performed in key counties in swing states in what can be presumed as voter apathy or assumption that she had already won. Her losses in Florida and Pennsylvania showed that the voter turnout amongst her strongholds was significantly down. It seems many of her supporters stayed back at home with the notion that, just as the pollsters had predicted, Trump definitely had no chance.

The Democrats were far more dependent on white working-class voters than many believed. On the other hand, Trump was able to rally his troops to get out and vote in droves as every vote counted.

4. You got to have that political ruthlessness and instinct of a jugular.
Trump sure had a way with words. He also broke all the rules about politics by launching personal attacks from the get-go. He never let up and rarely apologised. That bluntness endeared him to the half of the electorate that was sick of “political correctness” and politicians who never delivered on their promises. Even his insults of Mexicans, Muslims and women confirmed what his supporters wanted to hear—a non-politician who “tells it like it is.”

5. The baggage of office can come back to haunt you.
Just as in the case of Opposition leader Raila Odinga branding the Jubilee as very corrupt, Trump was able to brand Hillary as a beneficiary of a corrupt system a factor that perfectly drove up her negatives. This made Trump’s own outrages more acceptable to his supporters and especially when he reminded people that she was a politician who stood for the status quo, not a good combination this year.

As the wife of a former president running to succeed a two-term Democrat, Hillary was the ultimate face of the establishment in a year that was all about change. People who perceived themselves to be caught in an economic downdraft – their children would be worse off than they were – wanted a simple fix and Trump seemed to provide it.

6. A revolt against elites can cause an upset for incumbent.
For the past 40 years, America's economy has whittled blue-collar paychecks and devalued the type of work they did best. It shuttered factories and mines and shops in their communities. New industries sprouted in cities where they didn't live, powered by workers with college degrees they didn't hold.

Trump's shock victory was about a lot of things: prejudice against people of colour, the perceived negative impacts of globalisation, and fear of America's Muslim community are only a few.

On Tuesday, their frustrations helped elect Donald Trump, the first major-party nominee of the modern era to speak directly and relentlessly to their economic and cultural fears. It was a “Brexit” moment in America, a revolt of working-class whites who felt stung by globalization and uneasy in a diversifying country where their political power had seemed to be diminishing.

It was a rejection of the business-friendly policies favored at various points by elites in both parties, which deepened trade relationships with foreign countries and favored allowing more immigrants in. And it was a raw outburst at the trends of rising inequality and economic dislocation that defined America's economy thus far this century.

Donald Trump, even though he is a billionaire elitist, was able to position himself as a “man of the people.” His populist rebellion against globalisation, open borders and the neo-liberal world order that emerged from the Cold War claimed its biggest victory just in the same way we saw with the U.K.’s Brexit vote in June.

Trump courted working class whites by promising a restoration of the old industrial economy — through renegotiated trade deals and tariffs on imports; by pledging to deport immigrants, which he said would reduce competition for native-born workers; and by promising rapid economic growth from tax cuts, deregulation and more drilling.

A great lesson here is that policies need to be people-centred and if possible emanate from the masses.  Politicians come up with great policies that leave a lot of people behind. Trump’s victory showed that, no matter how much of a false prophet he was, attention must be paid. Trump victory is viewed as a win for the little guy over the elite. Trump’s win meant that people do not care about the character of the saviour. It pays to listen and try to understand it.

7. Women have a long way to go.
It does need rocket science to sense that some Americans could not stomach the idea of a female president. Save for a surge of support for Clinton among college-educated white women that suggested that Trump’s sexist remarks were costing him.

Wayne Hayes of Jasper, Indiana said: “Boy, were we not ready for a woman president. Not this century. Women can’t be trusted. They’re emotional, they think clothes are important, and might try to get revenge for the last 6,000 years.”

Sexism was dominant in this election from the beginning. None of Trump’s misogyny deterred his supporters and instead of condemning his comments, they began imitating him, flaunting "Trump that bitch" T-shirts and signs that read "Hillary for Prison 2016".

And in a final act of endorsement of his sexist behaviour, his supporters — the majority of which were men — voted in droves. Exit poll data showed 53% of men voted for Trump compared to 41% who opted for Clinton.

When news of Trump’s win broke, a social media movement sprung up calling for the repeal of the 19th amendment — to ban women from voting.

But it wasn't only men that elected Trump: 42% of women, and 53% of white women, voted for him, too. It is now being argued that women too just weren't inspired by the idea of having a female president.
There were grounds to believe that America would elect a woman to its highest office, especially when the choice was so easy: On the one side, the single most qualified candidate in recent memory, perhaps in all of US history. On the other, an almost unpresentable contestant, with such a profound lack of decency and respect—for women, for minorities, for people with disabilities, you name it.

But America would rather have a president who calls its women pigs than elect a woman themselves. It would rather vote for a man who brags about sexual assault and unapologetically objectifies other people, rather than vote for a woman who has spent her life trying to convince her country, and the world, that “women’s rights are human rights.”

That is something for Kenyans to ponder.
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