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Tuesday 19 November 2019
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The American Mind

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[stextbox id=”info”]To appreciate the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, one ought to think like the people of that nation[/stextbox]

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hile the messaging by Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton was socio-political, that by Republican Donald Trump was politico-economic. It is surprising that the former, with a long public life behind her, presumed that the citizens of the United States by and large thought along the lines of that country’s mainstream media, academia and Hollywood, all of which tilt leftward. Keeping political correctness aside, it can be said that the landmass the White immigrant population occupied after arriving from different parts of Europe was brought to its present shape also by those very Whites. Neither the so-called Red Indians, nor those who crossed over from Latin America, nor the post-World War migrants from Asia made it an attractive destination for the aspiring class across the world. If anybody contributed to it with his blood and sweat, it was the Black man, the African-American who had arrived ages ago during the age of slavery. Both the Whites and the Blacks largely share Christianity. Regardless of the chequered past of their mutual relationship, they long for a certain future of their country where its economics is the greatest of concerns. Naturally, they see themselves occupying prime positions in this scheme of things although they wouldn’t mind other migrants extending helping hands in their act of nation-building. No wonder, Clinton’s appeal to the Blacks did not work; the message to Hispanics and Asians might have. Being a successful businessman who had remarked famously during the election of George Bush that he would enter the presidential race only when he was confident of winning, Trump caught the pulse of his nation right. Who would understand the woes of the White and Black job seekers, increasingly losing employment to better educated Asians, better than a large-scale employer that Trump had been? He thus struck a chord with the electorate.

In the meantime, the Democrats scored two self-goals. One, they vilified Trump so much that he turned into an object of sympathy for the fence-sitters. Two — which is an issue with the system of primaries — they chose such a candidate to voice the concern of the opponent’s alleged bigotry and misogyny who had had a dubious track record. If only they had studied the electoral successes of Narendra Modi, Arvind Kejriwal and Nitish Kumar in India, they would not have made the first mistake. Deciphering the second self-goal warrants a study of the unique American mind. The more obnoxious Trump sounded in every new video featuring him, the more he came across as an average citizen frankly revealing his mindset either in the midst of friends or meeting the demand of a television reality show at a time when he did not hold a constitutional office. In contrast, Clinton failed even to be an honest feminist. Her decision to stick around with husband Bill Clinton, ignoring the Monica Lewinsky and other extra-marital affairs, was still fresh in public memory. It made her come across as a careerist, putting off many a woman. So, while Trump got two dedicated constituencies, those of Clinton got scattered. As a result, even the fact that she got more popular votes did not help her. The shoddy manner in which the FBI settled the dispute over her questionable handling of office secrets via emails did not aid her cause either. The American mind preferred honest candour, howsoever revolting it sounded, to made-up political correctness, for all its refinement. After l’affaire Lewinsky, this was another occasion that portrayed the evolved nature of collective American thinking. Back then, they were less repulsed by the escapades of their president and more disappointed because he had committed perjury. Now, when Trump divided society, they must have brushed the talks aside as typical electioneering parlance. Indeed, when Trump rose to express his gratitude for the people’s verdict, he sounded a changed man. As Modi once told the Indian opposition in this country’s Parliament, the extremes that a campaigner goes to while describing his rivals at the hustings should not be taken seriously, let alone literally. Trump had to take recourse to it for beating as many as 16 competitors in the primaries before taking on Clinton. It takes a democratic people of utmost maturity to appreciate such nuance. Media’s penchant for sophistry clouded its judgement of the sophistication of American people’s political philosophy. They were, hence, Trumped.

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