With Trump in, what does it mean for us across the pond?
As young people living in the UK, the Presidential Election of 2016 does affect us, quite dramatically. Our Prime Minister Theresa May has already come out and congratulated Trump, suggesting that she cannot wait to work with him. Whilst the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, has expressed the grave concern that we have felt about Trump, and what kind of leader he will be.
Firstly, Donald Trump was an unexpected winner and he has no track record of being in politics, so it is pretty impossible to predict what he will want to achieve as President of the United States. Hilary Clinton, who has a terrible record in government, wanted to implement a no-fly zone in Syria which would have (in a worse case scenario) created a conflict between the USA and Russia. This could have manifested itself into a huge all-out war and that would have affected us badly living in the UK. Moreover, Clinton’s fake progressiveness did not seem to be popular with the electorate in the USA. She has been part of the neoliberal elite that has failed so many of the average American voters that are sick to death of bad wages, lack of social stability and economic insecurity that have all worsened since the financial crash of 2008. Her role in the email scandal and her failures as Secretary of State made her unelectable. The rise of terrorist groups and the instability perpetuating throughout the Middle East have come from policies her, and individuals like her, have pursued since 9/11. Therefore it is not really surprising that Hilary Clinton, the ‘no-change’ candidate, did not win.
This does not mean that Donald Trump is the ideal winner of the Presidency however, and as a young, mixed race man, I feel an underlying sense of worry and panic at the mere thought of his triumph. Trump is a bully, a liar, and a misogynist. He plans to tear up Obamacare, on his first day in the White House, which is the USA’s most progressive health care provision ever. His rhetoric concerning Muslims, women, and LGBT and racial minorities have been something we would associate with the BNP or the hard-right within UKIP. However, to the average American voter, Trump’s foreign policy and economic plans are an attractive alternative to the status quo. Trump has been on record as saying he wants stronger relations with Vladimir Putin in Russia to end the current situation in the Middle East. This would prevent a large-scale war and would make it easier for the West and Russia to defeat ISIS. Trump has also said he wants to halt globalism, and to bring back ‘American jobs, for American people’, and whilst this may sound nationalistic, it is a good policy. The average American voter is sick and tired with the consensus and Trump was the change candidate. So whilst we in the UK do know what kind of character Trump is, we do not know what kind of policies Trump will pursue, but they will most likely be different to anything we have seen before.
The fault lies with the Democratic National Convention (DNC). Through the revealings of Wikileaks, we have been able to find out that the DNC actively did not allow Bernie Sanders to win – and now, we are all to pay the price. Bernie Sanders would have been the best President of the United States for them and for us as young people living in the UK. Sanders promoted world peace, a fairer economic system and a recognition that climate change is a global dilemma. Sanders was even polling better against Trump than Clinton was early on, so the DNC wholeheartedly chose the wrong candidate to beat Trump. Both Trump and Sanders were change candidates, one wanted a fairer more equal society and one is a reality TV star. The sad story is that the American people were able to choose between a corrupt career politician or a reality TV star, and they opted for the latter.
We in the UK can not make the same mistakes. The court ruling last week has allowed us to open the debate about Brexit and whilst abhorrent individuals like Nigel Farage want to suppress our democratic system we need to explore all the avenues we can take as a country. Do we want a fair, open and welcoming society or do we want to copy the USA and implement a society that is fearful, suppressed and broken? We need to understand as young people, that immigration benefits everyone, diversity is a blessing and that stirring up fear and hatred, like Donald Trump has, is wrong. We need to unite with the rest of Europe and stop right-wing fascists such as Marine Le Pen from winning influence. They have welcomed Donald Trump’s win with glee as they can see that the political vacuum is opening up to allow themselves to be a part of the conversation. All in all, as Corbyn this morning has suggested, the UK needs to create an ‘alternative’ that is “based on working together, social justice and economic renewal, rather than sowing fear and division”. We need a big change from the status quo, but we need a change that promotes decency, respect and social justice, and that is why I would urge you, as young people, to join the Labour Party and back Corbyn against this wholly unfair Conservative government, who look forward to working with President-elect, Donald J. Trump.
Words by Bilal Akkouche
Edited by Daniel Hawksworth