Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Voice of America

UPDATE: On November 8th 2016 Donald J. Trump won the presidential election and will be the 45th president of the U.S. Contrary to all predictions, pundits, and even his own expectations he became the president elect that evening. There are multiple reasons for such outcome and the election campaign and results will be fodder for writers for years to come. Points for further analysis include:
  • Overreliance on negative campaigning by Secretary Clinton: she tried to convince people not to vote for Trump, instead of to vote for her.
  • Low turnout in swing states. In some cases potentially by voter suppression, notably North Carolina, in others on account of the “Comey Letter,” the FBI Director’s untimely letter to Congress suggesting additional (and eventually unsubstantiated) wrongdoing charges against Secretary Clinton.
  • Third Party votes.
  • Influence of polling and the narrative of an inevitable “Clinton Coronation” on supporters who did not think their vote was needed for her to win.
A combination of these factors resulted in an election in which all expectations were trumped.


Donald Trump is not going to be the 45th president of the United States. That is what most polls and forecasters predict. Electoral Vote, FiveThirtyEight, RealClear Politics and many others would make us believe that is the case. Hillary Clinton only needs 270 electoral votes and the ElectoralMap does not look good for Republicans no matter who the candidates are. So Democrats, progressives, moderates, many Republicans and rational people of all stripes and colors can breathe easy: Trump will be defeated by the Blue Wall. Right?

Clinton: 347 / Trump: 191
Yet, disregarding the fact that complacency seeds defeat, while Trumpism may not elect Donald Trump its legacy may survive him.  Just as the Tea Party before it, Trumpism is a movement rooted in a mish mash of social grievances addressed by populist politicians. Its leading figure, Donald Trump, has galvanized a sector of society that is willing to give him wide latitude with the facts as long as he embodies the frustration they feel. And that wide latitude makes for a big bandwagon in which frustration mixes with dark emotions.

Trumpism is beholden to Trump, a figure that voices a grievance and vows he alone has the truth, the solution and the will to carry it out. His solution is to take: take back from usurpers; take away from enemies; take down those who would question him. Trumpism seeks to ensure that the strong will prevail and the weak annihilated. Trumpism seeks to lead the country to a future new paradise where life will be so much better, just like it was in the old paradise. The tenets of Trumpism are the same ones of totalitarian rule, which thrives on the anxious frustrated seeking someone who will protect them from usurpers, enemies and questioners—and lead them to a promised land.

Donald Trump urges his followers to:
With these tools and techniques he presents himself as the spokesman of truths up until now purposely hid by politicians and “the mass media.” He paints a picture to his audience of an America and the world centered on visions of fear and violence. An America where the only valid optimism is to believe and trust in him as a strong leader that will do an undetailed “whatever it takes” to fight against those dark forces he presents in hyperbolic rhetoric and lead the country back to a paradise lost.

That is the essence of Trumpism, a distortion of what America is. That is not America. America is the Promised Land, the land of opportunity. A place where the daughter of a teenage housemaid or the biracial son of a single mother can become president of the United States. A place where new industries are born, a place where new ideas are bred and tested, a place that prides itself in having the pursuit of happiness as an inalienable right for its people, thus believing that the best is yet to come.

Nonetheless, when Trump loses he will have left the legacy of Trumpism with all its tenets as described: a moral black hole. That is why Americans need to stand up for what our country is about and demonstrate to the world that such legacy is repudiated. In this election it is not only votes that count, it is the voice that must be heard. Trump must not only lose. His ideas on how to change America from a bright land of opportunity for all to a dark divisive territory of suspicion of each other must be rejected soundly.

In this election Red and Blue states don’t matter. Even if electoral college votes of any state remain in their historical trend, people in “red states” have to vote against Trumpism, as many as can do. People in “blue states” have to vote against Trumpism, as many as can do. New York and California must not only be in the blue electoral column, they must overwhelmingly reject Trumpism. Mississippi and Georgia can be in the red electoral column, but by the smallest margins ever. 

The voters of America, the popular vote has to say it loudly: Trumpism does not represent America.  Every vote counts as a voice against Trumpism. We owe it to the world to contain Trump and his ideas within a wall of their own.

 Wall Object created by LA street artist Plastic Jesus (AFP Photo/Mark Ralston)
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