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Lessons from Trump

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US President-elect. Donald Trump / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB

US President-elect. Donald Trump / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB

One major lesson that should be learnt from the Trump’s win in the just concluded 2016 presidential election is that no person on this plane has the power to control the world. The forces that control the universe are invisible and beyond human imagination. Otherwise, how could it be that Donald Trump, the explosive and hot-blooded Republican contender, apparently disliked by many, eventually won the election? Democratic candidate rival, Hilary Clinton, was visibly more favoured than Trump. Popular opinion polls confirmed it.

I subscribe to what Franklin Graham said that the media did not understand the “God-factor” in Trump’s win. Evangelist Graham, president of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said after he has travelled across the United States this year, holding prayer meetings at each state capital, that he could sense that “God was going to do something this year.” He hailed the Trump win as “the biggest political upset of our time.”

The victory of Donald Trump, has added to the shock of the 2008 election that saw Barack Obama, the first ever black man, emerged as president of the United States. Just as the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, was never favoured to win, the tide was similarly against Donald Trump, at least from the surface. The silent political movement that swept the two men into power was not seen by pundits; and that explains why the shockwave was global.

The election of Barack Obama made men, women and children weep. I remember Rev. Jesse Jackson, among many others, shed tears of joy after Obama was declared winner in the hotly contested election. It was historic and unbelievable. It was like a nightmare. The same scenario played out with Trump. Tears flowed freely – tears of joy and disappointment. Few people never believed that Hilary Clinton was not going to be the 45th president of America.

The withdrawal of support by several Democratic Party stalwarts, at the height of the campaign, was absolute discouragement. Trump’s zeal was nearly dampened, as it appeared he was at war with his party establishment. Colin Powel, chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mitt Romey, Jeb Bush, Larry Pressler and Michael Bloomberg were among the leading anti-Trump campaigners. How then could he expect to make headway with such formidable internal opposition? His win is dumbfounding to a host of political opponents. The onus is now on Trump to build bridges and reconnect people. It is better to have more friends than enemies, if not for any other thing, to have peace.

Trump’s frosty experience within his party ranks and his doggedness and tenacity is a virtue worth imbibing. It is often said that winners don’t quit and quitters don’t win. There is no better way by which this principle resonates than in Donald Trump. Trump demonstrated that a committed mind; a mind with a vision, gunning for the heights, is unstoppable, irrespective of the hurdles on the way. And in making such move, one should not be distracted with criticisms, no matter how

Election 2016 in America was extraordinary in many respects. It exposed the fact that humans, indeed, politicians, are the same everywhere; the only limiting factor is the legal strictures and their enforcement. The amount of venom poured in the course of campaigning was shocking and may be unprecedented.

Whereas, the electioneering campaigns kicked off with debates over issues, everything changed towards the end. Rather than concentrate on issues bugging America and the world, the contestants threw decorum to the winds and instead rained insults and abuses on each other. The world was scandalised with the level of indecorum. Donald Trump was particularly toxic. He rained caustic language on virtually every person that crossed his path.

Apart from continuously and vigorously leveling a barrage of allegations ranging from corruption to disloyalty against his rival Hilary Clinton, he went on to accuse President Barack Obama of founding ISIS, the murderous Islamic militants ravaging Iraq and Syria. Trump also had a brush with Pope Francis for suggesting that he was “not a Christian”.

The insults and abuses overshadowed the campaign. Little light was thrown on the economy, worsening global terrorism, the war in Iraq and Syria. On the domestic front, rather than forge unity in diversity, threats of building a wall on the Mexican border, deportation of undocumented immigrants and anti-Islamic sentiments, created more apprehension.

For many in Nigeria, and indeed, Africa, the conduct of the 2016 election in America mimicked what plays out during elections in this part of the world. The politics of hate, rancour and acrimony was not exclusive to Africa. How America descended to this infantile level is the question people are asking? Would America, after a disgraceful election campaign, have the moral fiber to counsel others elsewhere? The world looked on America for direction when it comes to democratic governance. We now know that that there are no angels among humans. The quest for power is at the centre of human aspiration.

There was also the issue of polling predictions that misled many with totally wrong forecasts. Not one news media was flawed but practically all and these were reputable organisations. All the pollsters and predictions showed Hilary Clinton winning. In Nigeria, Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka and Prophet TB Joshua of the Synagogue of All Nations in Lagos also predicted a Clinton win. Soyinka even threatened to tear his American Green Card if Trump wins.

But Chanakya the fish in Chennai, India as well as a Chinese monkey described as “king of prophets,” predicted that Donald Trump will win. The prediction of the psychic creatures did not resonate. The world was shocked when Trump was declared winner, thereby making nonsense of the polls.

The question is what happened. The gross failure of the polls’ predictions puts a big question on what otherwise should be an acceptable scientific exercise. A lot of confidence is usually placed on opinion polls. But how the pollsters got everything wrong remains an enigma.

The mass protests that greeted Trump’s win across America showed that democracy could be endangered anywhere if politicians fail to comport themselves. It is not that people are against Trump but against his unbecoming utterances. Fear and apprehension are at the root of the protests. He needs to reassure the people that he is not what he said and that he will preserve the integrity of America.


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