2016 saw ground-breaking changes in the realm of politics, with Donald Trump’s victory being the greatest of them all. Last year saw him become the 45th President of the United States, having defeated opponent Hillary Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election.
To many, this translated into fear, anxiety, worry and despair.
How could a reality TV star, and a non-politician, win the election? It is quite understandable why people despaired – after all, Clinton appeared to be much more credible opponent, not to mention, her views reflected the postmodern society we live in today. As a former First Lady and Secretary of State, there was no way of her losing to Trump. She had the inside knowledge that Trump could only dream of. One could even argue that her loss was completely unfair. Although Trump technically won the election, he lost the popular vote by 2.8 million votes behind Clinton.
This was unfair.
This recent election clearly demonstrates the idea that Politics is no longer a fair game, instead being one of backhand tactics and ‘playground insults’. Trump constantly referred to Clinton throughout his campaign as being ‘crooked’, stating that as a woman she was in not a credible candidate to be President. He even referred to her husband as ‘the worst abuser of women in US political history’. Trump’s abusive campaign, though ridiculously offensive at times, proved to gain him a seat in the White House, despite his repetitive ignorant statements, not only towards Clinton, but towards Ethnic groups, the LGBTQ+ community and women.
This was unfair.
The 2016 election can best be characterized as a mix of slander, insults and undercover research. 11 days before the election, the FBI announced they were examining emails sent by Clinton – catastrophically, it was only 2 days before the election where they announced she would not face criminal charges. The damage had already been done; this scandal cost her the vital support of females. This political election became about who could damage the other’s reputation best; what ‘dirt’ could be extracted about the opponent, instead of a war about effective policy and the best elect for the people of America.
This was unfair.
How can a man who clearly had no self-regard or respect for women ever become the next president? If Trump has no regard for one woman, how could he ever act on behalf of the women of the United States? Alarmingly, this had no effect on the white female population – 53% of white, American women still ended up voting for Trump, compared to 43% voting for Clinton. If Clinton’s whole campaign message was ‘I’m with her’, why were most these women not?
Politics is no longer solely seen a vehicle of positive change.
It has fostered strong feelings of ‘us’ vs ‘them’, creating ideals of xenophobia and intolerance. As seen with the Brexit referendum, of the 30 areas with most people identifying as ‘English’, all ’30 areas voted to Leave’. They wanted to make England great again (i.e. remove all traces of non-Englishness). Trump is aspiring to do the same thing. By appealing to this language of ‘them’ and ‘us’, he has vowed to make America great again at the expense of others. Thus, he has proposed a wall to stop Mexicans bringing their ‘drugs, crime and their rapists’ and is proposing a ‘Muslim register’ whilst banning them from entering the US.
Politics has become the breeding ground for hate, intolerance and bigotry. Is this fair? I think not.