November 09, 2016

The 45th President Of The United States… Donald J. Trump


Yesterday Donald J. Trump won the presidential election to become the 45th President of the United States. Now we admit that for many of you this result is profoundly disappointing, and for others it is cause for celebration. We struggled with how to cover this event and decided to give you a dispassionate analysis of what happened and what we think will come.


 2016 Election: America Just Brexited… Amexit?

First, an apology: Before we even continue, we have to apologize. We said that this election wouldn’t be like Brexit but it was, in almost every single way. We spoke confidently of a “Democratic Firewall” but that firewall showed signs of collapse from the closing of the first polls. We pointed you to polls but they were so, profoundly wrong.

Now, what happened: To win, Trump had to sweep the swing states and breach Clinton’s firewall in at least one state. He did that, and some. Trump swept through Ohio, Florida, North Carolina and Iowa like a bull in a china shop. He also delivered on his “rust belt strategy,” taking Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, all considered reliably Democratic states. The electoral count at writing was Trump – 287 and Hillary -218. Hillary didn’t give a concession speech last night. Instead, she called conceded in a private call to Trump and her Campaign Chair John Podesta took the stage around 2am and told supporters to go home and that Clinton would speak in the morning.

Trump offered a conciliatory victory speech, congratulating Hillary Clinton on her “hard fought campaign” and reaching out to the many people who opposed him along the way saying “it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division.” He promised to “reclaim our country’s destiny” and no longer “settle for anything less than the best” as he seeks to make America great again.

Meanwhile, both the Senate and the House remained in Republican hands and marijuana was legalized in Massachusetts, California and Nevada. We’ll need it.

What caused this outcome? Donald Trump’s promise of a “silent majority” of angry, white, working-class voters turned out to be true and much bigger than expected. While we don’t yet have all the data, it is clear that his message resonated strongly in former Democratic strongholds, especially those that are overwhelmingly white. Exit polling showed that voters wanted change, and that a majority of voters thought that he was the candidate of change. Trump also fused powerful populist messages on immigration, law and order and the economy that were distinctly anti-establishment. That potent mixture has proven effective at winning elections in places as disparate as Poland, the UK and the Philippines.

What now?

The Republican Civil War is over and Donald Trump won. For 18 months, we’ve watched the GOP establishment clash time and again with Donald Trump as the party struggled to define itself. Donald Trump destroyed the establishment. Not only did he win the election, but he also delivered the legislative chambers and will tilt the Supreme Court towards conservatives. Paul Ryan might be able to remain Speaker, but Trump now owns the GOP.

The Democratic Civil War is about to begin. Trump hadn’t been crowned the winner before Democrats and the Left began bickering on Facebook. The Progressive wing is blaming moderates for forcing through a Hillary nomination (she won the primaries though). The moderates are blaming the progressives for not realizing what was at stake and being naive. Everyone is blaming the third party holdouts. It didn’t take long for Hillary’s grand coalition to descend on each other.

Look, there are real risks of a Donald Trump Presidency. Markets are clearly worried, with the Mexican Peso and the S&P crashing as results rolled in. There are open questions as to whether Trump will enact punitive tariffs on trading partners which will damage economies without necessarily bringing back jobs. Whether Trump will take seriously the issue of climate change. Whether a conservative Supreme Court will roll back Roe v. Wade or permit voter suppression (we already saw some of that in North Carolina in this election). Whether he will attack the press and “open up the libel laws.” Whether he will actually be able to have an open relationship with Russia or will that descend into a clash of egos. Whether he will give a boon to dangerous populists across Europe and beyond. And finally, whether he will empower dangerous groups, like the KKK, domestically by providing them with rhetorical cover. All of these are valid concerns that the 50% of the country that didn’t vote for him will be looking for answers to in the next few days.

Finally, America will endure. After such a divisive election it was inevitable that half the country would feel scared and despondent no matter the outcome. Remember that this country has survived worse and come out on top. In the words of Winston Churchill: “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing — after they’ve tried everything else.”

We’ll leave you with that. Power to the Pnut!


Let’s Talk About Something Else…

Hungary: Prime Minister Viktor Orban also had a bad day after Hungary’s parliament rejected his attempt to block the settlement of refugees. Orban proposed a bill that would have rebuffed the EU-mandated quota to relocate 1,294 refugees in Hungary. He only needed two opposition votes but parliament wasn’t interested.

Iraq: Never a team to play fair, ISIS forced 1,500 families to march to Mosul, complicating Iraq’s operation to take back the city. An Iraqi government representative said ISIS had taken civilians captive, as well as former soldiers and police officers as they withdrew from the nearby village of Hammam al-Alil.

Hong Kong: Challenging China’s unprecedented intervention in Hong Kong’s legal system, more than 2,000 lawyers and activists participated in Hong Kong’s silent protest. We saw this coming. The demonstration is in response to China preventing two young activists from taking their seats in Hong Kong parliament because of their not-so-subtle anti-China rhetoric at their swearing-in ceremony.

Italy: We apologize to the Americans who are already embarrassed about the election results, but we have to report that the fast food chain McDonald’s is suing the Italian city of Florence for about €18 million just because the city did not want a Mickey D’s in one of its most historic plazas. Florence’s mayor rejected McDonald’s request to ruin every tourist’s Instagram by putting the golden arches in the Piazza del Duomo. A technical panel upheld the decision and insisted that Italy must preserve the city’s ancient vibe, so now McDonald’s is launching a bid for damages.

Yes, I want to sound marginally more intelligent: