Out of my mind: Him or her?

US Presidential elections 2016: Professionals thought that the irresponsible statements by Donald Trump will make him unpopular. But he won in many primaries.

Written by Meghnad Desai | Published:November 6, 2016 12:05 am
us presidential elections, us elections 2016, us presidential elections, hillary clinton, donald trump, trump india, clinton india, us elections india, world news US Presidential elections 2016: While it is the emails which could be the undoing of Hillary Clinton, the revelation that Donald Trump is a crude male chauvinist is not shocking, as he has never pretended to be anything else. (Source: Reuters Photo/File)

It seems like the closest presidential election in a long time. John Kennedy won by a mere 1,00,000 votes in 1960. The Chicago machine of Mayor Daley had delivered Illinois. Richard Nixon declined to object. Of course, always, there are two separate results. The popular vote is what most people look at. But the real number is of members of the Electoral College on either side. It is possible not to win majority vote but still win. In 2000, Al Gore lost Florida narrowly due the ‘hanging chads’. (American states have separate vote count systems. The Indian way is too advanced.) Florida carries a lot of Electoral College votes and winner takes all.

Watch what else is making news

This election is unique for many reasons. This is the first time a woman candidate has won the nomination of her party. She is of course a thoroughly professional politician, having worked at state and federal level in executive and legislative positions. Plus eight years as First Lady. The Man is a total amateur in politics. He is a businessman, a media star who fronted successful TV talent contests. He is flamboyant. He is the first candidate to have got his party’s nomination without ever having served in any capacity at any level.

The campaign has been unorthodox and often bitter. Professionals thought that the irresponsible statements by Donald Trump will make him unpopular. But he won in many primaries. He got free TV coverage by making outrageous statements. Trump has turned the amateur status to his advantage. His listeners are shell-shocked and unlikely to be surprised by any further outrage. Indeed he has won new votes by plumbing the depths of voters’ prejudices. Democrats are incredulous that he has come this far defying all rules of politics. He claims to be the champion of (white) workers deprived by globalisation. The subterranean message is that when Barack Obama became the first black president, many white voters felt a loss of entitlements. The Tea Party movement, a right-wing populist party which can harness the anger of people who believe they have been deprived, created Trump.

Hillary Clinton’s problems are due to her professionalism. She has a massive sense of entitlement. No other woman has come close to her achievements. But by the same token, it was her arrogance which gave her the idea that she could conduct US foreign policy on her own private email server. How Obama let her do so is hard to explain. Of course he owed a lot to the Clintons when he got elected in 2008.

It is the emails which could be the undoing of Hillary Clinton. The revelation that Trump is a crude male chauvinist is not shocking, as he has never pretended to be anything else. So while the Democrats were cock-a-hoop when the recorded dialogue between Billy Bush and Trump came out, the liberal media jumped on it and then over-gilded the lily by getting many women to reveal that Trump had behaved crudely with them. The lucky break for Trump has come during the last few days of the campaign with more emails being released by the FBI. If you are choosing a president, what would you care about — guarding your country’s secrets or the misbehaviour of the president with women? I predict Him to win.

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App now

  1. M
    Mavala
    Nov 6, 2016 at 7:15 am
    The writer does politics superbably. This piece is well written and insightful. I would love to read what has to say about the politics in South Africa at the moment. India needs this man to teach the next generation of politicians, but more urgently the next batch of journalists.
    Reply
    1. H
      Harikrishnan
      Nov 6, 2016 at 6:18 am
      The way communication have grown have a lot of advantages and even more disadvantages. 100 years back, we will not bothered about a thunderstorm lashing a place 100 km from where we live. Today if the same thing happen 15000 km from where we live, we will attribute it to Global warming and believe that such incidences will make our land submerge in sea in the near future. it doesn't really matter that humans are yet to find a reason as to why the earth is not warming outside,though the Mantle and core which runs to 8000 km (compared to the crust of 30km) which temperature ranging from 1000 - 4300 degree. We are also worried about the pollution created by bursting a few dire crackers in Delhi when a volcanic irruption which spews out gases amounting to bursting crackers in Delhi for months/years, disappears without a trace. Like wise, educated Indians were always feeling bad with the way our politicians behave and conduct themselves. However after watching the way a presidential election is conducted in US either at a personal level or at the way voting is don, we should not have any such bad feeling and could even feel proud.
      Reply
      1. R
        Raj
        Nov 6, 2016 at 3:09 pm
        Not sure, this is the worst US elections I have seen in a long long time, a one horse race (Clinton). The best election was Obama vs McCain (a respectable figure, though I don't subscribe to right wing values). First, it was Obama vs Clinton and then he drubbed the Maverick! After that year, Romney/Ryan could be tolerated, this year is a complete dump. And, is it just me wondering, why is Paul Ryan their Speaker (who never become Presidential candidates)? They made him Speaker and elected Trump, of all people? Who in the world is strategizing for the Republicans?! Seriously, the tea party movement has left the party with a serious brain drain. From Powell, Rumsfeld or David Frum - they've fallen to Cruz, Trump and whatnot... what an epic meltdown post Iraq War...
        Reply
        1. B
          Bhavani Bhaksar
          Nov 6, 2016 at 3:33 pm
          The author is not wrong but I find this an oversimplified viewpoint. It is not just between security and misbehaving with women. It is global warming, regulating wall street, and numerus other issues. It is not just about her being hawkish and him being a lying demagogue. Also, pretending that their decision doesn't affect India is simplistic. Want to admit it or not, the U.S.A is a major player in the world, affecting our politics with our neighbours. Of course, we will survive whoever wins. But our handling of diplomacy will be very different depending on their position.
          Reply
          1. H
            Harry
            Nov 6, 2016 at 1:12 pm
            The world needs a tough man to lead the USA, and the world.
            Reply
            1. B
              BharatK
              Nov 6, 2016 at 11:01 pm
              The writings of Indian journalists are not readable. Most journalists in India come from lower section of the students, thus the poor quality writing and substance. Only readable pieces are from Shri Desai and MJ Akbar.
              Reply
              1. R
                Raveendranath MN
                Nov 6, 2016 at 2:37 pm
                Hillary win will make US what Obama has been doing all thru 8 years - making America a just 'another country'. In that event, the world would be led by undemocratic and autocratic state like China with Islamic countries in tow. lt;br/gt;It was Bill Clinton's lapse, after US emby bombings in Tanzania, which led to Osama strike on Sept 11. Likewise, it was Obama's lowering of guard in Iraq and anti-Bashar crusade which created a security void for ISIS to overrun Alleppo, Raqua,and Mosul.lt;br/gt;US has to reinvent itself by spearheading research, low- cost manufacturing and friendship with Russia which entails a unity of purpose between secular Catholic church and Patriarchal church in Russia.
                Reply
                1. R
                  Raveendranath MN
                  Nov 6, 2016 at 2:34 pm
                  Hillary win will make US what Obama has been doing all thru 8 years - making America tb a just 'another country'. In that event, the world would be led by undemocratic and autocratic state like China with Islamic countries in tow. lt;br/gt;It was Bill Clinton's lapse, after US emby bombings in Tanzania, which led to Osama strike on Sept 11. Likewise, it was Obama's lowering of guard in Iraq and anti-Bashar crusade which created a security void for ISIS to overrun Alleppo, Raqua,and Mosul.lt;br/gt;US has to reinvent itself by spearheading research, low- cost manufacturing and friendship with Russia. The world needs a unity of purpose between secular Catholic church and Patriarchal church in Russia.
                  Reply
                  1. N
                    Narayanan Mahalingam
                    Nov 6, 2016 at 8:59 am
                    Want Trump to win. Would be a great blow to political correctness and bring some frankness into journalism discourse and political discourse. Hope the scared Caucasians fall into the Trump trap!!!!
                    Reply
                    1. G
                      g
                      Nov 6, 2016 at 6:47 pm
                      And it will be Madame Presidente!
                      Reply
                      1. S
                        S.Dinesh
                        Nov 6, 2016 at 3:27 pm
                        If Hillary wins it will be Clinton 2.0 ,and not Hillary 1.0 ! But,of course,women voters will decide Hillary's fate.If Trump wins it will be America's fate !
                        Reply
                        1. V
                          Venkatarama Muthuswami
                          Nov 6, 2016 at 2:32 am
                          At the end of the day, Americans will likely get the Prez whom they deserve!lt;br/gt;Who cares about the rest ? But the rest of world will survive and sustain, maybe with an added entertainment of seeing the Super baffoon leader sitting in Washington D.C.
                          Reply
                          1. V
                            V. Ramaswami
                            Nov 6, 2016 at 4:31 pm
                            Pundits in India as well as the men and women on the street are obsessed about the US election with the singular angle as to which candidate may be more favorable to India, a notable many focusing even on who will be a bigger muslim hater. Their views are driven mostly by stan and their version of realpolitik of the immediate neighborhood.lt;br/gt;When will wisdom come to India and Indians that irrespective of who gets elected in whatever country, that person will be driven by the highest needs of their own nation and their past alliances and bias? When will India concentrate on building a strategy and policy that will make it impossible for others to be on its wrong side? When will it truly internalize its changed position as a nuclear state with deliverable capacities and as a formidable economic engine for the future, no longer to be fettered by the constraints endured by the original nationalist leaders like Nehru and others that forced them to adopt a soft approach and work around through NAM etc?lt;br/gt;The only reason for stan's importance is the potential accessibility it could offer to warm water ports to Russia until now and China recently. The troubles in Ukraine and the recent ones in the seas of Asia underlie that fact even more. India should boldly take the position that India will adopt whatever alliance that makes most sense to itself, even if it be to make itself an alternative to stan for the bountiful gift it can offer to certain non-Western powers. Certainly, it goes without saying that the first priority should be to be not to have to do that by winning the right understanding and appreciation of India's importance by the world's democracies. But it is not happening with the present approach.lt;br/gt;What we need as a nation is a generation of new strategists and a foreign service that can think afresh as truly independent people not carrying a begging bowl and who cannot be bought with bribes either.
                            Reply
                            1. V
                              V. Ramaswami
                              Nov 6, 2016 at 4:14 pm
                              o me, the greatest tragedy of this US election is that: the US of A is divided along many lines - race, color, religion, national origin, gender, educational level, geography, urbanness, etc. - as never before seen in the last 42 years I have been watching the elections and politics; is between two candidates whose faults are remarkably terrible and un-ignorable; more focused on the wrongs than the rights, as well as on anger and hatred expressed or latent. This has been caused by the Tea Party, the extreme right, the declared or undeclared bigots, and sore losers led by irresponsible and self serving persons like Mich McConnell, Ted Cruz, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, and the like along with persons like Ryan whose political ambitions get in the way of a moral stand. They should ume the blame but are trying to shift the blame to a President who has been the best image of the US in terms of his true American spirit, intent, conduct, and character and whose greater potential for doing good for the nation has been stymied by their obstructionism. Equally culpable is Bill Clinton but for whose philandering the US and the world would have never seen Bush elected to do so much harm, the Bill who continues to show his greed and arrogance and lack of a strong sense of ethics by acts such as meeting the Justice Secretary amidst the investigations of his wife.lt;br/gt;The real questions are: Whoever is elected, will he or she be a sane person whose hatred and venom do not dominate decisions and inhibit forging alliances both internally and externally? Can that person accomplish anything in a nation so divided? Will people and elected representatives have the wisdom to unite and work for the nation? Will the American society splinter even more causing an internal implosion of the citadel itself? All other questions at this time are meaningless and less significant.lt;br/gt;For outsiders, may they be reminded that despite all the misadventures it has made around the world, unmindful of the pain inflicted even on innocent civilians, the USA is still a benefactor of the world and the democratic ideal. Its continued stability and prosperity are essential to world order even if its arrogance, hegemonic power, and ambition are dangerous as shown by recent history.lt;br/gt;Like everything else, those who decide for negative reasons will only sow the seeds for later regret and set the clock back by many decades. It appears that there are few who will vote with positive reasons.
                              Reply
                              1. Load More Comments