Nov. 8, 2016 was expected to be a big night for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. According to the polls, the surge of women and Hispanic voters, as well as her strong performance in all three presidential debates pointed to an election victory for Clinton. However, Donald J. Trump was declared the president-elect of the United States, winning a majority of more the electoral college votes. What caused Trump’s victory in an unexpected Brexit-like victory?
For starters, Trump was an outsider. The American people are sick and tired of Washington politicians, special interest groups and the so-called establishment. Clinton, on the contrary, was considered the epitome of Washington’s establishment. Apart from her email scandals and her blunders in Benghazi, the Clintons were known for receiving not only huge amounts of money from Wall Street, but also donations from countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Trump, on the other hand, has proven to be one of America’s most successful businessmen, turning a $1 million loan into a $4 billion empire. He self-funded his campaign during the primaries without relying on Super PACs and other interest groups.
The fear of at least four more years of failed Democratic policies was another driving factor to Trump’s victory. For example, Obamacare premiums have skyrocketed, hurting the pockets of the average American voter. Moreover, the signing of a deal with Iran that relieves sanctions from a country that funds anti-American and anti-Israel terrorist organizations such as Hamas. Lastly, the tripling of the national debt have all moved Americans away from the Democratic Party. Trump, on the other hand, spent his entire campaign addressing “elephant in the room” problems like the broken immigration system, his emphasis on the war on terror and the departure of manufacturing companies that have taken away jobs from American workers. These issues have all resonated with many white blue-collar men in the Midwest. It is remarkable that Trump managed to win “blue wall” states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, which have large populations of blue-collar workers.
However, much of Trump’s success comes from the rhetoric of today’s left. Riots in Trump rallies in California and in Chicago, including American flag burnings and physical violence against Trump supporters only helped Trump. The culture of political correctness, of trigger warnings, and safe spaces along with the hostility of the left against different opinions only show that today’s left has gone too far. In short, the attitude of today’s left is basically, “if you do not agree with us you are a racist ,xenophobic transphobic and sexist bigot.” This kind of attitude alienated a huge number of people and only made the support for Trump stringer. Other attitudes included shutting down and depriving conservative speakers of their first amendment rights like Ben Shapiro and Dr. Ben Carson by forbidding them from speaking at college campuses and labeling any kind of speech they disagree with as “hate speech.”
For instance, I used to identify as a more moderate Republican and was critical of Trump during the primary season and started looking into the #NeverTrump movement. However being labeled as a racists because I hung an American flag in my room and believed that something needs to be done to secure our border or being told that I do not care about women’s rights because I am a member of the pro-life movement made my gain sympathy for Trump supporters, leading me to cast a ballot for the Republican ticket on election day.
Of course, Trump is far from the "perfect" commander-in-chief. The fact that he “speaks his mind” and “tells it like it is” has caused many controversies against women and minorities, like the “when Mexico send it’s people they’re not sending their best” or the “grab them by the p***y” comment. However, it must be addressed that he says things that many people would like to say but just do not have the courage.
Trump also made a strong choice in picking Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana as his running mate, a principled conservative with experience in both Congress and in Governor's Mansion. Moreover, Trump has surrounded himself with a group of loyal politicians like former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. He could possibly earn the respect of more moderate conservatives like Speaker Paul Ryan, Sen. Marco Rubio and even Mitt Romney.
It would be needless to say that the next four years are going to be an uphill battle for Trump, but he has proven himself that he has been able to overcome adversaries. He managed to build a tremendous business empire, to negotiate and make tough deals and to beat 16 very talented individuals during the Republican primaries, something deemed impossible by the mainstream media and the pollsters. Thus, now it’s not time to give into the hatred. As Clinton said, “we owe him an open mind and a chance to lead.”