Africa & Beyond

Injudicious Shade of Democracy

Against many opinion polls and predictions by political and economic surveyors, the predatory American businessman and reality television star, Donald John Trump, won the Tuesday, November 8, 2016 American presidential election. Though he lost the popular votes cast, with 60,261,924 (47.30%), he defeated Secretary Hilary Clinton who scored 60,828,358(47.75%) by securing 306 out of the 538 electors in America’s less democratic and weird electoral college. This may require further explanation.

Donald Trump (
Donald Trump (

Like Nigeria, the United States of America (USA) has a bicameral federal legislature called the Congress, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Rarely have the members of the Congress gone beyond the Democratic and Republican parties. Congress has 535 voting members: 435 Representatives and 100 Senators. The Electoral College is constituted by the American Congress. Unlike the case of Nigeria where the voters directly elect the President, the voters in the US do not directly elect the president. It is the electors of the Electoral College who directly “elect” the President. How is that so? Simple. Each state has as many electors in the Electoral College as the total number of representatives and senators it has in the Congress. With a slight variation made by the States of Maine and Nebraska by tradition, when a presidential candidate wins the popular votes of a state, he or she automatically wins all the votes of the electors in the Electoral College from that state. Though not a state, Washington DC has only three electors in the Electoral College. That is why the total number of electors in the Electoral College is calculated to be 538, instead of 535. The Electoral College will perform the ceremonial voting on 19th December 2016.

Moving on, Trump was destined to win the election for the presidency of his atavistic America. Hillary Clinton is too neat, poised and polished for present-day America. American white men have had eight years of Barack Obama’s rule; they are not ready to jump from a black man to a white woman who has such solid ties with the blacks. The present America is a throwback to the era he was born. Mind you; Trump is of the same age as Bill Clinton and George Bush. They were all born in 1946. The two had carried the fabled rainbow America to the world in their respective ways. While Clinton was a symbol of persuasive America, Bush was the face of brawny real power side of America. Trump, on the other hand, is a vanguard of the resurging American ultra or extreme nationalism, with its vices like racism, bigotry, xenophobia, white supremacy mentality and anti-liberal trade policies. Hillary Clinton had spent most of her adult life attending to public problems and was therefore moulded to be positive about the American dream values enshrined in the American constitution. To her, America has come a long way; America has gone too far to return to its old racist and divisive self. Clinton has been a global player and understands that America’s ascendancy in global politics is strengthened more by its democratic and social values than its military strength. She is aware that every democratic country in the world mirrors itself against the American society, and hers was therefore not just a fight to win the presidency but to save the soul of America. In the midst of all the challenges thrown at her, she remained presidential, winning all the three presidential debates and lifting the hearts, minds and souls of women across the continents. She was president in my heart and many others in the world. Her presidency would have been a cherished and invaluable gift to the world. I am certain that not too many of her global supporters have recovered from the infernal blow of her cruel defeat at the November 8 polls.

On his side, Trump has been a profiteer all his life. This partly explains his lack of patience and tolerance for anything that does not seem directly beneficial to him. Like most businessmen, Trump’s concentration span is short. He indeed surpassed expectations in his debate performances. Business people are players. Intrigues and manoeuvres occupy a large area of their sixth sense. While Clinton was busy sermonising, Trump was working on the sores and bruised egos of the right wing or ultra white supremacist Americans. He knew that without fear, scapegoats and a supernatural being, there would have been no religion. He created a religion of imminent fear among white Americans. He peeped through the cracks in the whitewashed walls of the American Society and noticed how deep the lacerations of the racial tensions were. He correctly gauged the hatred that the majority of the whites have for the Muslims. He cleverly latched on these societal sores like a leech. He moves on after clinching deals to hunts for the next prey. He became the mouthpiece for the extreme nationalists who want America to beggar Mexico, China and all the countries they blame for the economic problems of America. As between him and the world, God will be mistaking if He chooses to save the world. He personifies Machiavellianism.

Before the US elections, the world was also stunned by the British voting to exit the European Union. Before the referendum of June 23, 2016, not too many people outside Britain gave a serious thought about the possibility of Britain exiting the European Union (EU). The case is not that all had been well with British membership of the EU, the truth being that part of her had – since 1973 when Britain joined the European Economic Community that transformed into the EU on 1 November 1993 – felt uncomfortable with the supranational authority of the EU.  The case is that the EU is considered to be the flip side of extreme nationalism which had plunged Europe, and invariably the world, into two world wars. Also, the EU has made a good case for cooperative governance. Being a major player in a union of 28 countries with a total population said to be over 510 Million and with a single market that allows for free movement of people, goods, services, and capital, most analysts took it for granted that Britain would stay in the EU. The world was therefore naturally stunned by the fact that 52 percent of those who participated in the referendum voted for Britain to quit the EU. Many guesses have been made as to why the British opted for the unthinkable. Some pundits blame it on the EU’s laws and policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries, and regional development as well as free movement of nationals. Some say that the fear of terrorists underscored their decision.

I do not have any personal guess regarding why the British chose to retreat to their cocoon in a world that more than ever before encourages beyond-border governmental and economic cooperation. But I can describe the world that the ultranationalists are dangerously propagating. On foreign relations, it is the world in which countries are to adopt economic policies that will beggar their neighbours. By that policy, America and Britain are to adopt internal economic policies that are targeted at specific countries in order to worsen their economic woes until they fall on their knees and become beggars. For those of you who are not students of economic history, I will advise you to pick up Adam Smith’s  An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Book IV, Chapter III (part II). In describing the cutthroat competition that best describes the trade wars that precipitated the Second World War of 1939 to 1945, Adam Smith submits:

The sneaking arts of underling tradesmen are thus erected into political maxims for the conduct of a great empire … By such maxims as these, however, nations have been taught that their interest consisted in beggaring all their neighbours. Each nation has been made to look with an invidious eye upon the prosperity of all the nations with which it trades, and to consider their gain as its own loss. Commerce, which ought naturally to be, among nations, as among individuals, a bond of union and friendship, has become the most fertile source of discord and animosity.

Internally, theirs is a racially motivated world, a narcissist world that abhors racial integration and prefers segregation. The British felt devalued by the suzerainty of the EU. Yielding a part of their sovereignty and surrendering it to a pool they do not have total control over remind them of the plight of their erstwhile colonial subjects. America is a country living in self-denial. It is an immigrant country. The immigrants have since banished the Red Indians and other original inhabitants to a muted background. Those claiming the country are at best earlier immigrants who are now fearful of getting the Red Indian treatment. Those whose flag Trump carries are the immigrants like Trump himself who presumptuously arrogate to themselves the toga of owners of America. They want a halt in the American immigrant policy and its dangerous liberalism that has allowed a Blackman like Obama to rule them. They are fearful of the procreativeness of the Latinos, Blacks and Muslims. They see the demographics favouring the future generations of these species of nonwhites and saw the opportunity on the ballot to halt the drift. Hilary Clinton’s team could not do a projection of what (why?) Obama was emphasising regarding the components of the ballot. Unlike the Arabs, who are killing themselves with bullets and bombs, the extreme nationalists, who include deplorables, believed in the efficacy of the ballot and therefore bided their time. They nonviolently halted the total liberalisation of America and are hoping that their Trump will return it to its conservative past.

While the projections about the popular votes turned out to be true, the forecasts on the electoral votes left out very many vital historical components. In the first place, the majority of the population and voters in such battleground states like Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Michigan that were expected to vote for Clinton are white.  They voted for Trump and thereby swung the election in his favour. A closer look at the following demographics also points out what Clinton missed out in her campaign: 81% of the conservative Republicans voted for Trump. The so-called independents were not that independent as 48% of them voted for Trump, as against the 42% who voted for Clinton. Trump was able to chip into more of the Democrats (9%) than Clinton did with the Republican(7%). This also means that Clinton got less of the votes of the Democrats (89%) than the Republican votes that Trump got (90%). So, whereas the Republicans gave a picture of a divided house during the campaigns, they were more organised and united at the polls. Trump was also a more favourable candidate among the male voters. He got 53% of the total male voters, as against Clinton’s 41%. Married men were even less impressed by Clinton, as 58% of them voted for Trump, as against the 37% that voted for Clinton.  The racial and ethnic votes also told their story. 58% of the white votes went to Trump, as against Clinton’s 38%.  63% of the White men and 53 of the White women voted for Trump, while Clinton got only 31% of the white male votes and 43% of the White female votes. Except for the Jewish, Muslim and non-religion voters, all shades of Christianity voted overwhelmingly for Trump. In fact, Trump got 81% of the votes of the born-again Christians and 60 % of the votes of the Protestants. It is only the Catholics who gave 45% of their votes to Clinton. Even white college graduates voted more for Trump than they did for Clinton. Expectedly,67% of the white non-college degree holders voted for Trump. Of course, the rich voted for Trump. Clinton lost 64% of the votes of those who were concerned about immigration, and 54% of the votes of those with fears about terrorism. Clinton also lost in the suburbs and rural areas. In fact, she lost 62% of all the votes from the rural areas.

It was not all bad for Clinton in the core demographics. She got 84% of the votes of the Liberals and 52% of the moderates. She had 90% of the votes of the democratic women and 87% of the democratic men. She also got 54% of all the women who voted as against the 42% who voted for Trump. Although married women voted for her, it was the non-married women who gave 62% of their votes, as against the 33% who voted for Trump. This may have to do with her liberal stand on abortion. Of course, 88% of the Black votes went to her, as against the 8% that went to Trump. 62% of the Asian and Hispanic votes and 56% of the other non-white votes also went to her. Surprisingly, the youth, who were indifferent to her during the campaigns, voted for her more than those who are 40 years and above. She got her highest percentage of votes from voters within the ages of 18 to 24 with 56% of them voting for her as against the 35% who voted for Trump. She got most of the votes of the Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals (LGBTs) with 78% of them voting for her as against the 14% who voted for Trump. She scored very high marks with voters who were concerned about Foreign Policy and the Economy. It is indeed a credit to her that she had a higher rating on the economy than Trump.She was also the clear favourite of all city dwellers in the US, as she got 59% of their votes. 58% of Americans with postgraduate degrees who are also in the mean city dwellers also voted for her.

In summary, the votes of the whites, white supremacists, the elderly, the rich, the bigots, the Christians, the Conservatives and the residents in the suburbs and rural areas who form the core of the extreme nationalism that Trump symbolises surpassed the votes of all others during the Tuesday, November 8, 2016 election. In a word America’s balance sheet on racial and religious tolerance or liberalism is still on the red. America can hardly henceforth be the moral bearer of the world. We all now know that the core of America is still rooted in the prejudices and racial intolerance of the era in which Trump was born.

The question is: can the message of Clinton’s defeat be lost to the American Democrats and democracies across the world? I hope not. 2020 is yet an opportunity for them to revenge. They have seen and I pray they keep in mind the foxiness of the Republicans who never flaunted their trump cards – the whites, suburb and rural dwellers in all their campaigns. They knew that even though Clinton has a better Christian pedigree, Trump represented the inner values of the American Christians. Trump could be a philander, a woman groper or disrespecter of women but he hates Muslims and will not be a crusader of LGBTs. To the American average Christians, that category of persons cannot be their neighbours. The more Clinton flirted with them, the more votes she lost to Trump. The democrats cannot also be lost to the fact that Trump has in the final analysis defined or exposed the core values of the republicans. The pretences of the suited republicans were all for the camera and for future escape routes. As the ballot exposes, most were well pleased with Trump.

The American statement of results of the two candidates is very similar to that of the Brexit. The city people, the liberals, moderates, career people and professionals are losing the Democratic plot in two of the world’s oldest democracies. The conservatives and coalition of ultranationalists have been shepherded into easy victories with rhetorical schemers. The two events have made a huge statement about the ballot. The two of oldest democracies in the world surely have one or two things to learn from them.  In the first place, they have raised the premium and the price tag of the ballot. For those who had expressed the wish to see the ballot being expressive, effective and valued, their dream is fast becoming true. Washington has been told in plain language that one day the people will install through the ballot some personnel of naked men to occupy it and drive away the scheming wheeling and dealing men in suits. The American and British deplorables in the suburbs and rural areas are beginning to feel the fire power of their ballots and are voting in a manner that is determining the democratic outcomes in those two countries.

Their choices may be catastrophic, but the message should never be missed. Democracy is about the people and not about the intelligent, enlightened, progressive, positive-minded and forward-looking members from among the people. It is about the mean from the portmanteau: potpourri or mix of people, including – but not limited to – deplorables, idiots, uneducated people, morons, unintelligent, lazy and lousy layabouts, bigots, narcissists, racists, criminals, perverts etc. As long as the ballot remains the foundation of democracy, values, standards and quality of governance will be generated and maintained by the average or mean. It is therefore absolutely imperative for the elite to ensure that people in the latter category are rescued or redeemed from their ignorant slavery or deplorable and depraved lives. America, Britain and indeed the democratic world need to embark on an affirmative action to extend government and its benefits to the suburbs and rural areas. Whenever they fail, foxes like Donald Trump would cash in and bring their wandering chicken home to roost.

Trump has shown that he is better than Niccolò Machiavelli. His is not about the theory of how to capture and maintain power. His is the best-unscripted reality show on how to capture power. Here is a democrat who noticed that he had no chance under the heavens to clinch the Democratic Party Ticket. But as he is credited to have said decades ago, he saw that the Republican Party is made up of dumb people who believe anything on Fox News. He could lie and they would still eat it up. His is an injudicious shade of democracy, but who says there is justice or morality in Politics?



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