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There is a paragraph in Daniel Levitin’s Sunday Times bestseller, The Organized Mind, that discusses the benefit of approaching failure as a learning opportunity and to illustrate his point, Levitin used Donald Trump as a relevant example. Trump has, throughout his business career, suffered multiple business failures and bankruptcies.
He has not let this or anyone damage his self-confidence or his inflated ego. He is driven by the conviction that, eventually, he will succeed and, often, he manages to restore some of previous his authority and standing. Indeed, Trump’s most recent presidential bid has been powered by that same conviction, but will it be enough to win him the keys to the White House?
What Brought Trump Onto The Stage Now
In previous decades, Trump has flirted with the idea of launching a full-fledged presidential campaign but, for whatever reason, has never seen it through. Perhaps that is why people thought 2016 would be no different. However, the failure of the Barack Obama administration to deliver on many of the promises it had made, coupled with growing inequality and a squeezed middle class, has fuelled the political disillusionment and social anger which are gradually engulfing the American nation. The stage was then set for Trump to make his grand entrance. Armed with an arsenal of nationalist and populist rhetoric, he has galvanised large swathes of the population that have felt disenfranchised and forgotten in the globalised world seemingly run by powerful corporations.
Thus, Trump has surprised America’s establishment, and much of its electorate, by obtaining successive campaign achievements. He won the necessary amount of delegates (1,237) needed to become the Republican Party’s presidential nominee. He also won decisive victories in states such as New Hampshire and became their political front-runner, ousting the likes of Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio. To Trump’s advantage, his political rival and absolute polar opposite, Hillary Clinton, seems to be only slightly more popular than him. Trump has contained a solid base of voter support (primarily consisting of those frustrated with the political and financial elite) because of Clinton’s perceived dishonesty, her closeness to bankers, and her diplomatic ineptitude while she held the position of Secretary of State under Obama’s presidency.
The Assassin Voters
In the earlier stages of the Trump-Clinton rivalry, it was a close call as to who would step into the grand Oval Office. The Trump Train, however, came to quite the halt after an old video of him emerged in which he recalled, using sexist language, the lascivious pursuit of a married woman. The Democrats have consistently brought up Trump’s outrageous comments on economic migrants, up-and-coming foreign superpowers such as China, and women (including his insults directed towards a former Miss Universe winner ) to demonstrate his lack of tact, diplomacy, and even intelligence. As such, they have established a distinct dichotomy between Trump voters, who are depicted as uneducated and hyper-conservative white males, and Clinton voters, who are seen as open and collaborative liberalists. Their hope is that people who do not wish to associate with the reputation of a ‘typical’ Trump voter will either vote for the Democrats or not at all. It is more likely, however, that these voters will lie to the pollsters, and perhaps to others around them, by publically announcing their support of Clinton and her party come Election Day. However, their ballots will be cast in support of Trump.
As the some of the British population still reeling from the effects of the Brexit vote will tell you, these ‘assassin voters’ pose a very real threat to an election whose outcome is seen as easy to predict. However, Trump’s poor performance in the three crucial presidential debates certainly strengthened the foundation for a Democrat victory. Clinton was prepared, cool and focused on her approach and delivery, attempting to highlight the policy issues she aimed to tackle. Trump, however, was somewhat directionless, and much of his discourse, especially in the second debate, was focused on the verbal derision of Clinton and her supporters. Trump’s performance as the atypical politician has helped him garner and maintain his initial support, but when it comes down to who has their finger on the nuclear button, Clinton is widely seen as the safer and more sensible candidate.
On Election Day
Election Day is today, and the suspense has increased as the gap between Trump and Clinton has narrowed again. A recent investigation by the FBI into Clinton’s private email server has eroded voter support for the Democratic nominee. At the centre of the controversy is Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of one of Clinton’s closest aides, Huma Abideen. Weiner has been caught sending sexual messages to a female minor, while aware that she is underage. The effect of Comey’s action, and this quite damaging news has certainly been reflected in the polls. For instance, a Washington Post-ABC News poll, released last Tuesday, reveals that, currently, only 45% of Clinton’s supporters are ‘very enthusiastic’ about voting for Clinton, down from 52% the week before. Thus, in the eyes of many onlookers, this action, being so close to Election Day, may have cost Clinton her victory.
Whether or not Trump wins this election, one can neither deny the popularity he has managed to achieve (a foundation on which he will launch a new reality TV series, one imagines) nor the impact he has on American politics and society. The contest is very close, but Trump will not be President. Clinton’s previous experience, coupled with her current lead in the polls, and the majority of support from key demographic groups will carry her over the finish line. Despite her possible victory, one thing is for sure: American society will remain even more divided due to Trump’s charismatic influence on the 2016 Presidential Election.