Donald J. Trump has forced his way to the top. He proved every calculation wrong. Data analysts, political commentators, pollsters, media pundits and all those who predicted that the New York real estate tycoon was just a storm in the tea cup are now scratching their heads.
Why did so many people err? There is no single answer. Even most Americans are confused, if we believe the media. The news channels, with CNN leading the way, are wondering why Hillary was routed in the most unprecedented manner. One analyst told a CNN anchorman that Trump's victory was a "political earthquake," but he could not explain the reasons for it.
As Trump's success has become a reality, two questions merit a careful response to steer through the myriad emotions generated by his unbelievable story. First, what did the American voters have in mind while voting for an outsider and unpredictable man like Donald Trump? Second, what will the impact of his victory on American polity and global politics?
I think that voters have sent a clear message to mainstream political parties that they are not happy with the way the country was being run.
Hillary's success would have been an extension of Obama's tenure by proxy. The people rejected it.
Trump used the platform of the Republicans, but it was just the name of the party. He needed a political forum to hang on. So he forced his candidacy on Republicans by using unorthodox methods. Hardcore Republicans were shocked. Some of the leading party leaders even refused to campaign for him. But this only worked in his favor, as he was free of the baggage of known faces - the so called agents of the establishment.
Trump's election has been felt not only locally but all over the world. At national level, he has left a bitter tale behind him and it will be huge task to heal society. Trump mauled opponents on issues like immigration, terrorism and trade. He said what people wanted to hear. Now is the time to take practical steps. If he lives up to electoral promises, including actions against minorities and building a wall on the Mexican border, then he would seriously damage the polity.
Internationally, American allies and enemies are eagerly waiting for Trump to pronounce his preferences. Leaders like Vladimir Putin might feel more confident in dealing with Trump. But across the Atlantic, European friends will need assurance that Trump won't harm their interests while embracing the Russian leader.
Trump's policy towards China and the Asia-Pacific will also be important. He has not dropped many hints to show any major policy change. But he has expressed desire for a closer relationship with India, which could be a source of concern for Beijing.
Already, America is trying to strengthen India to counter Chinese power and influence. A right wing American president might find matching vibes in a right wing Hindu leader like Narendra Modi. The two coming closer for business or strategic purposes should be matter of "importance" for China.
Sajjad Malik is a columnist with China.org.cn. For more information please visit:
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