So, what next?

Niall Flynn /
Nov 11, 2016 / Opinion

Ah. Here we are.

The United States of America has chosen a new president. His name is Donald Trump. If we were to put it diplomatically, it’s fair to say that he’s not a very nice person. However, in 2016, it seems that putting things diplomatically is considered most unfashionable. So, let us get with the times: the man is an awful, awful cunt.

But this isn’t about the sheer, unfiltered awfulness of America’s president-elect. There’s enough of it on the internet; by now it goes without saying. Rather, this is about the part that we don’t already know. This is about what happens next.

It would be easy to conclude that everyone who voted for Trump is a bigot. In some ways, it’d probably make the whole thing a little more computable. “There’s nothing anyone could have done, those horrible people just cannot be reasoned with,” – you know, that kind of thing. A large proportion of those who chose to Make America Great Again were well-versed in their poisonous bigotry, no doubt. But not all. To simply dismiss 59,704,733 US citizens as unintelligent, psychotic racists would be to ignore a very real problem. If anything, it only further contributes to it.

Throughout his presidential campaign, Donald Trump made anger his currency. Why? Because there are lot of angry people in the United States; most of whom have genuine reason for such resentful disillusion. For years, America – and, to be specific, its political establishment – has failed the working classes. You only have to look to the Rust Belt (which pretty much single-handedly passed Trump the keys to the White House) to see the extent to which innumerable amounts of people have been left behind by wider society. Washington complacency rationalised these people as castaways, to that what remains is an indignation; a desire to ‘get even’. Alas, Enter The Donald.

They’re laughing at you.

They’re laughing at us.”

We’re going to build a wall.”

The thing about hatred, is that it’s incredibly convenient. If a loud-talking man in a suit gets on-stage and tells you that a particular cohort of people are the reason behind your own, personal misfortune, it serves to believe him. It’s easier to comprehend and accept when rationalised as something that you could do nothing to prevent.

I’m an outsider, too.”

Let’s Make America Great Again.”

Again – incredibly convenient. Populism tends to be. Trump’s voters saw him as an extension of themselves; they saw him as someone being sneered at. When the Democrats (and the rest of the GOP, for that matter) looked down their noses at Trump, this was just another slap in the face for those that had chosen to listen to him. Every joke told at Trump’s expense was a joke told at theirs, too. These are people who felt as if the world has been laughing at them for the past decade. For many, it was one jape too many. Had the Democratic Party taken a second to remove Trump from the exclusive frame of which he had crafted for himself, they may have been able to stop him. Instead of genuine, political confrontation, they chose to treat him as the loon. “Well then they’re calling us loons, too,” cried the people. Thus, more anger, more resentment.

Trump’s greatest trick was the manner in which he moulded such an identity. Donald Trump. Donald. Fucking. Trump. Every time he shouted about the working classes, you half-expected him to burst into a fit of giggles. A man who gunned for – and, subsequently profited from – a national housing crisis for personal, financial gain had managed to masquerade himself as the Everyman’s Hero. Donald. Fucking. Trump. “Hey America” What do you peple need to hear? Cos Donald’s got it covered!” Need someone to blame? Here, take some Mexicans! Plagued with socio-economic insecurity? Ban the Muslims! Feeling alienated? Don’t worry, the system’s been rigged for years!

It’s difficult to nail whether he truly believes all of the things he says. It’s probably worse if he doesn’t.

Here’s the thing, though: it is a trick. Donald Trump doesn’t have your back – and he certainly doesn’t have the faintest idea how to start making America great again. So, what happens then? What happens when these people realise that – once again – they’ve been duped by a malevolent puppeteer. Where do they go? Who – or what – do they turn to?

The unpredictability of the next few years is what resonates the most in terms of fearful paranoia. What kind of President Donald Trump will turn out to be is one thing, but what happens next for America’s disenfranchised is something else entirely. At some stage, they’re going to clock on to the reality that they’ve been well and truly mugged off. Perhaps they take a jump back. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll conclude at the centre wasn’t too bad. They may even lurch further to the left. Who knows. But what happens if they don’t? What happens if they decide that they need something even more extreme? What happens if calls for wall-building and deportation just aren’t radical enough?

What next?

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Words by Niall Flynn

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