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frank_psaila
Frank Psaila

Project Anger

Donald Trump’s election campaign strategy was Project Anger, and it worked wonders for him!

frank_psaila
Frank Psaila
23 November 2016, 8:00am
Cool reason alone is not enough to combat populist personalities – fighting fire with fire is the only way forward. That would include understanding peoples’ fears and addressing them accordingly – not dismissing them
Cool reason alone is not enough to combat populist personalities – fighting fire with fire is the only way forward. That would include understanding peoples’ fears and addressing them accordingly – not dismissing them
Same old story

Dynasty, often considered to be the franchise movie of politics, was dealt a blow in the United States of America last week. Hillary Clinton, never an attractive candidate for US voters, failed to take over the White House – her life-long ambition. First we had George W. Bush – the man responsible for the birth of the Islamic State due to his sheer irresponsibility and lack of strategy when he bombed the hell out of Iraq, who followed in his father’s footsteps.

The world was, until last week, faced with the prospect of another Clinton at the White House. Many predicted that had she managed to secure the Oval Office, in ten years’ time Michelle Obama would take a shot at the White House too. Of course, politicians should be judged on their own merits. But it seems that voters had had enough of ‘new’ faces, telling the same old story. 

Fight fire with fire

The mood of growing discontent with establishment politics saw a surge in support for populist politicians the likes of Nigel Farage in Britain and now Donald Trump in the US. There is a growing wave of grassroots support for populist causes and personalities. Cool reason alone is not enough to combat populist personalities – fighting fire with fire is the only way forward.

That would include understanding peoples’ fears and addressing them accordingly – not dismissing them. Hillary Clinton spent the first part of her campaigning laughing off the prospect of a Trump presidency, until it was too late. She failed, miserably, to understand and address the roots of his appeal. Last week, Trump laughed all the way to the White House.

Project Anger

Momentous events, off the political Richter scale, as was Trump’s win at the polls, can produce many emotions – as it did. Humility, unfortunately, wasn’t one of them. Many took to social media crying foul and criticising the American electorate for voting Trump in. Others, as did thousands of demonstrators in the US, took to the streets.

Humility is what is needed now. Political commentators – who often live in a media bubble, and professional politicians, did not see this coming. They failed to gauge the anger in the electorate. Donald Trump’s election campaign strategy was Project Anger. It worked wonders for him. There is a lot in common between the feelings of his blue-collar supporters in the rust belt of the US and the Brexit voters in the poorest towns of northern England. They both feel marginalised by the results of globalisation. 

Polls

The US election reminded us, as did the Brexit result, of the old cliché about lies, damned lies and opinion polls.

Seriously but not literally

Most of Trump’s election campaign statements were unacceptable, but they were definitely effective. Trump’s philosophy that ‘all publicity is good publicity’ worked in his favour. And then Hillary Clinton was never an attractive candidate.

The man is a pragmatist. Donald Trump’s team shall include a good number of advisors who were opposed to his candidacy within the Republican Party. It seems that when he takes over the White House on January 20, we’ll see a different Donald Trump the President from Trump the candidate.

It seems that many of his voters took his electoral statements seriously but not literally. He was conciliatory in his acceptance speech. For the first time ever he paid tribute to his rival. Despite harsh criticism of Obamacare during the electoral campaign, he is now considering retaining parts of the health care plan. In the end all that matters in politics is what gets done not said. 

The stakes are high

The world is anxious and apprehensive about the Trump presidency but the new US president must be given a chance to lead. For all we know, and hope, Trump might prove us, who think that a Trump presidency would render the world a more dangerous place, wrong. The stakes are high for President Trump. The wounds opened up by America’s campaign need to heal quickly. If they take a long time to heal, that would be bad news for America and the wider world. The stakes are high.

Squeezed middle class

Donald Trump has been pretty vague on fiscal policy throughout his electoral campaign. The markets reacted negatively to his election although they have since recovered. During his election campaign he spoke, and rightly so, of a ‘squeezed middle class’. The ‘squeezed middle classes’ are now expecting him to give them a much needed boost. With the US budget deficit at just 3.2 per cent of GDP, the new President elect has every opportunity to give a much needed fiscal boost to middle class America. 

From Washington to Tehran

Despite media reports stating that a Trump presidency would break ties with Iran and reverse the Iranian nuclear deal successfully concluded by the incumbent, it is highly unlikely that Trump would go down this path. Mr Trump has already stated his intentions to improve relations with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Russia, alongside the EU, Germany, France, China and the UK worked closely with the Obama administration to secure the Iranian nuclear deal. It would be reckless of Trump to tear up the Iran agreement. 

Frank Psaila, a lawyer by profession, anchors Iswed fuq l-Abjad on Net TV

frank_psaila
Frank Psaila, a lawyer by profession, anchors Iswed fuq l-Abjad on Net TV. He was formerly...
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