Appropriate to the new President of the United States Of America, you begin with anger. I woke up at 8 this morning (9.30 PM Trump Eastern Time, 6.30 PM Trump Pacific), reached for my phone, toggled to Twitter. Already it seemed Hillary Clinton would lose.
My first thought – we should kick the Americans out of our country then. Uncharitable, of course. But, in keeping with the new President, I cannot remember before feeling such a surge of xenophobia. This is how it must work for everyone. You don’t want me, mate? I don’t want you. Maybe now I can understand better the xenophobias that rattle around our polity, of caste, religion, of region. Visceral, with little logic to it – my sister is married to an American, for one, and the great majority of Americans in our country seem to be Clinton voters – but for a sleepy red instant I wanted back the country I grew up in, without the debris of American culture and American corporatism washing up to my shoulders, eager to submerge all before it.
Who are these pollsters? These masters of bluster and bluff, waving their turgid regression analyses in the air like monkeys do with their genitalia, trying to convince the rest of us that we must pay attention to them. Brexit and now Trump’s victory demonstrate that such numerical forecasting is loaded with bias and error. We must battle against this tide that presumes to tell us election results with such certainty before a man or woman has voted.
It used to be accepted that numbers could be used to prove anything. Because of the mathematical prowess of computational devices, we seem to have forgotten this. Yet anyone who has conducted a regression analysis knows the opportunities for bias that creep in: how control variables are chosen, independent variables, the manner of framing the question that is being posed.
It is interesting also to note that both Brexit and Trump were the anti-establishment positions. It seems that a poll’s natural bias is to the establishment--because this is the teat on which its masters fatten. As late as last night, Huffington Post was pumping into the Internet’s tubes their latest graphical projection, which gave Clinton a 98% chance of victory and Trump 1.7%. What better way to mobilise and energise committed Trump voters? The swing voters, perhaps personally inclined to Trump but who felt Clinton would make a better President—they’d go to Trump too. Just like Brexit. And why not? Since Clinton was winning so handsomely, and Britain would never actually leave the European Union.
For once America will sleep in the bed they have upturned. They have a rather rawer phrasing in the US, something about shitting where you eat. Well they’ve crapped all over the family silver.
For generations, the United States has set off political storms across the Third World, as institutions under their control have provide misguided loans (see IMF and World Bank lending in Africa and South America), coming in as an invasionary peacekeepers, what have you. Entire peoples and cultures ravaged by America’s quest-of-the-moment. For once the demagogic puppet presides over America itself.
Then you remember the country itself. The wonderful nation, smart and energetic, in love with itself, of course, but who isn't. You remember your friends and family there, all of whom have fought and campaigned and struggled this past year against the Trump eventuality. The college you spent years in, the professors you once had. The sight of New York city climbing up the windscreen of your taxi for the first time, a wintry crackle in the air, taking your breath away. And then you realise that you will never walk past Trump Towers without a sense of foreboding. If you and your Indian friends and family are indeed allowed to walk past it anymore.
You worry for your sister’s children, two half-brown boys who will spend their first thinking years in Trump’s America. Selfishly, you worry for yourself. Is America closed to me now? You worry about how hard it is to wrest power from those who have exercised it for centuries.
This is the tip of the white backlash against Barack Obama. The ridiculous comeuppance for voting in a black President two terms in a row. Just as Modi’s election has enabled the beef vigilantes and the ultranationalists, Trump’s presidency will empower the white nationalists to reshape the American story. “Hindus for Trump” are by no means the only ones fooled.
And what will happen to the world? As Putin looks increasingly outward, Trump has promised to look within. Are Putin and Trump going to rule in alliance, dividing the world once again into colonial spheres of influence? The two great nuclear arsenals in the hands of men who shouldn’t be trusted with water guns. Outside my window nothing has changed. But already this seems a darker place.
Disclaimer : The information, ideas or opinions appearing in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the views of ScoopWhoop.