At the Intersection of Anger and Ignorance, What Will Trump Do Now?

In the jigsaw puzzles election watchers monitored on Tuesday night in America, the numbers in Florida wavered back and forth between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, but most counties went to the Republican. Ohio and Virginia were mostly awash in Republican red. The story in all key states was the same. Rural counties, where every dollar counts, all went to Trump.

The states that mattered turned an angry, blood red with tiny urban islands of blue.

Why is it that voters from Liberty County - in the famously redneck Florida “panhandle” - would vote for a man who owns a jet with 24-karat faucets and a yacht with an onyx bathroom?

Trump’s bragging about his sexual assaults and Hillary’s choice of email servers were sideshows, distractions from the reality that many Americans want a scorched earth, even if that means submission to a demagogue with autocratic DNA.

When Donald Trump excoriated big business for sending jobs overseas, he hit a nerve that sent more Americans than anyone expected to the polls to exact revenge for the loss of economic opportunity.

States like Wisconsin and Michigan, whose Democratic voters snubbed Hillary Clinton for Bernie Sanders in the primaries, opted for Trump in the general election, further underscoring the rejection of traditional politics and the demand for radical change.

Dow futures cratered as the live numbers disproved all of the prognosticators who predicted a Clinton landslide, another indication that entrenched economic interests will now retreat from pitchfork-wielding masses. Tokyo and Hong Kong stocks tumbled.

the choice of Trump reflects the intersection of anger and ignorance

Global trade is now at stake.

Hundreds of thousands of jobs, possibly millions, have left the U.S., under Republican and Democratic stewardship over the past half century. CFOs have an obligation to do whatever benefits shareholders, anything within the limits of the law. And that’s what they did. It was the responsibility of politicians to seek some compensation for the gains companies yielded through offshoring. And they didn’t.

But the choice of Trump reflects the intersection of anger and ignorance.

He’s assembled a team of economic advisors stacked with property developers and investment bankers, all men from industries that regard the interests of the economically disenfranchised like leopards eye gazelles. Only one of 13 - Dan DiMicco, former CEO of one of America’s largest steel producers - makes sense from the perspective of the country’s rural voters on the edge. Mr. DiMicco has always been a critic of trade deals struck by politicians in Washington.

But Trump would have to bring in a token to his rhetoric.
Everything about his background, and his admiration for Vladimir Putin, suggests that the concerns of the disenfranchised will take a back seat to the scores he’ll need to settle for those who counted him down and out.

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About the author

Robert has been a journalist and editor in Beijing and Toronto for publications including The Globe and Mail, Bloomberg News, and Financial Times. 

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