Trump has been branded a bigot, a misogynist, Islamophobic, xenophobic, racist and a sociopath. But he's not the first person with insalubrious credentials to be elected as President, look at the some of the world leaders that preside today in North Korea, Russia, and Zimbabwe. The list goes on. Power hungry zealots have a historical habit of snaring power. Trump has bagged the biggest global prize of all. But you know what, I kept muttering, 'I think Trump will win.' My husband said it was unlikely, but deep inside I just felt Clinton had too much stacked against her. There has also been a shift to the far-right, which started ever since 9/11, the subsequent wars, the immigration crisis and the polarisation between the west and Islam. Now we have just seen the world become even more polarised overnight and the global markets have taken a nosedive. With France and Germany due to go to the polls, will we see something similar - a clean far-right sweep to power?
Pen and ink on postcard, 2016
While the election results came in I was working on this postcard, part of my 1000 Postcard series, trying to make sense of my children's mark making. The scene seemed like mayhem and in the artwork the Lego man cries, 'Oh no Trump for President' as the world descends into chaos. It does feel like we are on the cusp of a new global order the likes of which we have not seen before.
Right now Trump is grinning, he is triumphant, he didn't really have the Republican Party behind him, but he doesn't need them. They seem redundant - he won this election on his own terms. He seems less of a president - more a potential dictator, such are his powers with a Republican Senate and Congress. We might even see a Trump dynasty emerging with his sons lining up to take over. Without risk of sounding ageist he is 70 and his cognitive prowess is in question, but it seems the electorate don't mind because Trump is going to make the US great again - isn't he?
Perhaps he intends to treat the US like a business, because that's what he is a businessman who knows how to make money and go bankrupt, may I add. Is that what the US people want, to get rich like Trump? What he will do is take the US backwards, just like Brexit is making Britain insular, protectionist and anti-immigration the US is following suit. But then again maybe the US and UK will forge a special relationship since they seem to be on the same page with the former UKiP leader Farage as the go between, apparently he's on a plane to the US to hustle a job. Farage spoke about taking back control and making Britain great again, not too dissimilar from Trump's rhetoric. This idea of control and greatness seems nebulous - what does it mean?
Brexit and Trump's victory have redefined what it means to be British and American. If you are white then you are in, if you are not then there is a question mark next to your name. Yes, that's how it feels - doesn't matter if you are second, third, fourth or fifth generation British or American the feeling is go back home. But home is Britain, I was born in the UK, English is my first language, I have a British passport, but none of that seems to count for anything much. How do the millions of Black, Hispanics and Asians feel right now who didn't support Trump? I single out these groups because these are the ones that seem to be under attack and if you are Muslim well you are on the outside more than ever before. And it doesn't matter if you are educated or have tried in earnest to assimilate, none of that counts. Watch your back if you are a minority.
Will Trump really help to bridge the rich and poor divide and create millions of jobs? Maybe he will start building Trump casinos in impoverished areas and Trump stadiums and Trump monuments and a Trump palace. Well it's work and job creation. Whatever he is going to come up with to deal with the domestic crisis it's his foreign policy stance that is worrying.
He has made no secret of the fact that he's a jingoist, so I am wondering when is the next war going to break out? Although ISIS is being defeated and pushed back in Iraq and Syria maybe Trump will seek total annihilation and step up US involvement taking a leaf out of Putin's indiscriminate approach. He did say he would bomb ISIS and then take the oil to cover the costs of war.
One thing that is certain I have no plans to visit the US while Trump is in power, with a surname like Islam I can imagine the vetting, the questions, it's happened before. Will we see an exodus (including some of the brightest and best) leaving? The US is seen as the greatest power on earth, but this election has just turned the US into the biggest joke - a catastrophic one for minorities and Muslims and anyone who is remotely different and wishes to assert their rights.
Interestingly when I saw all the pictures of jubilant Trump supporters, the vast majority of them were white, male or old. When Clinton summoned her celebrity friends I cringed; she just shot herself in the foot, maybe encouraging those wavering or sitting on the fence to vote for Trump. There was the implicit suggestion that these cool artists are representative of the masses but they are not, they are part of the celebrity elite. Seeing them on stage, enforced a them and us mentality, maybe consolidating the resentment of the seething millions who feel left behind, excluded and tossed in the bin. But then do they honestly believe that Trump is their saviour?
Trump now has the power to shape America and its relationship with the rest of the world? He has the power to do as he pleases - will he suppress, curtail, and discriminate, what is he going to do? The world waits, watches and fears for the worst.