“DJ Trump in da house!” was the original title of this piece, but I changed it because actually this situation should be taken a little more seriously.
Yesterday morning, former reality TV star Donald J. Trump was elected to be the 45th President of the United States of America after having led an openly racist and misogynistic campaign. An advocate of nuclear warfare, and arguably now the most powerful man in the world; the whole situation is very ‘circa 1945’- arguably, of course.
But what does this mean for everyone else? France for example are due to have an election very soon, and with Trump’s victory, is it looking optimistic for Marine Le Pen and her National Front party? It’s undoubtable that Trump and Le Pen hold some similarities in politics. Both are stridently nationalist with the same white, working-class demographic; both cite anti-Establishment attitudes (the very same Establishment that businessman Trump was arguably a part of); and both sympathise with Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Financially, it is known that the NF have borrowed from the Kremlin which suggests that links remain strong. It is probably unquestionable that Le Pen is more likeable than Trump- she has never openly advocated banishing Muslims from the country or building a wall to distinguish the French border, but that is not to say Trump’s victory has not inspired the ‘republican’ within the French. Much like Trump’s campaign a mere 24 hours ago, voting polls are currently not in favour of Le Pen, however we all know not to rule out giving them a second thought.
Across the pond, Angela Merkel of Germany brown-noses Trump in her congratulatory statement in homage to the President-elect. She states “Germany and America are connected by common values: democracy, freedom, respect for the law and for human dignity irrespective of origin, skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political conviction”. Either she’s misunderstanding the meaning of the term ‘irrespective’ or Donald Trump has suddenly changed his derogatory attitudes towards Muslims, women, people with disabilities and Hispanics. This seems about as likely as a zombie apocalypse. It’s worrying, because it emphasises the possibility of ‘conservatism’- even fascism- spreading through the West.
A worry closer to home is that with the spread of ‘protectionism’ possibly on the horizon for other Western countries (“America today, France tomorrow” according to Jean-Marie Le Pen, father of NF leader), this could put an even bigger strain on Brexit. By leaving the EU customs union, negotiation on trade with economies retreating into the confines of their geographical borders could prove to be very awkward indeed. Plus, pragmatism is less likely with nationalism on the rise (no one tends to like Britain anyway, can’t imagine why…) Defence could also be an issue. With Trump advocating an ‘America first’ policy, all the countries under the NATO safety blanket could find themselves left out in the cold (notably Britain, whose Brexiters disregarded the EU defence policy on account of the fact we had NATO to protect us).
It cannot be denied that the role of social media in events like this is powerful (certainly providing a canvas for Trump’s campaign), but maybe it is completely unreliable. Outrage has been plastered over Twitter and Facebook, just like it did when the UK voted in favour of Brexit. Therefore, is it fair to assume that we only see one side to the story? Could Republican voters be hiding behind all the anti-Trump, anti-Republican statuses? It’s certainly done him a favour.