We have the distinction of being on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina on USA Election Day, November 8, 2016. For months we have gleefully anticipated this front-row spectacle. Significantly we’re close to North Carolina and Florida – two of the foremost “early” States – where much of the sometimes skeevy political action has transpired in the past year. Although there is the traditional interest in the down-ballot vote for the composition of Congress (the bicameral federal legislature – Senate and House of Representatives), the focus of attention is upon the Presidential election. It has been a raucous and fierce battle between Mrs. Hilary R. Clinton (Democrat) and Mr. Donald J. Trump (Republican). What’s more jaw-dropping than Trump’s inflammatory rise through the Republican ranks and his obscene performance on the national stage is the horror that the American electorate may ultimately be accused of having elected him as President (and Mike Pence as his Vice-President). As vulgar as Trump is, so too is Pence commensurately preposterous (a distorted religious bigot who has gone so far as championing a funeral for the remains of any aborted fetus).
It is hard not to lapse into ad hominem argument when contradicting Trump or his surrogates. But it is equally tough to identify anything of substance in his campaign – other than absurdities like building a wall along the USA – Mexico border or prohibiting Muslims from entering the country. The poison with which Trump has infected the American political landscape has wearied its citizens. Everybody just wants the event to be over – though there is an undeniable balloon of hope that it will not be Trump as the President. Without exception every American to whom I have spoken about this election has registered disapproval of Trump’s comportment and revulsion at the possibility of his election as President.
Oddly the result of the Presidential election is unforeseeable. Certainly there are no end of pundits who profess to know the outcome (most often Trump’s defeat) but no one is convinced enough of the decision to eliminate a Brexit-like shock. The predictions are palpably motivated by intense hatred of Trump who has a backstory of having offended people of every description throughout his entire adult life not just during this election cycle. Nonetheless Trump has reportedly fired up an historically massive base for his support, the so-called “deplorables”. This demographic is portrayed as a group of uneducated, under-employed, white men and narrow-minded white women. If there are any supporters “of colour”, their inclination is excused as a desperate hope for economic redemption. Millennials don’t figure at all. On the periphery of Trump’s “deplorables” are white rascists, religious bigots and any number of other immoderate “conservatives” (reactionaries). While Trump goes on endlessly about making America great again there is a rising tide of recognition that the face of the American electorate is no longer white and male. The swell of African-American voters in the 2012 election proved the power of the American public to elect its first black president; the Latino voters in the 2016 election will prove the power of the American public to elect its first female president.
Thirty-one percent of eligible voters will be racial or ethnic minorities, up from 29% in 2012, according to the Pew Research Center. And the share of non-Hispanic white voters eligible to vote will be the lowest in history, the continuation of a steady decline in white voters over the past three decades.
It’s a stark reminder of the shifting demographics of the country: The Census Bureau projects that no one racial group will be a majority of the country by the year 2044. Republicans and Democrats looking to chart an electoral future as the country continues to grow browner and younger will have to take heed of these shifts.
Trump is so patently deranged that already people are talking about the repercussions of his defeat, as though he were somehow able to alter the very Constitution of the United States of America. It is a laughable deference and one which will undoubtedly be waved aside by the many very bright American minds who govern this nation and who will at last have had enough of Trump’s nonesense.
Trump has been speaking to a bar room bevy of disaffected degenerates. Their appearance of national persuasion is nothing more meaningful than the illumination of a crowd of rambunctious onlookers. It is a mistake to credit them with any political conviction; their protestations amount to the same authenticity and locker room bravado as that of their candidate.