Thursday, 10 November 2016

US Election: Donald Trump Is Elected President


Donald Trump will become the 45th US president after a stunning victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton. The Republican nominee's victory came down to a handful of key swing states, despite months of polling that favoured Mrs Clinton. The battlegrounds of Florida, Ohio and North Carolina cleared the way for his Brexit-style upset. To say his victory is a shock, is an understatement. The real estate tycoon, former reality TV star and political newcomer, who was universally ridiculed when he declared his candidacy in June last year, said his victory had been "tough". And he is right. Mr Trump has smashed into Mrs Clinton's vaunted electoral firewall in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states that have not supported a Republican presidential candidate for decades. All over the world, particular in the developing world many people dreaded a Trump victory based on the kinds of comments he was making and policies he was espousing. His victory could change America's relationship with the rest of the world in some important ways.

If he follows through on his trade policies, it will be the single biggest change to the way America does business with the rest of the world in decades. This is the man who has threatened to scrap a number of existing free trade agreements, including the North American Free Trade Agreement between the US, Canada and Mexico, which he blames for job losses. He has even suggested withdrawing the US from the World Trade Organization. He is also in favour of taxing imports, and has talked about imposing tariffs of 45% on China and 35% on goods shipped from Mexico, in an effort to prevent companies moving jobs south of the border. Another important area has to do with climate change. Mr Trump vowed to cancel the Paris climate change deal signed by more than 195 countries in December last year. He has also said he will stop all US payments for United Nations global warming programmes. Ahead of the election, he spoke tough on immigration but has shifted position significantly. He began his campaign with a promise to build a wall across the US border with Mexico and to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants. He has since softened that to "millions" of criminals living in the US, and says the rest of the undocumented population will be dealt with at a later date. He also announced "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" but has since said it was a suggestion and not a policy. On the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, Mr Trump labelled it as obsolete and characterised its members as ungrateful allies who benefit from US largesse. He says America can no longer afford to protect countries in Europe - and in Asia - without adequate compensation, suggesting he would withdraw American forces unless they pay up.

In one sense, he is simply voicing longstanding US concerns about most Nato members not meeting their goal of spending at least 2% of GDP on defence, although some have questioned whether he would step away from a military alliance that has been cornerstone of the country's foreign policy for more than 60 years. It however appears Mr. Trump might just not implement some of his controversial policies. He appeared sober in his victory speech. He stated among other things that even though he will put America first, he will treat other nations with respect. According to him, he will seek partnership and not conflict. This is most refreshing. The question on the lips of many Ghanaians at this time is, how will the US election impact Ghana's election which is just a few weeks away. It is therefore not surprising that Ghana tops the list of countries outside the United States searching for news and information about the US elections as revealed by Google Trends.

Since 2000, Ghanaian elections go the same way the American elections go. For instance, in 2000, the ruling Democrats lost to the Republicans. That was when George Bush defeated vice president Al-Gore. In Ghana, the NDC also lost to the NPP, when John Kufour defeated vice president Prof. Mills. In 2004, the Republican retained power just like the NPP. But in 2008, the Democrats recaptured power when Barack Obama was elected. And again in Ghana, the NDC also recaptured power. In 2012, both the democrats and the NDC retained power. The assumption is that, once the Republicans have recaptured power in the US, the opposition NPP might also regain power in Ghana.

But, the dynamics are not exactly the same this time around. In Ghana, a sitting President is contesting, and never in Ghanaian history has an incumbent president lost an election. So time will tell how the Ghanaian election will go. Congratulations to President-elect Donald trump and may the best candidate win the Ghanaian election.

BY BUBU KLINOGO, A JOURNALIST.

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