America’s historic moment is just days away. As the sun sets on November 8, it would be clear who would be the next President of the United State of America – the most powerful person in the world.Unlike in India where there may be scores in the run, it is Democratic Party’s Hillary Clinton, the first-ever woman candidate, or Donald Trump of the Republican Party.
Theodore White’s ‘Making of the President’ series, starting with the Kennedy vs. Nixon contest, showed how the world’s greatest democracy voted. Kennedy won because he was well shaved and better dressed, because his wife was more glamorous and because she was expecting. From that day on every cartoonist in the world showed Nixon with a day-old stubble on his face.
Three nationally televised debates took place between the Trump and Hillary and almost everyone said Hillary won – except Trump and Fox News. Trump’s opinion poll ratings have been falling. Many celebrities, including many from his own party, are opposing Trump and said nasty things about him.
This election campaign has been the dirtiest ever and most vicious in American history. Just a week before the polling, the pro-Republican FBI, which had already probed the ‘scandal’ of Hillary using a private server during her tern as Secretary of State, got a warrant from the Republican-controlled Congress to reopen the probe saying that some of the deleted e-mails were still found on two computers and MAY have violated rules about secrecy of the Secretary’s mails. The probe would certainly be not completed before the polling and might swing the voters against the Democratic candidate even if nothing incriminating was found. And Trump calls this “offence” worse than Nixon’s Watergate scandal of tapping the rival party’s telephones.
But don’t dump Trump yet. He had declared he would accept the electoral verdict only if he wins. And he might.
The United States is a country of paradoxes , a nation of immigrants who do not want other immigrants to settle in their country — like passengers in an unreserved compartment of Indian Railways who use all their muscle power to get into an overcrowded compartment and then use it again to prevent others from coming in.
The US is at the forefront of feminism, gender equality, equal pay and women’s empowerment. And it did not, till today, have a woman President.
It was a Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, who liberated the slaves, but it was the rival Democratic party which put the first Afro-Asian, or Black, in the White House.
The US has “integrated” Blacks and Whites decades ago, after a prolonged struggle by the former, but its seat of power is still called the ‘White’ House.
It is under a Black President in the White House that the racial wage gap – between the average of what the Whites and Blacks earn – is highest in 36 years. Black men’s average hourly wage now is 31% lower than that of the Whites, compared to 22% in 1979. The average household income of the White American was $63,000 in 2015, which is 70% more than $36,898 of the Black Americans.
In a democracy all candidates swear by the common man and promise to benefit them more. Republican candidate Donald Trump, on the other hand wants to abolish ‘Obamacare’ health benefits for the poor and cut taxes of the rich. The universal effort is to make more of the oppressed and underprivileged classes vote. In US, the open threat to attack Black Americans if Trump loses this election is apparently an attempt to frighten Black people, especially Black women, into voting for Trump or not voting at all. Attempts were also made to manipulate voters’ registration to keep Blacks out.
A prominent columnist in an American daily describes Trump as a “thug who talks gibberish, and lies, and cheats, and has issues, to put it mildly, with women. He’s lazy and limited and he has an attention span of a nanosecond.” The US has opted for rule by the majority, as against kings. Trump is a “gene believer” who thinks he has “great genes”. He proudly says his German blood is “great stuff” while Mexicans and Muslims, by contrast, don’t make the cut.
Trump has “managed to bring penis size and menstrual cycles and the eating habits of a former Miss Universe into the debate for the highest office in the land” and has “mocked and mimicked the handicapped and the pneumonia-induced malaise of Hillary Clinton”.
As a hangover of the cold war days, Americans love to hate Russia and its ruler Vladimir Putin — the political hero of Trump who openly backed Russian hacking of the computers of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. Trump who gloats of being a great businessman, had declared a loss of $916 million on his 1995 tax return and had gone bankrupt once. Tax evasion is a cardinal crime in theUS and Trump has not revealed his tax returns even after being challenged to do so by Hillary. As many as 11 women have gone public so far with charges of sexual misbehaviour by Trump against them. It is known that only a fraction of such victims reveal it, due to a sense of shame and stigma. Recordings of Trump himself boasting of groping and kissing women against their will have come out.
“When you’re a star, women let you do anything,” the audio record of his boast said. but in.his apology for it later, he called it mere “locker room banter”, and pointed out that Hillary’s husband, Bill Clinton, famous for his escapades with a White House intern, Monica Lewinisky, said much worse things.
Still Trump has all chances of victory. And here are the reasons:
With all their declarations of non-discrimination, White Americans, deep inside their hearts, considered the coloured people inferior. So does Trump.
Profit is the only god America worships (so much so that I would not be surprised if the Bhopal gas tragedy was a part of some experiment by Union Carbide to increase profits). All that matters is that Trump has made profits. Now he is a billionaire and his latest hotel opened recently.
In a country where promiscuity is the rule, divorces are common and individuals feel ashamed of entering their teens as virgins, his sexual adventures might be secretly admired. Americans are famous for short attention spans and his “nanoseconds of attention” are forgotten instantly.
Above all, the gun lobby which is the real ruler of the USA, wants him. The more he promotes hatred and causes wars, the better for its arms sales all over the world. Judaism, Islam and Christianity are three branches of the same tree, with many things in common. Even with proof of Pakistan sheltering Osama bin Laden and of terrorism being its state policy, the US has been dumping millions of dollars in aid to that country just to make the two countries fight. The anti-Muslim stance of Trump could be mere sibling-rivalry.
On the other hand Hinduism is totally alien to the Americans. Can ‘Vasudaiva Kutumbakam’ (Hindu concept of World as a Family) be understood by a country which has a growing population of White racist fanatics, that includes a league of American White supremacists who call themselves the “Alt-Right”? The Klu Klux Klan is not dead.
America once created history by electing a Black President. Once-bitten-twice shy, it would not do that again by electing its first woman President.
The Clintons’ three decades of being anti-India led some Hindus to back Trump and even hold prayers and ‘homas‘ in his support. Indians believe in the power of prayer — which alone could be behind India’s growing achievements.
Perhaps they do not know that there is hardly any difference between the two (Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee) parties; Hillary is anti-India before the elections; Trump would dump India later.