Many commentators have rightly chastised Trump for his verbose demeanour and truly dreadful attitude to women, minorities as well as to those with disabilities. Added to that, Trump’s policies, what few he has actually discussed, could directly impact upon the world and indeed Ireland more specifically.
Trump will take office at the end of January and his election is not a massive surprise as his victory unfortunately follows a trend evident across the world in the wake of the economic crash of 2008 onwards.
Apart from countries like Canada and Australia, who were insulated by the crash by strong mineral wealth, we have seen mainstream governments, across the western world, defeated and challenged by a wave of increasingly populist and reactionary politicians and parties.
In Greece, Syriza came from nowhere to take the reigns of the country, promising the world and the moon with scant regard for any sane economic reasoning. In Italy, former stand up comedian Beppe Grillo steered the 5 star movement into a leading position on a platform of direct democracy.
Closer to home, the Right to Water movement and the collection of supportive parties such as AAA/PbP and Sinn Fein as well as a plethora of independents have been able to take on, and admittedly defeat or at best badly wound, the mainstream parties on a fairly minor issue.
In the US, Trump was the anti-politician. He defeated establishment figures such as Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio to win the Republican nomination. In the Presidential election, he defeated the arch-establishment candidate in Hillary Clinton.
Another man from such a background to ride this wave of anti establishment politics is Nigel Farage, former leader of UKIP, who played a pivotal role in convincing the working people of Britain to back Brexit, blaming the EU for all their perceived woes wrapped up in similarly racist, anti immigration language.
The US and the U.K. are two of the world’s largest economies and two of the leading democracies in the G8, another two members of the G8 facing electoral challenges next year are Germany and France.
Unlike Trump and Farage, Le Pen does not hide her openly racist and thuggish brand of politics. She is vehemently anti immigrant; thinks that citizenship should be tied to ethnicity or race; supports the death penalty; is sceptical on climate change; opposes French membership of the EU and NATO; like Trump and Farage she wants closer ties to Vladimir Putin’s Russia and finally she is of course the daughter, albeit estranged, of the notorious anti semite and islamaphobe, Jean Marie Le Pen.