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Donald Trump won the election…so what now?

by Kit


In the wake of the shocking result of the US Presidential election, we take a look at some of the key questions left up in the air. How did things go so wrong for Hillary Clinton? How will the world look when the dust has settled? Is this really a sign of any kind of change?

Question 1: What the hell just happened?

Most people, most pundits most media outlets were predicting a Clinton victory. The pundits and reporters, because Hillary was “qualified” and “competent”. Everyone else…because she could follow Obama’s example and mobilise the virtue-signalling vote, and even if she didn’t it would just be rigged. As the primaries evidently were.

The vast majority of the media were behind Clinton. The banks were too. As was Wall Street, big pharma, arms manufacturers, senior figures from both major political parties and (seemingly, anyway) the military and intelligence services. How could that much collective clout possibly fail to pull out the W? How did they let this happen?

You are left with three possibilities.

1, elections aren’t rigged. Simply put, all the weight behind Clinton could only exercise legitimate and transparent power. They could give interviews, write opinion pieces and campaign…and that’s all. They fought hard, and they lost. Fair and square. Given what we know about 2000, 2004 and the democratic primaries this seems unlikely.

2, elections can be controlled, but only in a limited fashion. This was talked about at length following the Brexit vote (which many people have suggested was nothing like as close as the “official figures” made it look). This idea posits that numbers can be manipulated, but not controlled. You can fudge them up and down, but full-on fakery leaves too much evidence, or is simply too difficult. It’s possible that Clinton was just SO mistrusted, SO hated, SO incredibly unpopular, that even with the collective might of 90% of the political and media establishment behind her…they just couldn’t swing the vote. This is plausible, especially if you paid attention to the crowd sizes at their respective rallies.

[Note: These situations both come with the rider that, much like sports, it may only be possible to rig an election if both sides are willing to cooperate. Maybe Trump wouldn’t let it slide the way Al Gore or Bernie Sanders were happy to do.]

3, somebody changed sides. Maybe the election was rigged, but in the other direction. Maybe the sudden, unexpected reopening of the e-mail investigation was a deliberate ploy by the FBI (and others, behind the scenes) to swing public opinion against Hillary. Maybe the rumors of immediate impeachment should Hillary win, and of possible ties to paedophiles and human trafficking, were the straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s possible that an establishment already creaking alarmingly under the weight of Clinton’s baggage, decided Clinton was now simply too much trouble. And that it might be easier to chance their arm on a man who might be willing to play ball, and was less likely to throw up a constitutional crisis and/or suddenly drop dead.

It’s recently become obvious, given the flip-flopping over Ukraine and Syria, that the American political establishment is far from a monolith of drive and purpose. There are internal divisions. There are factions. Trying to distill any kind of rational plan from their resulting actions is like trying to follow the score in a game of Rugby where four teams are playing at once, and they’re all wearing the same uniform.

Question 2: Will Trump Be Allowed to take office?

Just as happened following the Brexit vote (and to a lesser extent Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader), already this result has sprouted protest movements, petitions and articles either directly challenging its legitimacy, or simply questioning the “democratic value” of the American electoral system.

As the results were coming in last night, I personally witnessed tweets suggesting Obama should refuse to relinquish his office to Trump. Protest marches have already been held in many cities across America. If these protests escalate to riots, or street battles, Obama could declare a state of emergency which “delays” the swearing-in of the new president, Trump supporters would see this (rightly) as a possible coup attempt, leading to further violent unrest and the declaration of martial law. Extreme, but not impossible. Any move to replace Trump before he’s even in office would be totally unprecedented and grossly unconstitutional. But so was Gitmo.

Before the vote was held, the democrats were fervently and hysterically blaming the Russians for “interfering” with the election, baseless rumors which the media eagerly and unquestioningly repeated. You could argue this was done to preemptively defend themselves in the event of a Trump win. Undermining the result before there even was one. The Russian “hacks” are cited as the main cause behind this petition, calling for an overthrow of a Trump government, on the grounds he stole the election. This issue could be picked up more widely in the media in the coming days.

The long, long, long delay before Hillary finally appeared to make her concession speech makes one wonder if, behind the scenes, there may have been wheels turning. Think tanks furiously going over the options and outcomes should Clinton simply refuse to concede the election and publicly call into question the fairness of the vote. In the end, what would have finally sunk that possibility is the pompous way Clinton’s team responded to Trump’s own suggestion there may be vote rigging. To turn around and “disrespect our democracy” after she lost would have laid Clinton open to justified claims of hypocrisy.

There are more old fashioned methods of removing an unwanted president, of course. It’s very telling that “assassination” was shooting up the google search ranks as the results were announced last night. And America has never been short a lone wolf assassin when it really, really needed one.

Question 3: What sort of man is Donald Trump?

It’s tempting, at moments such as this, to blindly and joyfully accept outcome as a win for good guys. I’m not going to deny I was, more than anything, relieved when I saw the result. The possibility of a psychopathic warhawk pushing for a war with Russia, with the full weight of a self-deluded middle-class high on their own moral outrage behind her, was terrifying. But not so long ago Barack Obama was…for want of a better phrase…the great white hope. He was going to change things…but didn’t. In the end he was simply an Orwellian controlled alternative. It’s possible that’s all Trump is, too.

It’s possible Trump is just a pompous windbag who would say or do anything to get into power, simply for the sake of having power. It’s possible he’s an elaborate ploy designed to satiate an angry public thirsty for real change, and buy the oligarch elite more time to milk us dry or blow us all up for some crazy reasons of their own. Both plausible, but let’s put them aside for now.

Let’s say that Trump is sincere in his goals, and let’s say he is allowed to take office and try to introduce his policies – both big ifs, but still. How much institutional and bureaucratic resistance will he encounter? How many threats and extortions will he face? Does he have the strength of character to face down that opposition? Very few people do. Most politicians sell their souls for power, or resign themselves to impotence. It takes an extraordinary person to keep a hold of themselves and their ideals, in a political environment double loaded with both temptation and threat.

All through the election cycle the democrats were far more interested in talking about punch lines, snappy quotes and identity politics than discussing policy. That’s because any real discussion of policies would only push a lot of people into voting for Trump. He want’s to cut-out hostilities with Russia and cooperate in combating terrorism. He wants to slash defense spending and rebuild industry. He wants to pull American bases out of Japan, Germany, South Korea and others, and relinquish America’s self-styled title of “World Policeman”. He wants to stop corporations from employing illegal immigrants to get around paying minimum wage. He has posited leaving NATO.

These are all, on the face of it, reasonable policies that could bring America back from the brink. And they are all, on their own, potentially career ending for any other politician in the Western world.

Will he ever be allowed to enact a single one of them? I guess we’ll see.


  1. Great Take Kit as usual. The deep state and the corporate state will never let up. They control the game . This time they couldn’t control who would be their front person. History tells us anybody going against the machine will be destroyed. lets c who he appoints in his administration. That will be telling. Flyn is already disqualified from replacing that schill Ashton Carter. Also who will replace the head of the fed.
    Further more look at the European political establishment trying to shun him. I still think that the fascist state of affairs in the western world has hit a dangerous climax, Trumps election has at least for the time being brought some much needed detente. We in the west r being lead to a disastrous confrontation cause the western Oligarchs want the whole cake and want to eat it leaving us the sheeple to die and waste away. Trump at least for the time being seems to be bringing some realpolitik to foreign pax -americana foreign policy.

  2. For voters hoping to ease global tensions and diminish the threat of World War III, Donald Trump seemed to be saying some sensible things on the campaign trail. He questioned the role of NATO, and the use of “regime change” by the U.S. against other nations. He asked why the U.S. and Russia couldn’t be partners rather than belligerents. He even questioned why the U.S. must always play the role of the world’s policeman and suggested that the U.S. should turn its attention to solving its own domestic problems.

    Such campaign rhetoric was unusual and likely struck a chord with some war-weary listeners.

    But in early September 2016, in a move that should have received far more attention than it did, Trump appointed former CIA director James Woolsey as his senior advisor on national security issues. Woolsey – a key member of the neoconservative Project for a New American Century (PNAC) – had been a strong advocate for invading Iraq in 2003 and for waging war throughout the Middle East.

    In its commentary about Trump’s appointment of Woolsey, The Intercept noted, “Woolsey’s selection either clashes with Trump’s noninterventionist rhetoric – or represents a pivot towards a more muscular, neoconservative approach to resolving international conflicts.” [1]

    full: http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/11/11/trump-woolsey-was-there-a-bait-and-switch/

    • mog says

      I have to admit to my own ignorance and susceptibility to political manipulation when Obama won in 2008. I couldn’t help but think of the history of African Americans and the apparent momentousness of the win.
      I was, though, an early adopter of the view that ‘Hope and Change’ was, as was soon obvious, hopeless expansion of the evilness. Obama kept the incumbent Republican secretary of Defence (Gates) and employed all the banksters who’d screwed the country over to run the economy – what more did we need to know about his program ?

      Deja vu 2016.

      The vote was rigged.
      Trump has nobody to employ except the crooked swamp monsters who are long established in Washington and Wall Street. He has no way of disassembling the permanent war economy; he cannot make America anything except the empire that it is. He has no political program except a continuation of what has gone on for decades. The essential elements of the Neoliberal economy and the war for global domination will continue with increased fervor. The only change is that nano particles of icing on the cake of shit are going to be replaced by strychnine and shards of glass.

      I have no faith that the world is safer from Armageddon under Trump than Clinton.

      People just love to fall for it. They can’t help it:


    • jaques says

      Not only does he have the PNAC/CIA Woolsey- he also has the other 9/11 war criminal Guiliani on his team. And his right hand man Mike Flynn is yet another war pig.

    • There’s a striking lack of discussion, among HRC’s tragic supporters, about her public record as a War Criminal. Trump is probably a sexist, racist vulgarian (though far from off the scale for his class: look at Bill Clinton), but is he a War Criminal? Has he presided over, for example, the War Crime of Libya’s invasion, destruction and the rape-murder of its leader (about which HRC has a good laugh on camera)? While I can understand why no Clinton supporter cares to respond to the facts behind the many unprosecuted charges (of bad ethics, amorality and straight out illegality, on a global scale) against her, don’t you also see that the Clintonista silence on these matters is so blatant that it’s laughable?

      Yes, this election was a choice between having one’s fingers broken or having one’s eyes put out… but there are still people arguing, apparently, that having one’s eyes put out would have been wonderful; I’m trying to understand the psychology there.

  3. The best thing about Trump is that he is not an ideologue. That is obvious by looking at how he changes his position on things. At one stage, he was Democrat and supported single payer health insurance, for example. We can also see that he says one thing but then changes his mind, for example modifying his original statement that all Muslims be banned from entering the US to simply stated that America has to be more careful about who is allowed to enter.

    I think having someone like him who is flexible in their thinking is far better than having someone with fixed ideas who tries to impose those ideas on the world, as Hillary was prone to do, like with her insistence that ‘Assad has to go’, or her unsubstantiated statement about Russia’s aggressiveness, with no evidence to support that assertion. Any idiot can see that it is America that is aggressive, just by looking at all the wars they have started in the Middle East.

    Not having been a career politician is also a plus. All those people seem to do is have meetings and try to ensure they continue getting elected. Sounds like a very boring job to me and maybe that is why they try to spice it up by starting wars.

    • jaques says

      you could say he is ‘flexible’- or another way of looking at it is that he is a total bullshit artist- who will do and say anything to get what he wants. I would suggest the latter interpretation is likely more accurate.

    • mog says

      Reports of Jamie Dimon flagged for the head of US Treasury.

      ‘Draining the swamp’ …..?

  4. michaelk says

    It’s way too early to say what, if anything, a Trump presidency will achieve. He’s starting with such low expectations almost anything that isn’t a disaster will be seen as a triumph. His victory speech was short and direct and seemed to indicate he wanted to be another FDR putting America to work again following a massive infrastructure programme repairing the highways, byways and bridges, which really do need attention. So Trump’s a… corporatist of a kind, Mussolini would have approved. I’m convinced he doesn’t see the sense in going to war with Russia over Ukraine or the Crimea. He’d probably prefer to build hotels and casinos there instead of bombing the Crimean coast. There’s a potential fortune to be made in Russia, only it’ll never allow itself to become a western colony or another Libya.

    It can be a desparately lonely and miserable job being the president, if one doesn’t have much support outside the White House. Obama lost interest in it almost immediately he was elected and achieved virtually nothing over eight years, apart from putting Wall Street on welfare and letting his underlings start a series of wars and interventions across the world, all without Congressional approval.

    The United States is a big place with a large population and a massive military and state apparatus, it’s like a super-tanker ploughing its way across an ocean. It’s not a sleek yacht. That’s why there’s so much continuinty from one administration to the next. Radically changing course isn’t easy at all, even if one had the will and ability

    It’s only detail I suppose, but Clinton actually won the popular vote. That means she, on a national level, beat Trump and received mor votes. He came second, yet, he won. Which kind of puts his victory into perspective.

    • John says

      Does your popular vote figure include Arizona, Michigan and New Hampshire – or are they still undeclared?

  5. BigB says

    Excellent Kit.
    If we suspend speculation and disbelief – If you were going to cook an election – what a result! A politically naive, narcisistic and venal client atop the Executive branch – (political infighting aside) both houses of the Legislative branch – and (with a raft of appointments to come) the Judicial branch all in the bag. Where are the “checks and balances?” It is like 1776 never happened.
    As for real change – the political architecture is in place – how will he use it?
    On foreign policy – will he reverse Barbarossa 2.0 (the biggest troop deployment on Russia’s border since 1941); stop arming NATO; and de-escalate the situation with Putin over Novorussia / Crimea?
    Will he reverse the Asia Pivot – repatriate American bases and allow China to open up “Silk routes” to consolidate a trading bloc in the Pacific Rim?
    Will the Diego Garcians get their island back?
    Will he care for America’s 4.5 million users by burning the poppy fields and shutting down the CIA’s global drugs empire?
    Will he conduct joint operations with Russia against Daesh / ISIL whilst at the same time re-arming them?
    Will he allow Putin/Iran to pipe gas to the European market through Syria?
    On domestic policy – will he really be able to set up an Isolationist economy based on manufacture? How will he fund it? (Not from a decreased military budget)
    The status quo is built on debt – is he really going to bite the hand that feeds him – go against Wall St/the Fed – set up Citizen / Sovereign Wealth to fund his New Deal?
    Or as early indications suggest (Chairwoman Yellen is staying for the moment) will QE continue to be pumped into the system to be siphoned off by the vulture Capitalist class – of which he is one?
    When he makes his pro-life strict constitutionalist appointments to the courts – will he roll back the egregious and nefarious police state architecture – the suspension of the Constitution – or just repeal Obamacare and roll back the abortion laws?
    Will he dismantle the prison industrial complex and the two-tier legal system and allow the judiciary to put away the real criminals – like Bush (H W and W) and HRC?
    Will the Lakota Peoples get clean water and their children back – or will they continue to be denied and faced down daily by militarized police?
    Do Black/Hispanic/Muslim/First Nation lives really matter?
    How far will he allow the 9/11 justice movement to gain traction under his new (probable) Attorney General Ruddy Giuliani?
    For these – and many many other reasons – meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

  6. Rhisiart Gwilym says

    Kit, I think you mean “lone wolf” assassin, don’t you, since the official killers are usually patsies set up by the factions within the ruling power-mafias, who actually organise the political killings. Obviously true of Oswald, to anyone who looks seriously at the accumulated evidence around the Kennedy killing.

  7. mog says

    Thought provoking as ever.

    If you are going to list Trump’s policy promises then you should include the environmental, the women’s rights and the racial – for balance.

    I remember Obama’s promises and the reality- as explored in Scott Noble’s film ‘Lifting The Veil’ here:

  8. John says

    The demonstrations against Trump represent a similar reaction to that seen here in the UK following the Leave result of the EU referendum.
    Now in the US – as then in the UK – the losers cannot contain their angst at the result.
    Clinton was – eventually – gracious in conceding defeat – but what else could she do?
    Trump learned from Brexit and had Nigel Farage, Leader of UKIP, on hand to assist and advise him.
    What they both realised was that there was a significant constituency of largely un-polled people, whose ideas, opinions and values were largely ignored by the liberal and conservative media.
    They were the “left-behinders”, people for whom a globalised world of international trade deals had meant only that the quality of their lives has been going downhill for at least the last two decades.
    They were an untapped source of political power, which existed in a subterranean sort of way under the radar.
    Trump plugged into that network of individuals who turned up to rallies but kept their voting intentions secret.
    By themselves, the left-behinders could not win for Trump but in combination with others, they did.
    That is why – despite all the opinion polling showing otherwise – Trump ended up winning.
    The lesson? Listen to the people – all of the people, not just the ones with the biggest mouths.
    As for what happens next – he does not take office until 20 January 2017 – 70 days from today.
    Even then, he will probably need a couple of months to get really started in the job.
    Hopefully, as we get closer to that date his real agenda will become much clearer.
    All we can do is to wait and see what sorts of runes are thrown up by him between now and then…….
    It’s an interesting new world – and we all know what the Chinese proverb says about that !!!!

    • In both cases the young metropolitan “haves” appear the most brainwashed.

  9. Trump is a capitalist, fantastically wealthy and a maverick.

    He is no representative of the Blue Collar vote he was able to mobilise after Sander’s capitulation to Clinton’s game rigging.

    His promises were/are nothing more than simple rhetorical devices to take people along for the ride. If there is any ideological aspect to him it will be cut throat capitalism dressed up as “I’ve got just what you need now dear punters to weather the storm”. Ponchos, any colour you like, but they will be black.

    Maybe he’s a patsy or maybe those Neocon Republicans who changed horses got the kicking, along with the M$M, they all deserved. They certainly had it coming. But it was a kicking they helped organise.

    But I can’t help thinking that though it appeared horses were changed during the race, the riders and their promoters organising the games are still the same. You might say all from the same “ideological” stable.

    In other words it’s a big game, but it’s their game which can be easily rigged to fool the punters. Have we been suckered by a giant “Flockton Grey”? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flockton_Grey
    Or does Trump represent a true schism among warring brothers?

    Aye Kit, we shall wait and see.

  10. writerroddis says

    As far as it goes, this piece is very good indeed. It brings welcome nuance after 24 hours simplistic indulgence, both from those who welcome the result and those who do not. Nicely penned too. I especially like “… a psychopathic warhawk pushing for a war with Russia, with the full weight of a self-deluded middle-class high on their own moral outrage behind her…”

    What the piece fails to address, however, are the many nasty aspects to Trump’s appeal: his climate denialism for one, the fact life looks set to get a good deal scarier for millions of Americans with the wrong skin colour for another. In particular – and without for a moment denying the global evils wrought by HRC and what she represents – I fear the liberation within America of deeply unpleasant forces, and the emboldening of very nasty people.

    I’ve recently commented on an editorial in The Canary which, to my dismay, reflects precisely the “self-deluded middle-class high on their own moral outrage” voice you so eloquently describe, Kit. My near closing words are IMO equally applicable here.

    “Isn’t the simple truth that we knew long ago the next POTUS will be truly appalling? All we found out this morning was which brand of appalling.”

  11. jaques says

    “Let’s say that Trump is sincere in his goals, and let’s say he is allowed to take office and try to introduce his policies – both big ifs, but still.”

    Introduce his policies? Um, he could try- but no won’t happen- actually cannot happen. Firstly most of Trump’s major promises are impossible and therefore undeliverable. He will not create a tsunami of jobs, the Mexicans will not pay for the wall that won’t be built, he cannot deport all of the ‘illegals’ in a few months, nor can he ‘extreme vet’ muslims. If he imposes a Muslim travel ban- that single action would likely cause the world economy to immediately go into 2008 style freefall… He cannot cut the corporate tax rate in half: and pay for all the new infrastructure he promises. Many of his major promises- would actually be highly detrimental to his own business interests and empire. If he tried to enact all of these policies simultaneously as promised- the only possible outcome would be utter chaos and the rapid destruction of the USA.

    If there is one known thing about Donal Trump- it is that he is a bullshit artist who only cares for one person in the World: Donald Trump. Given that he has such high esteem for himself- and his known modus operandi- I imagine he will try to approach the presidency with self preservation and personal enrichment foremost in his mind. It follows then that he will in fact do complete back-flips on virtually all of his promises (all the while denying that he is an acrobat), try and make friends with everyone, offer excuses for not delivering on his promises and become as small a target as possible. If anyone is going to do Trump in- it is most likely his own supporters – when they realise they were lied to by a sociopathic bullshit artist conman who couldn’t give two craps about them.

    the fear is he will be such a complete failure as president he will take it badly- and use the immense power at his disposal to try and get at his enemies. This is the really bad scenario where he starts WW3 just to cover his own ineptitude to deliver his so called golden age of renewed American ‘Greatness’. Like Hitler before- if he can’t have his Reich then he will leave nothing bust ashes and ruins. Sour Grapes of Wrath.

    If I was paranoid I would say he has been put into power as a Patsy- to act as a catalyst for social disintegration, bring about chaos, martial law, instability leading to war and ultimately global depopulation – taking us directly to a new ‘managed’ phase of humanity, the post-apocalyptic ‘Hunger games’ type dystopian world that Hollywood et al seems so keen on predicting these days…

    • Dave Hansell says

      In regards to the last paragraph of this contribution the clear suggestion is that the US elite/shadow Government (s) are preparing the US at least, if not as much of the world as possible, for an intense dose of shock doctrine.

      Trump won the Presidency, in the usual nominal terms, back in the summer when the Democratic Convention and the DNC hierarchy deliberately scuppered the candidacy of the only candidate capable of harnessing the discontent with the economic neo liberal, political neo conservative and social neo feudalism of the end of history exceptionalism of the Washington Consensus for progressive ends in favour of one of their own with a proven track record as a sociopath. Even if Clinton failed to win there were and are sufficient fail safes within the system to deal with any potential lone mavericks like Trump who will find it next to impossible to deliver on any insurgency not deliberately controlled by that consensus as he will be surrounded at every level with those with a psychological, intellectual and emotional stake in that consensus

      The key issue here has always seemed to be to ensure that the multiple discontents against that consensus are captured and controlled by that consensus rather than any genuine progressive alternative. And that is exactly what has happened with Trumps election, as it did with the Brexit referendum and seems set to continue in that vein within and across different EU states from France and Holland through to Austria and Hungry. Trump will bullshit and bluster as usual but will be unable to deliver any of his promises for his core support because they are impractical, nor for the blue collar working class and the rapidly decreasing white collar middle class as the logic of the American business model replaces their jobs with AI systems and offers no replacement jobs in return ( as per previous iterations of the Kondratiev cycles). If Trump gets too out of hand there is no need for dramatics of the kind we saw with Kennedy. He is in his seventies. If he goes before he has served his term of office it will be a ‘heart attack.’

      We are where we are, in the middle of a dangerous game still in play. When the discontent captured by Trump or the pseudo anti establishment represented by the nativist Brexiteers and their fellow travellers across and within other parts of Europe on behalf of the consensus realises that it has been sold a pup, again, it will need a progressive, rather than another fake consensus manufactured, alternative to turn to.

    • “If I was paranoid I would say he has been put into power as a Patsy- to act as a catalyst for social disintegration, bring about chaos, martial law, instability leading to war and ultimately global depopulation – taking us directly to a new ‘managed’ phase of humanity, the post-apocalyptic ‘Hunger games’ type dystopian world that Hollywood et al seems so keen on predicting these days”…

      The fact you can express this idiocy, even online, tells me, yes you are FUCKING MENTALLY PARANOID. But don’t worry ur purdy lil ‘ead too much. If there ever is a ‘managed phase of humanity’ you will have been weeded out well before anything of interest ever occurs.

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