Predictions about a Trump presidency

Wednesday November 9 2016

By BANKELELE
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Most Kenyans are watching the arrival of President-elect Donald Trump with a mix of shock and incredulity at the choice of American voters.

They have invested massive emotional capacity in an event that may have no real impact on their lives.

Donald Trump convincingly won the presidency for the Republican Party that now controls both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

When you look at a state-by-state map of the US election outcome, it is a massive red patch with dots of blue.

Americans tend to vote for outsiders untainted by the bureaucracy in Washington, DC, the capital, that many Americans love to hate. 

Trump has convinced his supporters that America has been overtaken by China because of its past bad leadership and emasculated in the world because of its poor negotiations.

This is not about why Hillary Clinton did not win. Before he faced her, Donald Trump flattened a field of more qualified Republican governors and senators who were considered insiders, or career politicians, which Trump proudly said he was not.

He used simple talk and short sentences, peppered with insults which some said effectively communicated his message to eight-year-olds. He also used Twitter to communicate directly with his (currently) 13.5 million followers.

DECAYING HIGHWAYS

What does this mean for the world and perhaps for Kenya? Not much really.

For almost twenty years, Donald Trump had been a frequent guest on the "Howard Stern Show", one of the top radio programmes in the United States, where he made many pronouncements, long before he ever became a candidate for the presidency.

Some of those views continued into his campaign and its messages. Some of his comments about women have been revealed, but not much else

Who are the winners and losers from a Trump presidency? Winners will include American businesses such as building and oil companies, Russia, Israel, US airlines and the military.

Trump has lamented the decay of US highways and airports, neglected and lacking reinvestments and maintenance. He may see reinvestment in infrastructure as a stimulus to the economy.

Losers will include China, world trade, the Middle East peace process and immigration reform. Also Gulf carriers, donor aid, Muslims, Africa, Britain, Obamacare and the Mexican peso. He will focus on America, not the world.

How much energy will Trump have to effect change? His party has a majority in both houses of Congress, but he has shown impatience with bureaucracy and negotiations, and he is not a favourite of many Republican leaders, who did not endorse him before his historic win.

CUTTING ONE ARM OFF

While he has been elected by broad swathes of Republican, conservative voters, these leaders have not really embraced him and he owes them no favours.

Some doubt whether he understands government systems, law-making, or how the world economy works. This is, after all, his first government job.

The world he now leads is a complex one, not one put down with a sharp Twitter message. How will he deal with the complicated issue of the Middle East, with its shifting alliances, to fight the spread of terror, the mutual enemy?

While he may lament that American jobs have gone to China and that China floods Americans with cheap steel and products, the reality is that for more and more companies, China is where most raw materials come from and where most finished products are sold. You simply can't cut one arm off. 

Trump himself has been accused of taking Chinese investor money to put up buildings, casinos, and hotels and then slapping his name on them.

As Donald Trump gets his chance to “Make America Great Again’, this will be an interesting four – or eight – years.

Twitter: @bankelele