The US Presidential Election: A Conclusion
I am going to be in Parliament until quite late tonight. I took part in the Ministry of Finance debate this morning and will now stay on to debate on commodities tonight.
It is now official that Trump is the new president elect. I predicted this result some 9 months ago but became certain after Sanders lost his nomination campaign. What is clear is Clinton had very low emotional trust factor with voters. But the biggest factor for her defeat is the fact that she was swimming against the global tide of anti-establishment feelings.
Clinton is the ultimate establishment figure backed by the rich and powerful elite, banks and corporations. What we have been seeing since last year, is a global anti-establishment wave as people around the world lose faith in incumbent governments to solve issues of inequality.
What will a Trump presidency mean to the world?
We will most likely see a more isolationist position and a big scale back on neo liberal trade and economics. I believe Trump will cut defence spending and will be less interventionist in wars and international disputes. The upside is, we may have a once in a lifetime chance for peace in the Middle East. The down side is, his volatile personality could create a war, if he is slighted.
For economics, he appears to believe in protectionist policies to “make America great again”. This means a bigger focus on building American industries and American jobs. I think he will also be anti-bankers. He will put a hand-brake on global free trade and this could spell trade turmoil. He is also unlikely to print more money.
Frankly, we don’t know enough about his economic policies. I believe he will not be guided by any philosophy but will take a pragmatic approach, mixing capitalism and socialism just to get results. It could be like Thaksinomics, another billionaire turned politician.
What can Malaysia expect?
Firstly, we will likely dodge the TPPA bullet. We will also move closer to China’s geo-political orbit as Trump will reduce foreign policy in Asia as he focuses on rebuilding America. Trump, unlike Obama, will also not be as friendly to Najib and we may see more aggressive DoJ positions next year. Short term, our economy will take a beating as global stock markets are set to continue falling.
What can we learn from the results?
People are tired of politicians and are craving for actions and results. People are tired of the establishments and any system that perpetuates inequality. There will be a rise of both right and left wing politics as the centrist, corrupt, corporate backed model collapses.
What we need to do?
We need to promote and strengthen more progressive and social market economic system. We need to prepare a foundation to challenge the rise of the racist, right wing governments. We must not have a second Trump come to power. The left must break away from the undue influence of corporations. No more Clintons, Obamas or Tony Blairs. We need more Sanders and Corbyns. We need Elizabeth Warren to step up. We must seek out better leaders who are not tainted by money politics.
The anti establishment wave also means that voters are increasingly looking at candidates and not at party affiliation. Voters now get most of their news from social media, not news propaganda. They will increasingly judge candidates as individuals and not the party. Trump’s victory signals this trend. Bottom line is we must learn from Trump’s victory to prevent another Trump coming to power. In the meantime, we will have to brace for a wild roller-coaster ride.