n November 8, 2016, Donald Trump won the US presidential elections. The unthinkable had happened and the effect is somewhat like the Boxing Day tsunami which hit the Asia region in December 2004.
If he sticks to his campaign pledges, many of which were shocking, the victory of the president elect will see a complete overhaul of decades-old US practices and policies. The run-up to the election itself saw a seismic rupture with past presidential elections, with candidates attacking each other on a personal level and Mr. Trump even threatening to jail his chief political opponent Hillary Rodham Clinton.
In addition he (Trump) also promised to eliminate regulations on US businesses. The President-elect’s chief campaign slogan however was to ‘drain the swamp’ - to become an agent of change, booting from power the elites who got rich while ordinary Americans struggled. And so it was, when the ballots were finally counted Trump had won 304 electoral collegial votes compared to 227 for Hillary Clinton. It was a comprehensive victory with a major section of US society voting for Trump.
Yet with days to go before his being inaugurated president, the US intelligence forwarded a dossier to current President Obama, the president-elect and leaked it to the media. The dossier contains allegations of a sexual dalliance between the president-elect and Russian prostitutes, which intelligence sources claim could leave the incoming president open to future Russian blackmail.
The media is awash with lurid details of the incident. The document is unsubstantiated and BBC has reported the research was initially funded by anti-Trump Republicans! Despite the media brouhaha, the president elect retains his popularity with electors.
A question which comes to mind is why was this document released/leaked to the media so late in the day? Despite intelligence services having the document in their possession during the election campaign. After all did not the selfsame intelligence services leak stories and even reopen investigations into allegations of presidential nominee Hillary Clinton while the election campaign was in progress.
Why? That is the million dollar question… Are the forces which brought Trump to the helm of power in the US feeling threatened? Is he being seen as a threat to big business, mega profits and the powers that be?
A multi-billion dollar businessman himself, Trump appeared to be the best bet to US big business especially in light of his promise to eliminate regulations on U.S. businesses.
After the election however, Trump changed his tune, in an interview with ‘Time’ magazine he promised to drive down the cost of medicines, defying investors who saw a boon in his election. “ I’m going to bring down drug prices,” Trump said, according to a transcript of an interview posted on Time magazine’s website as it named him its Man of the Year. “I don’t like what’s happened with drug prices.”
He also singled out Carrier Corp. and Ford Motor Co. in efforts to keep jobs in the U.S., and called out Boeing Co. for the cost of replacing the Air Force One presidential aircraft.
Trump has also said that he intends improving relations with Russia. The US intelligence community meanwhile charged Russia with attempting to interfere in the US elections by hacking into the Democratic Party emails and giving the contents to anti-secrecy websites to publish.
Trump rejected the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia had meddled in the election, and ridiculed the assessment. He pointed out to the faulty US intelligence services reports claiming the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Syria.
Improved US-Russia relations could see a drop in tensions world-wide, but will of course be a blow to the arms lobby as improved relations between the world’s super powers would see a drop in conflicts the world over. Peace does not bring mega profits to the arms lobby.
The US president has since his election antagonized powerful lobbies within the US system. Is the system striking back?
The bigger question however, is whether US democracy as we presently know it can survive and exist in the aftermath of a Trump presidency?
Time will tell.