‘This is the result, we have to deal with it now’
Months of campaigning have led up to the American elections. Surprised, shocked, depressed, overfilled with joy: media have been overflowing with different opinions and feelings on Trump’s victory. But now that, according to some, the worst has happened, what will be the consequences? This is one of the questions that a panel of four experts tried to answer in the panel discussion that was organized by Academic Forum and HOVO on the 10th of November.
Though trying to look forward, the four panelists, Frans Verhagen (expert on American issues), Willem Post (American history expert), Kirsten Verdel (media and campaign strategist) and Hubert Smeets (Russia expert), could not resist to briefly touch upon the question of why this has happened. To Verhagen, the results do not come as such a surprise. “This is a long term development. In America, there are so many poor white people that have been ignored for so long. One of Trump’s big wins has been simply to acknowledge them and their problems and worries.”
“For Putin, Trump’s win is a very big deal”
But lower class white people are not the only support group Trump has. According to Smeets, Putin might also be relieved: “For Putin, Trump’s win is a very big deal. It is very likely that Trump will put a stop to TTIP, which is a very positive development for Russia. With the acceptance of TTIP, Russia would be completely alone when it comes to trading, which would cost them a lot of money. Furthermore, Trump seems to be one of the few to support Russia in its endeavor to take over Crimea.” It is thus safe to say that Trump’s victory is very beneficial to Russia.
“The politician who becomes president is different from the politician we see during campaigns.”
However, no one is entirely sure what to expect from Trump. The majority of the panel seems to think that his actions might not be as radical as his words, though it is not clear if these are expectations or simply desires. “History shows us that presidents always get something better out of themselves once they get into office”, Post says. “The politician who becomes president is different from the politician we see during campaigns.”
“American democracy is mature and can cope with a bruising.”
The quartet of experts also discusses some of the questions that come from the audience, ranging from European consequences to the unification of the United States. Though interesting speculations are made, the overall outcome still seems to be that no one can really predict what Trump is going to do. A daunting perspective for most, but Post speaks some words of encouragement: “This is the result, we have to deal with it now. History has taught us that the American democracy is mature and can cope with a bruising.”