There are two things you get when you imagine Donald Trump: First, you are confronted with an enigma. Second, you have to find the code to a puzzle. If your imagination is fertile enough, you get a combustible combo of an enigmatic puzzle. He makes you think. He makes you wonder. He makes you angry. He makes you ask the most urgent and perplexing question: how did America get here?
Well, here we are, staring at the frightening prospect of a Donald Trump presidency. We are surviving on half a slice of hope, hoping against hope that we will not wake up tomorrow to hear that Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States of America. Our eyes are glued to the polls, checking and crosschecking the figures to check how far Hillary is leading in the polls, and how fast Trump closing in.
Just a few months ago, pollsters in Britain got it all wrong when they predicted a tight race between former PM David Cameron and then Labour Leader Ed Miliband. It turned out British voters had said one thing but did another thing during voting. It was not a tight battle after all; the Conservatives won convincingly, sending leader Miliband out of frontline British politics. So we are not gulping down all the polls in the American elections without any questions. They all say Hillary is leading, but Trump is not losing.
Donald John Trump could win. All the odds are against him. The media is against him. The Republican establishment is against him. The academic community is against him. Barbara Bush is very much against him. The House Speaker is not for him. Yet Trump enjoys a massive following, commanding some 43 and more percent in recent polls. With the polls tightening, a Trump victory may be lurking in the womb of time.
The prospect of a Trump presidency continues to scare some of the finest minds in America, including Nobel Literature Laureate, Wole Soyinka. The Nigerian-born playwright told students at Oxford: “If in the unlikely event he does win, the first thing he’ll do is to say that all green-card holders must reapply to come back into the US. Well, I’m not waiting for that. The moment they announce his victory, I will cut my green card myself and start packing up.” Soyinka presently lives and works in the U.S as a scholar-in-residence at New York University’s Institute of African American Affairs.
Trump is different
Soyinka is not the only one who will leave or renounce their American citizenship if Trump becomes President. An African-American centenarian, Mrs. Thelma Feastra, has sworn that she would not remain in the United States if Trump became president. The 101 year old told a correspondent at the Hampton Voter Registrar: “I want to get the best people out there to take care of the citizens; so I voted Hillary. I am hoping the election will be alright. However, If Trump wins, I guess I will just pack my bags and leave the U.S.”
Trump is no monster; he is just different, as observed by Fareed Zakaria. The Washington Post columnist and CNN anchor supports Hillary. In his column on 06 November, 2016, he described Trump as “a cancer on American democracy”, explaining that “Not just because he is obnoxious, tacky and vulgar, or that his business dealings show him to be a scam artist. He is different because of what he believes.” He concludes that “Donald Trump is not a normal candidate.”
True, Trump is not your normal politically correct politician. He has crossed all the lines and lined up in his firing line everything that appears reasonable and conventional. He has insulted women, ethnic minorities, Moslems and politicians. He attacked the physical looks of Carly Fiorina during the Republican primaries and has demeaned the femininity of Hillary during debates, calling her nasty. When he saw blacks counting money in the accounts office of one of his business concerns, he angrily reacted that he did not want blacks managing his accounts. He is racist, bullish, sexist and rough.
Make America strange again
Why are people not talking about what could go right if Trump becomes President? People are genuinely scared of what will happen if he does win. Musician Steve Wonder does not care mocking his own disability; he has said that voting Trump is like asking him (a blind man) to drive you out for shopping. Obama has questioned his temperament. Yet, he remains unstoppable. He has defied all the odds.
Donald Trump falls into the category of what came to be called “Are you kidding me candidates.” These are politicians whose candidature was mocked by the American public, with many asking: “Are you kidding me?” Some of these candidates became great presidents. Ronald Reagan was one such candidate. He became the 40th President to occupy the Oval Office. Democrat Barack Obama has lots of admiration for him, even though he maintains Abraham Lincoln is his favourite. Both are Republicans.
Donald Trump is also a Republican. Well, not your typical establishment Republican. The British Parliament spent three hours debating Trump, with the MPs taking turns to address the American as a buffoon, an idiot and a demagogue. Such is the effect Trump has had on the world this year. Trump may well become one of America’s greatest Presidents. It will not be the first time a Bush ruled the world.
Changing the narrative
We forget that Trump is but human, and there may be a good side to him. He may not build the tall wall and may not ban Moslems from entering America. He would change his narrative completely and embrace a more diplomatically correct rhetoric. He is already making some progress by allowing his campaign team to manage his Twitter account. He may even be very tolerant of immigrants. Don’t forget his first and third wives have both been immigrants–Czech Republic and Slovenia respectively.
To Soyinka’s surprise, Trump may not ask holders of Green Card to leave America and reapply. He might instead facilitate their citizenship. If Soyinka’s literary creation in The Lion and the Jewel, Sidi, found reason to change her mind about Baroka, the dramatist should not be shocked to find President Donald Trump Africa’s best friend.
The Nigerian scholar may not need to cut up his Green Card or pack his bags to Nigeria. It is not pretty there. Well, Donald J. Trump just won. But he may not come after you.