Monday, April 22, 2024

EDITORIAL: Today belongs to The Donald

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TODAY, the United States of America installs its 45th president in what is expected to be a ceremony that will be boycotted by a number of Congressmen, but attended by almost a million people and viewed internationally with great interest and speculation by the whole world.

Whether half of America wants to believe it or not, today is Donald Trump’s day.

After all, Trump, the unconventional outsider, methodically overcame 17 opponents, many with great experience or money or both, to win the Republican Party’s nomination.

Then with spirit and spunk, he upset the pollsters to whip a far more experienced person, the first woman to carry a leading party’s nomination, Hillary Clinton of the Democratic Party.

Whatever is being said about who influenced the outcome of the election held in November last year, on the basis of information before us today, Donald Trump won according to the rules of the game.

We sense that the mood of a wide cross section of America is not in a celebratory mood. Trump’s low approval rating, the lowest in modern history, tells that story.

When Barrack Obama won the White House in 2008, it was a time of great festivity because he was the first black man to hold the reins of power there. The view was that change had finally come to the United States.

Eight years later, we can again say change has come to the United States. Unfortunately.

The change that has ushered in this new president is one that continues to baffle the pundits. Trump himself is not doing much to change perceptions either. He remains in electioneering mode, is intolerant of criticism, resorts to intemperate tweets and engages in tirades that are distracting and unhelpful.

But Trump moves into office with great promises and high expectations based on his campaigning rhetoric, which was spiced with simple one-liners like “build the wall”, “drain the swamp”, “lock her up” and “you have nothing to lose”.

The new president will soon realise that running his country requires far more than 140-word tweets and one-line slogans.

Further, his concept of deporting, repealing, replacing and even building a wall are not possible, given the structure and pace of government. He will soon recognise that the American Constitution, political conventions, and bureaucratic processes and procedures will combine to stall his plan for a high-velocity administration.

Capitol Hill has a way of consuming all who have to work within it and we predict that Donald Trump will simply be the next victim or be subject to an unprecedented internal rebellion.

In the meantime, he deserves our best wishes. And our prayers.

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