People ask why Nigerians are so interested in the outcome of the American elections. The truth is apart from the thousands of Nigerians that live and school in America, America still remains a key travel destination for a lot of Nigerians, and the new president will have a lot to say about immigration.
America also holds a strategic place in world business and trade whether it’s in crude oil or fashion.
The signs were there pretty early and as I watched CNN in the early hours of this morning, I wondered about the reaction of people when all the results finally came in.
Donald Trump and the Republican Party took the key states of Florida, North Carolina and Ohio early in the elections leading to early panic in the Clinton camp as Hillary was expected to win in Florida.
Barack Obama won 334 electoral votes in 2008(the first real year I took interest in the American elections) winning a very strategic election, posting victory in states that were ordinarily out of democratic reach and showing that topics like racism, participation of African Americans, etc; which were heavily talked about before the elections did not affect final results as much as was expected.
As Americans claim to be in shock and CNN shows us pictures of sad white, black, Hispanic Americans, I couldn’t help but think about some lessons we can learn from this;
1. Internet And Polling Sentiment Is Not Yet Strong Enough To Be Truly Representative Of Everyone: Fundamentally polls are flawed and the crowds do not speak with the loudest voices. It’s easy to overthink how popular you are.
“77% of the electorate are women, people of color, young adults under 35 and Trump can’t win a majority of any of them!” — or logic — “people aren’t going to vote for a guy like Trump or against their own best interests!”.
Facebook likes, Mannequin challenges, retweets, twitter polls and Instagram sentiments may work in business but don’t win you elections, actual voting does. They are fun to watch and laugh at but you can’t force a closet anarchist to change his vote.
2. People’s True Intentions Are Difficult to Change. The American elections seem to have been decided by people’s true intentions and their fears of changing a 240-year male dominance.
3. Certain Sentiments Are Easier Talked About Than Actually Changed: In 2008, the first Black president became President of the United States and suddenly everyone began to talk about a maturity of the American society. On his way to winning, Obama defeated Hillary with his message of “the past versus the future” to pick up the democratic nomination, something a lot of people doubted would happen pointing to what the stronger sentiment was for them. A black Male president or a Female white president, they eventually chose the Male black president vs the female white president. In 2016, the sentiment still remains the same and the struggle to paint Trump as unserious hasn’t been able to erase the main sentiment.
4. In America, “Sins” Are Different: Throughout the election seasons, people’s perception of Hillary as untrustworthy and dishonest continued to rise to the top. Every time she made statements on her views about gay marriage, women in leadership, the wars in Iraq and her involvement in Syria, there was always the question of whether she was being sincere or just saying what was needed to win the elections. Trump was portrayed as many things, from tax evader to minorities hater to certain sexual accusations, but ultimately Hillary’s sins have been judged to be bigger. Even among the democrats, people are less excited to vote for Hillary than they were to vote for Barack Obama.
5. Democracy Is The True Winner In All This: As twisted as it may seem, a Trump victory is actually a victory for democracy. People can truly decide to rise above the expectations of their friends, society, other countries, etc.’ and vote with their hearts for who they want, not caring how the media has painted him. Whether they chose fear over progress or not, you can’t take away that the results show Democracy as the true winner.
By Ifeanyi Great Abraham, Senior PR & Digital Manager at eTranzact International Limited