Where next? France, Germany, Netherlands?
Published 19/11/2016 | 00:00
Sometime in August I placed a bet with my cousin: if Trump would win the US election she would give me €50 and if Trump lost I would give €50, divided between her three children. My cousin is a smart lady, has her pulse on things, so since the August bet I was beginning to row in with her. At least that was until the Friday before the US election.
That day I was chatting to a City Council worker. He is constantly criticising the establishment and the 'elites' who run the country. He feels institutions such as government and the banks have got away with murder and they must be punished for what has happened.
Three days later I was chatting with a homeless man. Again, we meet regularly and chat about everything and anything. He is constantly arguing that if we can't look after our own in Ireland what are we doing taking in foreigners. When he talks about this particular subject he gets extremely agitated and shouts and roars. Passers by often get quite nervous when he behaves in such a manner. I know him fairly well and deep down he is a gentle soul. On that particular day he was convinced Trump was going to win the election and it was his fervent prayer that he would win. It was impossible for me to say anything in disagreement.
Both men are avid Trump fans. I saw the homeless man the morning after the election so naturally he was thrilled with the result. No doubt my council worker friend is also over the moon about the result. Had I been a gambler I would have gone straight into a betting shop having spoken to both men and put a wager on Trump. They both got it right on Brexit and now they have got it right again on Trump. If a polling company had approached either or both of these men before the election, asking them their views and explaining what they were doing, I have no doubt both men would well have the capacity to lead the interviewer astray.
Millions of people around the world feel disenfranchised, they feel no one is listening to them and they feel 'left outside'. They are angry and they have the tools at their disposal to disseminate their stories. So anytime anyone comes along and promises them to 'dethrone' the elite they have every reason to feel a glimmer of hope. What is painfully sad about it is that the dethroners are themselves part of an 'elite' if not a different type or shape of elitism.
Having spent many years teaching German I'm a little familiar with Germany after World War l and the Weimar Republic. In one of the most sophisticated and cultured countries on earth they fell for the stories of the little man from Austria with the moustache. Once elected he quickly made it his business to carry out all those crazy things he ranted and shouted about.
Then again, maybe Trump is just a chancer and realised so many people are misogynists , homophobes, racists, nationalists, fascists, 'whatever you're having' and told them what they wanted to hear. It seems to be some sort of unstoppable force. Where and what next? France with Le Pen, AfD in Germany, Wilders in the Netherlands, and anything could happen here. Sad times.
It's seldom if ever I gamble but that €50 wager has to be the worst bet I ever won.