BLOODY hell, the world has gone mad. I am typing, or trying to type, as the headlines swing at my head like beams. The television news is on and my brain is telling my fingers to type. Donald J Trump, that egomaniac, truth-shredding, snake-oil salesman looks on course to be the next President of the US.
A billionaire businessmen with no political experience and a head full of crazy, intemperate notions about building walls and banning Muslims is about to be given the steering wheel of the careening United States mega-bus.
A BBC reporter with a voice strained by talking all night, strained by incredulity too perhaps, is saying that people are waiting for the Democrats to concede. Everyone is waiting for Fox News to declare the result, she says, waiting for Trump to arrive to speak to his supporters.
And yet Hillary Clinton and the Democrats are heading home for the night, saying that the result cannot be called.
Only yesterday – or was it half a turbulent century ago? – Trump was telling supporters at his last rally that this was “Brexit plus Brexit plus Brexit” and it sounded like the usual self-basting hyperbole of a maniac. And now it turns out he was right.
This will be the biggest upset to the political establishment the US has ever seen. And scary news for the rest of the world.
“Hillary Clinton has now conceded on the phone to Donald Trump”
“If that’s true that Hillary Clinton has called to concede, Donald Trump will now be making a victory speech.”
The news is coming in snatches and snippets. And still my fingers stumble to type
“It looks as if Mr Trump is your new President…”
Perhaps the election of Donald Trump is the inevitable outcome of years of bitter anti-politics feelings. On both sides of the Atlantic we have spent years disparaging politicians. And that created a poisonous vacuum in which the likes of Nigel Farage and now Donald Trump have thrived. This is where being against politics gets you.
“Fox New has declared the Presidential election of 2016 for Donald J Trump…”
And now Donald Trump is coming on to the stage with his family. And yes, it’s true. A reality TV host is now going to be the next President of the US. My fingers are still struggling with this. And my brain is fried.
Last night it had seemed that Hillary Clinton was going to be the first female President, and yet the polls were wrong, as they were over Brexit.
“Sorry to keep you waiting, complicated business, complicated business,” says Trump as he comes on to the stage. He is being calm and conciliatory about Hillary Clinton.
“Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division…it is time for us to come together as one united people. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be President of all America.
“As I’ve said from the beginning ours was not a campaign but an incredible movement…”
Well, it was a campaign, a vicious, shin-kicking, shit-stirring campaign, the lowest such contest the US has ever seen, but never mind.
“It’s going to be a beautiful thing… the forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer… we are going to fix our inner cities…
“We are going to dream of things for our country, beautiful things and successful things again…”
And now another voice breaks in. “I might turn this off now…” My wife has switched off the television and who can blame her. It’s good to see history being made, but not that history.
This election was Hillary Clinton’s to lose, and that’s what she has gone and done. Although she shone at times towards the end of the contest, she has been an unappealing candidate, smeared by her own bad judgement over email servers and speaking to Wall Street bankers for a pile of cash. And the name didn’t help: perhaps America just didn’t fancy taking a punt on another Clinton. Too much heavy baggage. Would a different Democrat have fared better? Would the left-wing (for the US) Bernie Sanders have fared better? Well, he couldn’t have fared any worse.
Now we must get used to this strange new world. Barack Obama is still President in name for the curious, and quite long interregnum, and then early next year Donald J Trump will be President. I hope the world is feeling lucky.