Dual US and Irish citizen, UCC student James Healy argues Donald Trump’s self-interest will come to the fore when he assumes the presidency
23:00: The New York Times predicts Clinton to win at 85 per cent, National Polls show she’s considerably ahead. A final check of the old reliable oracle Paddy Power, Trump is at 5/1. “5/1 in a two-horse race?” Time for bed.
23:30: Anxiety, “What-Ifs” and Armageddon scenarios play through my head. Eventually, I silence these disastrous dilemmas. “Crazy thoughts”, I tell myself. My mind believes it and I fall asleep.
02:20: As if my body sensed an upset in the fabrics of the free world, I wake. I roll over in bed and refresh my phone. Dreary eyes are now wide open – “Trump wins Florida.” An upset is unfolding. My gut, my brain and the global markets are in a state of volatility. I try and control my breathing. Several swing states will still get her the vote. “Great! My vote will win her Wisconsin.
03:00: I succumb to sleep and a silenced mind.
05:30: *Switches off airplane mode* *refreshes browser* *results appear* *refreshes again*
My heart and my stomach feel like they are being forced up through my airways. I am breathless. I am speechless. I feel voiceless. First reaction: curl into the foetal position and call mother. She answers the phone in her mellow, just risen, Midwestern accent, “Morning my dear.” She hasn’t heard. I grasp a breath and break the news. In a moment, only comparable to the passing of a family member, a dead silence ensues. She then cries. I cry.
Adjectives of racism, fascism and xenophobia are now clichéd when spoken in the same wheeze as Trump. In my opinion, the most accurate depiction of Trump, is a self-centred egomaniac who has forged an existence in winning at all costs.
Donald J, through the entirety of his career, has warped businesses and himself to fit his distorted perception of the surrounding landscape. In 1984, Richard Branson showed success with Virgin Atlantic and five years later Trump goes into the airline business – Trump Shuttle fails after just three years. An avid supporter of democrats, friend of the Clintons and supporter of abortion in the late nineties – he runs a campaign completely opposed to his prior beliefs.
Trump’s sale of his morality is arguably the only successful transaction of his career. The only applicable analogy for his behaviour, is the life cycle of the common brown rat. A survivalist and a beast who will eat its own young if faced with starvation.
In 1347, the common rat landed on Europe’s shores accompanied by its hidden, deadly accomplice, the flea. What ensued was the Black Death and it killed one in three people. A terror accomplished not by the rat but it’s infectious assailant, Yersinia pestis. In 2016, the plague has crossed the Atlantic, it has reached south eastern coasts and has spread to the main lands of the United States. At first glance the billionaire would be to blame, just as the rat was falsely accused in the Middle Ages. Though, just like the bubonic plague, whose true culprit was invisible to sight; deeper, darker forces hidden to the naked eye have manifested themselves through the medium of Trump. Similarly to the 14th century, this election will result in a modern pandemic.
The true mediator of this infection was the radical right wing. Background teams of Trump’s ‘advisors’ and daily propaganda, dispersed fabricated facts and statistics aimed at evoking deeply conservative reflexes in the US’s Rust Belt regions. White working class families with poor education, many struggling to feed their families were targeted to view social unity and racial integration as evil. An evil they perceived to be manifested in an e-mail scandal. Central to this was Trump’s eccentric campaign manager, Stephen Bannon CEO of Breitbart News. Breitbart, known for its concoctions of conspiracy theories aimed at Clinton, helped birth phrases like ‘Lock her up.’ He is now been appointed The White House’s Chief Strategist. Add radical Tea Party members like Sarah Palin to this circus and many of the nonconventional characteristics of Trump’s winning campaign and rhetoric make sense.
Species of survival, ensure their own victory at any cost. This is done through their rapid adaptations when faced with a change in environment. The White House is very different to a town hall rally in Tennessee. And just as the rat will eat its own faeces in adverse times, Trump will certainly shape shift again when he enters the Oval Office.
The mystery is, will the president elect allow his campaign to be controlled by the radical Republican agenda through puppet strings, or, will his ego prevail and fight his advisors who defy his authority? As his election trail of hate produced an unprecedented underdog victory, Trump will likely have an innate preference to ultra-conservatism. Though, on the highest podium in global politics it is possible that the ever-changing face of Donald Trump, could emerge as a relative moderate. An individual terrified by his critics and the implications of his actions.
Global uncertainty has never been so certain. Will our generation witness a Third World War, will established global relationships dissolve or will Donald face impeachment? Nobody knows. One outcome is guaranteed; the lifelong metamorphosis of Donald J. Trump will continue for as long as the man himself lives. He will shift, and bend, and slither into whatever form ensures his own prosperity.
It took the world two hundred years to recover from the social upheaval created by the Black Plague. It took a further six hundred years for the bacterial infection to be controlled. What happened the rats? Their population grew exponentially and they continue to infest our society, commonly feared as harbingers of disease and illness.
When self-interest is one’s most fundamental drive, it ensures one’s benefit and survival, even if it’s at the cost of the world as we know it.