Halting the Drift Toward Greater Hate Due to Trump’s Victory
School of Political Science and Economics, Meiji University
October surprises, difference in managing crises
An “October surprise” refers to an unexpected development that occurs about a month before election day and has a major impact on the results of the election. For the 2016 election, both candidates faced October surprises. First, it came to light at the beginning of October that Donald Trump had not paid any federal income tax, and people began to have doubts about him. However, people grew suspicious of Clinton when the content of a private speech she gave at the Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs was uploaded to WikiLeaks. The speech revealed that she made the case for free trade even though officially opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This was then followed by Trump’s crude comments about women and women scandals, which many people viewed harshly. At that time, it was widely reported that Clinton was favored to win, but eleven days before the election, and Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation James Comey announced that he was relaunching an examination into Clinton’s emails, and the contours of the election once gain changed. Although the decision was made not to relaunch the investigation, that announcement occurred two days before the election. As a result, 47% of caught-in-dilemma independent voters, who made up 30% of the electorate, voted for Trump, and only 42% voted for Clinton. With October surprises, the focus is not simply on the surprising development but also on the ability of the candidate to manage the crisis. One could argue that there was a major difference in how Trump dismissed the crude comments as mere “locker room banter,” but Clinton was unable to effectively respond to the email problem.
Sharp message that excited the white working class
Placard actually used by the Clinton campaign
On the other hand, having adopted the campaign model of a “multi-culture alliance,” the same one used by President Obama, Clinton based her argument on being the first female U.S. president, but she was unable to generate the same level of excitement as that for “electing Obama the first black U.S. president.” This was partly because of her message. When Clinton launched her campaign in April 2015, her first message was “fighting for the middle class.” Her campaign felt, however, that this message was not taking root, and in July 2016, she began to communicate a message of “stronger together.” In fact, while canvasing in New Hampshire in August 2015, I was told by a white female independent voter, “Trump, not Clinton, is fighting for the middle class.” Even one year before the campaign changed its message, canvassers working on her campaign felt that the initial message was not resonating with voters. In other words, for fifteen months after launching her campaign, there was a vacuum related to her message, and Trump’s message steadily found its way into the hearts of the white working class.
“Hidden Trump supporters” muddied the data
Trump possesses three unique values, not shared values
Presidents in the past touted common values of “democracy,” “freedom,” and “human rights,” but Trump’s values are his own, such as those listed above. The world, including Japan, will have to negotiate with a new U.S. president who does not place much stock in the shared values that have been built up over the years. Many aspects of what this will lead to are still unknown.
What is definite is that because of Trump’s victory, there is growing trend toward anti-immigration, anti–free trade, and anti-globalization throughout the world, and hate toward cultural diversity has grown. Clinton touted the slogan, “Love trumps hate,” but now that Clinton has lost, someone has to stop this trend. President Obama hopes that German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be that person. In the congratulatory message regarding Trump’s victory, Merkel stated, “If Trump shares our values (democracy, freedom, respect for rights, and valuing the dignity of all people), I am prepared to work with him.” I believe that as President Obama expected, Merkel is our hope.
* The contents of articles on M's Opinion are based on the personal ideas and opinions of the author and do not indicate the official opinion of Meiji University.
Professor, School of Political Science and Economics, Meiji University
Intercultural Communication, Intercultural Management, Industrial and Organizational Psychology
President-elect Trump and the U.S. path forward
Main books and papers:
◆ Obama Saisen No Uchimaku—Obama Jinei Wo Sasaeta Nihonjin Ga Kataru Senkyo Senryaku [Inner Workings of Obama’s Reelection—Election Strategy As Described By a Japanese Obama Supporter] (Doyukan, 2013)
◆ Obama + Konori– VS Tipati [Barak Obama + Gerry Connolly Vs Tea Party] (Doyukan, 2011)
◆ Risuku To Kaifukuryoku—Tokyo Denryoku Fukushima Daiichi Genpatsu Jiko Kara Manabu Ridashippu [Risk and Resilience—Leadership Learned From the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident] (Doyukan, 2011)
◆ Toyota Kochokai Kara Manabu Ibunka Komyunikeshon [Intercultural Communication Learned From theToyota Congressional Hearing ] (Doyukan, 2011)
◆ Nihonjin Dake Ga Shiranai Amerika Ga Obama Wo Eranda Honto No Riyu—Obama Kusa-no-Ne Undo [The Real Reason Why the America Elected Obama, Only Japanese Do Not Know—Obama Grass Root Movements] (Doyukan, 2009)
◆ Ajia Chiiki To Nikkeikigyou—Indo/Chugoku Shinshutsu Wo Kangaeru Kigyo He No Teigen [Asia and Japanese Companies—Advice For Companies Considering Launching Operations in India or China] (Doyukan, 2008)
◆ Gappei Kigyo No Mochibeshon Kanri—Soshikibunka No Mayu Wo Do Daha Suru Ka [Managing Motivation in Merging Companies—How to Break Free of the Cocoon of Organization Culture] (CHUOKEIZAI-SHA, 2005)
◆ Ibunka Koraboreta No Shigoto—Gappei Ha Naze Umaku Ikanai No Ka? [Work of an Intercultural Collaborator—Why Mergers Do Not Go Well] (CHUOKEIZAI-SHA, 2004)
◆ Ibunka Bijinesu Handobukku—Jirei To Taishoho [Interculture Business Handbook—Examples and Coping Mechanisms] (Gakubunsha, 2002)
And numerous others