Will everyone please shut up with their Donald Trump predictions
Yonden Lhatoo finds it unbelievable that people still think they know what the next US president is up to when they got it so wrong, right from the unlikely start
Can everyone – and I mean everyone – please shut up already about why it was obvious that Donald Trump would win the US presidential election and what’s going to happen next.
Let’s face it: you had, and still have, no idea. Nobody has a real clue, apart from The Donald himself and his innermost circle. Just like no one knew that he would defy all the odds to defeat Hillary Clinton and take over the most powerful job on the planet.
Nothing in the mainstream media should be taken seriously any more when it comes to crystal ball-gazing on Trump. Their predictions were all wrong, and the sad attempts at prophecy along the lines of “five reasons why so-and-so may win” just don’t cut it. If Gandhi were running against Hitler, you could write five reasons why either candidate might win; that would be a cop-out, rather than clairvoyant.
Look at the facts again, to illustrate Trump’s unpredictability.
All that reprehensible rhetoric about banning Muslims from entering the US has now been toned down to suspending visas for countries where “adequate screening cannot occur”.
The equivalent of the Great Wall of China that he vowed to build along the Mexican border to shut out illegal immigrants will now be partial fencing.
And, rather than deporting all undocumented immigrants, he’s now talking about kicking out two to three million “criminals”, and even that number seems inflated.
Watch: Trump backs off pledge to ‘lock her up’
He told Clinton to her face that he would have her formally investigated for corruption. Now he’s decided “she’s been through enough” and he’ll leave her alone.
After dismissing global warming as a “hoax” and threatening to scuttle UN climate change deals, he now acknowledges there is “some, something” there.
At the same time, he’s making good on his promise to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 12-nation trade deal that the man he’s succeeding, Barack Obama, took seven years to negotiate.
Looking at his cabinet picks and key appointments so far, again, his unpredictability is on full display.
His chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, is, depending on who you’re listening to, a closet Nazi, white supremacist and “the most dangerous political operative in America”, or an astute “economic nationalist” who will provide that much-needed shake-up of the smug Washington establishment.
Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, is either a “career racist” who will cement the revival of white supremacy or a “world-class legal mind” to oversee American justice. Another highly controversial pick is retired general Michael Flynn as national security adviser, a man who believes “fear of Muslims is rational” and Islamism is a “vicious cancer”.
Then, above all, there’s vice-president-elect Mike Pence, a conservative favourite and veteran Washington insider who is the antithesis of the anti-establishment drive that galvanised Trump’s election campaign. Maybe he will actually run the country?
It goes back to my full faith in – not approval of – the American system, that the country will protect its interests and do what it has always done, no matter who is in the White House.
Nobody knows what’s going on for real, despite the amnestic return to pompous predictions.
The only thing that’s obvious is the next US president is a man who regularly stays up till 3am just to have the last word on Twitter, no matter how infantile the argument and undignified the conduct, coming from the purported leader of the free world. Draw some real conclusions from that.
The rest is all conjecture.
Yonden Lhatoo is a senior editor at the Post