There are at least two things that we know about Donald Trump’s victory over Secretary Hilary Clinton as President of the United States. First, it was one of the biggest upsets in recent American electoral history.
All along during the campaign, it had been speculated that Hilary was the favorite to win. But her use of personal emails during her tenure as Secretary of State, and candidate Donald Trump’s constant and persistent hammering away against it, even calling it “criminal” that should land her in jail, brought the whole thing into close, acrimonious spotlight, which decimated her very favorable poll ratings.
Second, the campaign has been described as one of the most hostile in American political history. Why it had to be that way is due to the nature of the candidate Donald Trump, who started his campaign in a completely unorthodox manner, causing many, including the entire Republican establishment, to consider some of his statements as simply outrageous and unexpected of one who wants to be US President and Commander-in-Chief. But the more they criticized him, the more he volleyed out his extraordinary views, including barring Muslims from entering the USA; building a wall between the US and
Mexico to halt illegal immigration and forcing Mexico to pay for it; and deporting back to their countries millions of illegal immigrants.
And the more Mr. Trump barked, the more publicity he received—totally free publicity that won him time on radio and television; the bigger the crowds that followed him wherever he went.
As some people said in the past two or three days, Trump was venting a lot of anger that was in the hearts of most Americans, and therefore his expressions resonated with them, dramatically increasing his following everywhere he went.
All of this explained the outpouring of support for him at the polls on Tuesday, leading to his surprising, in many instances unbelievable victory over Secretary Clinton.
The first thing we can learn from the campaign is that as soon as it became clear that she was losing the election, Secretary Clinton placed a call to Donald Trump to concede defeat. That is what happens most of the time in American elections. We hope that most of us Africans would follow this noble example. See how the failure to do that led to civil war in the Ivory Coast in 2010.
Second, Trump gracefully accepted Secretary Clinton’s concession and went on to praise her for her 30 incredible years of service to the American people.
Third, President Barack Obama, who along with his wife had vigorously campaigned for Hilary, told the world on television yesterday afternoon that he, too, had called President-Elect Trump to congratulate him, and had invited him to come to the White House today (Thursday), only two days after the election, to discuss a transition plan. Obama said he had also instructed his team to work with President-Elect Trump and his team as they prepare to move into their new office and home.
This, we submit, is one of the hallmarks of American democracy and civilization, and has been that way since 1776, when America declared its independence from Great Britain.
One of the things that make this possible is that Americans love and respect their country, its democratic traditions and values.
What we at this newspaper have been doing for a very long time is to encourage our people to be patriotic—to love their country and people and to do everything possible to help move her forward in every way and every positive direction.
One of the ways we can do this is to honor and respect our Constitution and the three branches of government it has created, and do everything we can to keep these three branches separate and equal. No one should be allowed to do anything that violates the sanctity of these three independent and separate branches of government – for it is such interference that undermines the entire national fabric and leads to instability and even conflict.
This is especially critical as we prepare for our own 2017 elections by which we shall prepare to engender a smooth transfer of power from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to a new administration, headed by a newly elected President of Liberia.
To make this happen, we must all work hard to ensure that the ensuing elections are free, fair, transparent, and credible, just as we saw the American elections on Tuesday.
All Liberians must ensure that nothing less than this takes place, for it is in all of our sacred interest that it does.