People across Britain woke up this morning to a piece of news they may not have expected. Donald Trump, property tycoon and reality TV star, had defied the pundits to be voted in as the 45th President of the United States.
The experts had long been in broad agreement, predicting the experienced Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton would prevail. Yet, despite making a series of controversial comments, any one of which alone might have finished a lesser character, Trump came through and will be inaugurated in January.
Trump’s win has wrong-footed politicians all over the world and the financial markets temporarily convulsed in their surprise, but Champions Speakers knew someone who had more than just an inkling he might win the day.
We looked to Suzanne Evans, UKIP Parliamentary Spokesperson and prominent party leadership candidate, for her response.
She was unequivocal, telling us “This result should only be shocking to those living in a liberal, leftie bubble. It was very obvious to me that Trump seized the agenda from the outset. He was getting all the media coverage. He was setting the tone and the subject matter for the debates throughout the entire campaign. Hillary was always playing catch-up.
The fairly extensive policies Hillary Clinton put forward barely got a mention. Trump successfully put the focus on her secret emails, her poor record in office and on her husband’s affairs. When Trump came under fire, accused of racism and misogyny, in a bizarre way this still worked to his advantage. It kept his profile high and Clinton’s policy proposals were lost behind all the noise.”
Suzanne believes there was widespread misreading of the political weather.
“The media, the establishment and the liberal left all pointed at Trump and said ‘isn’t he absolutely hideous?’ They suggested anyone who planned to vote for him must be an ‘uneducated bigot.’ You’d have thought politicians and the media would have learnt from Brexit that such tactics really don’t work, but no.
"This biased media narrative and the fact senior Republicans as well as Democrats dissed the concerns of ordinary, hard-working people, no doubt fuelled their determination to vote for dramatic change. It turned out it was the prejudiced establishment who didn’t have their finger on the pulse.”
"With pollsters struggling repeatedly to forecast electoral outcomes, Suzanne thinks it vital people exercise their democratic right rather than assume any given election is a foregone conclusion and not bother to vote.
“Once again the polls were utterly wrong, just like we saw in Britain at the last general election and with the EU referendum. What is the point of them anymore? We’re at a stage where people just can’t trust them.
"But it was closer than the electoral college vote figures suggest. There is almost no difference between the total number of votes cast for Trump and Clinton respectively and some states were incredibly tight. Watching Florida swing to and fro last night was gripping, for example.
"These things can turn on the smallest of margins and it just goes to show that your vote does matter. It’s important that you get out and vote and to make your voice heard.”
Having claimed the keys to the Oval Office, Trump now faces a new set of challenges.
“We saw a different side to Trump in his acceptance speech, which was a departure from the aggressive rhetoric of his campaign. In a sense, then, I’m quite heartened by his call for unity, his promise to be a ‘President for all Americans’ and his pledge that government should serve the people.
"I hope that’s the way it pans out. He was almost humble in contrast to the arrogant, strutting cock-style figure we saw on the stump.
"It’s very easy to shoot from the hip when you’re roundly perceived to be the underdog and need to make an impact. Once you’re in office, it’s a different ball game altogether. When outspoken men like Trump assume the mantle of power, you often find they mellow and become more statesmanlike.
"Hopefully Trump will rise to the challenge, become a more responsible figure than the one we have seen to date and ditch his more extreme rhetoric, such as describing NATO as ‘obsolete,’ when it is fundamental to our global security. His speech this morning bodes well for the future on that front.”
Pressed on a preference for either Trump or Clinton, Suzanne was impressed by neither.
“I didn’t favour one candidate over the other. I genuinely thought both were among the weakest candidates the US has ever had, or at least that I can remember. I thank God I’m not American and didn’t have to choose.
"That said, the Democrats should have walked this. Hillary was the wrong candidate. Mired in corruption allegations, she has long been seen as a threat to national security after backing two wars that have left the world in a much less stable state.
"Had the Democrats got behind another, more plausible candidate, it could have been a very different outcome. Trump was highly beatable but clearly Hillary wasn’t able to overcome him. I think, in a sense, she lost it as much as you can say he won it.”
Suzanne was quick to suggest that, despite a negative reaction to Trump’s election here in the UK, we can draw positives.
“The good news? I guess we know at least that Britain will no longer be at the back of the queue when it comes to negotiating a trade deal with the US!”
Suzanne Evans is a leading UKIP figure and, with uncertainty related to Brexit and now Donald Trump’s victory, brings a unique perspective to the table. A skilled keynote speaker, she sees change as loaded with opportunity.
To book Suzanne Evans for your company’s next conference or function, call Champions Speakers on 0207 1010 553 or fill in our online form.