The great divide

Rashid A Mughal

WHAT we are witnessing every day from the “Greatest Democracy” and champion of Liberty, equality and fraternity is shocking to some and shameful to many. Where are the basic Principles of Constitution of “Great” America? What happened to First Amendment in the Great American constitution, where are the values of human respect and dignity. What happened to Civil liberties of which America has been the leading advocate in the past. Where is the will to promote peaceful co-existence. What has happened to America. This is not the America I have known since last 50 years.
How one person can change the “Great” country to a “Dreadful” place, overnight is simply unbelievable, lamentable and unpredictable. Yet that has happened. Donald Trump is in white House and fulfilling his election promises right from the word “Go”. Within 48 hours of his taking oath, he nullified Trans Pacific Trade Agreement, annoying most of his Asian-Pacific partners, stopped funding to NGOs supporting Abortion, imposed ban on entry of nationals of seven Muslim countries(which according to him are terrorists) and ordered speedy deportations of Un-documented immigrants(for which a 5000 strong border force has been formed), issued orders for building of wall on the Mexico border. Above all, he has publicly made his views known about NATO and NAFTA which he wants to review, thus annoying his European partners and next door neighbours too. Surely he has succeeded in throwing the whole world in uncertainty and confusion and keep everyone on tented hooks. America to day stays divided on race and colour lines and hate against Muslims around the world as is evident from his “twitter” msgs and white house press releases. While class is a key axis of division in American politics, the culture wars continue to matter as well. Religion remains a key dividing line in American politics. The level of religiosity in a state—measured via Gallup surveys of the share of the state population who say they are very religious, is positively correlated with Trump support.
Abortion remains another key fault-line issue in American politics, as we heard in the final presidential debate. Trump support at the state level is substantially negatively correlated with the number of abortion. On the flip side, states with higher teen birth rates supported Trump. Guns are another dividing line. Trump support is higher in states with more gun deaths per capita. Gay rights are yet another key fault-line issue in American politics. The results of an analysis for race are surprising. We hear much about the racial divide in the last Presidential election, and especially how Trump drew support from white voters. And we did find that states where whites make up a larger share of the population, they supported Trump.
Here it appears the key factor is not the overall share of the white population but their degree of racial isolation, as Roth well has identified. Immigration has been one of the biggest issues in the Republican primaries and the general election campaign. Given his anti-immigrant position, it’s not surprising that Trump support is negatively correlated with the share of foreign-born people in a state. Similarly, Trump’s positions on immigration have alienated large numbers of Hispanic voters. African-Americans have long been a key member of the Democratic coalition. Here again, we find that the share of the African-American population has little effect on state level support for either Clinton or Trump according to an analysis.
Ultimately, an analysis suggests, that even with the strange, outlier candidacy of Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, the United States remains systematically and fundamentally divided along the lines of class, as well as the cultural issues that class informs and shapes. Writing in” The Atlantic”, Ron Brownstein and Leah Askarinam show that the bluer map of the 2016 election was a product of a relatively small number of denser, more highly educated counties in swing states that helped turn red states to blue. But make no mistake about it, America remains as politically and economically divided as ever. It’s enough to give the casual poll watcher whiplash, but for people who follow polls for a living, the numbers aren’t actually all that surprising. While there was a clear trend in Trump’s favor over the last pre-election week, the real-world change in voter preferences probably hasn’t been as dramatic as polls like the ABC/Post poll suggest.
For argument’s sake, imagine that among all voters, Clinton was actually up by six points when ABC News/ Washington Post poll was released on October 23 showing her with a lead of 50-38. The margin of error for each candidate’s result was three percentage points. That means that the pollsters were statistically confident that Clinton’s tally fell between 47 points and 53 points, while Trump’s was between 35 points and 41 points. That meant that the reported results, even though they didn’t look like it to an untrained observer, were consistent with a 6-point Clinton lead. But to many the real game changing point was the FBI Director’s utterances just 48 hours before the elections about emails. It certainly did change the last-minute undecided voters who voted for Trump.
His actions in first 12 days of his Presidency have been shocking, as many predicted. He might be satisfying his white middle and lower middle class voters but these actions are devoid of wisdom and sanity and depict aggression, particularly against Muslims. African-Americans and Mexicans. Women are no exception. Not a single member of his cabinet is a woman and American of Mexican origin. The message is, therefore, clear. Henceforth Great America belongs to whites only.
His election slogans promoted racial divide, cultural divide, religious divide, ethnic divide, class divide and colour divide. He hasn’t done any good to America. The repeated rhetoric of keeping America safe from foreign terrorists is just a hoax to fool his voters-not realizing that today America is more polarized, divided and heading in a wrong direction, chosen by Trump. Since he is in the driving seat now for 4 years, where he takes America is to be keenly watched by many around the globe amid lot of tensions and apprehensions.
— The writer, former Consultant, ILO, is based in Islamabad.
Email: [email protected]

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