By Yuktes Vijay
“This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election. We did win this election.” These were the very words of President Donald Trump when he fronted television cameras on election night, to address his supporters and staff in the White House.
Despite a complete lack of evidence to substantiate those claims, Trump, and to a certain extent his Republican party members are continuing to claim widespread fraud with his backers in Washington insisting that “every legal vote be counted.” Unfortunately for Trump however, it appears that the inevitable conclusion of this process, after several failed legal challenges and Twitter tantrums, will be the unceremonious ending to the era of President Trump on the 20 January with Mr Biden‘s inauguration.
It cannot be denied that the political episodes currently unfolding in the US shows uncanny resemblance to the political shenanigans we have been served since 2013 right up to today, largely thanks to Pakatan Rakyat, the previous avatar of Pakatan Harapan.
From day one, Trump made xenophobic and nationalistic policies the centerpiece of his campaign. In his announcement speech, he promised to build a wall on the Mexican border and deport 11 million unauthorised immigrants. He also pledged to tear up free trade agreements and bring back manufacturing jobs. Narratives concerning the decline of America, its values, and its people are certainly not new to elections, but past fifteen years of terrorism, war, and economic hardship have shaken the Americans’ faith in their much-vaunted American Dream.
At that material time, there was intense and widespread public hostility to the political, media and business establishments that lead the country. It was severely clear that trust in institutions is at an all-time low and a majority of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction. Amid such a potent anti-establishment spirit, Trump’s vulgar, intemperate and unorthodox style struck voters as far more genuine than the highly cautious and controlled Hillary Clinton who seemed like an aristocrat to the American public when compared to Trump.
In a nutshell, this is how Donald Trump became president after the 2016 election despite Hillary Clinton getting more votes overall. In fact, Clinton got as many votes in 2016 as Barack Obama did in 2012 only this time it wasn’t sufficient to propel Hillary to the presidency.
Trump’s presidency was basically achieved by waging one of the most deceitful, divisive and polarizing campaigns to ‘con-vince’ America in American political history.
Now where have we heard and seen these before as it surely does ring a bell, doesn’t it? Of course it does, because the route Trump embarked to lead him to presidency without a doubt shares uncanny resemblance as to how our very own Pakatan Harapan captured Putrajaya on 09 May 2018.
In the run up to GE14, Pakatan Harapan had engaged in a campaign to demonize everything and anything that Najib’s Barisan Nasional had in store for Malaysia. From GST to ECRL to BR1M, everything that BN did was spinned deceitfully and propagated negatively to Malaysians.
On top of it, Pakatan also promised Malaysian voters the moon, the stars and even Mars. They enticed voters by including every populist policy that was available out there. Populist policies that anyone with half a brain would have known is not feasible and unrealistic to be implemented.
Today, despite various attempts to cover up their lies, it has become common knowledge today that everything that Pakatan told and promised Malaysians in run up to GE14 was nothing but utter lies. In fact, Pakatan rather graciously admitted their pledges and promises prior to GE14 when their then chairman Tun Mahathir admitted that they did not think they would win in GE14 when they wrote the manifesto.
This is why Trump and Pakatan are made for each other and complement one another perfectly. Let me share an example here to assert this point and to shed away all doubts about the legitimacy of my claim that Pakatanism and Trumpism were cut from the same cloth.
One of Pakatan Harapan’s GE14 pledges was to abolish all tolls in Malaysia, but after capturing Putrajaya, what Pakatan Harapan government did was to extend North-South Expressway (PLUS) concession period until 2058 which means that there was a 110% increase in PLUS tenure and toll rates actually increased by 73%.
Similarly, Trump built a perception that he might be more open-minded than some Republicans and built the perception that he was very much LGBT friendly. However, after winning, Trump’s tone changed as he continuously limited civil rights protections for LGBTQ+ Americans. In fact, one of his first acts as president was to roll back Obama-era guidance that allowed transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. He also proposed a rule that would allow federal contractors to deny employment to LGBTQ+ employees under the guise of religious freedom.
Pakatan’s pre election promise to abolish toll without a doubt played a part in enticing voters in dethroning BN in 2018. National exit polls from the New York Times in 2016 showed that almost 14% of the LGBT community had voted for Donald Trump which definitely proved to be a vital factor that determined his victory then.
So, you see why Trump and Pakatan are actually one soul in two different bodies (or continent if it pleases you). No arguments about this now surely? – New Malaysia Herald
Note: The views expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of New Malaysia Herald.