Melanie McDonagh

Cheer up! Donald Trump’s victory isn’t all doom and gloom

Cheer up! Donald Trump's victory isn't all doom and gloom
Text settings

Well, it's just like Brexit, isn’t it? The appalled tone of the BBC six o’clock news, my daughter’s refusal – she’s nine – even to get out of bed, my nice colleagues declaring that they cried, simply cried, at the result. It was everyone’s opening gambit: Can you believe it? Yes, personally, I could. After the last election, after Brexit, I wasn’t surprised that the pollsters called it wrong and I’m looking forward to hearing them wriggle out of this one, like they tried to last time.

This time, unlike Brexit, there was the feeling that any woman who was indifferent to Hillary Clinton becoming leader of the free world was letting down her entire sex – see Madeleine Albright, Nancy Pelosi and the entire pantsuit brigade. 'You haven’t a sisterly bone in your body,' said one colleague cheerfully. I dunno, maybe the odd vertebra. But truthfully, the one candidate I thought quite well of in this election was Bernie Sanders, who really did address the question of the corrosive effect of money in US politics and did raise the issue of the income gap. (For what it’s worth, Hillary’s campaign was twice as well funded as Trump’s; just goes to show it doesn’t buy outcomes.)

But God, this is brilliant for journalism. For our trade, the rule is, as Lenin’s dictum: the worse, the better. This upset of received wisdom is proper news, the real thing, not the processed sort. Though it is tough of course on all those feature writers – I feel for the Guardian – who have had to start the day by killing their double-page spreads on the arrival of the Feminocracy: you know the lineup – Angela, Theresa and now Hillary! Except not. But as I pointed out to my feminist colleague, on the bright side, Marine le Pen is doing terribly well in the run-up to the French election; somehow she seemed uncheered.

But really, did women want someone who seemed dead set to continue all the problematic aspects of current US foreign policy? As Rod Liddle points out, Hillary’s confrontational approach to Russia was downright unsettling – she threatened airstrikes against the Russians in Syria: that worked really well when the Turks shot down a Russian plane, didn’t it? Hillary would, in fact, have continued with the fundamental confusion in US policy in the region which we’ve seen with Barack Obama. The dictum about my enemy’s enemy seems not to count in the Clinton worldview.

Donald Trump may be as appalling as everyone suggests; I don’t know. But on the most crucial issue facing western democracies right now, the fight against Islamic State - child rapists and genocides - I’d trust him more than Hillary. Sorry.


7im-nov-2016-970x250-v2After the American people voted for Donald Trump, what next for the US and the rest of the world? Join panellists including Sir Christopher Meyer, KCMG, former British ambassador to the US, for a discussion chaired by Andrew Neil on 30 November at RIBA, London. Tickets include a drinks reception. In association with Seven Investment Management. Book now.