Viewpoints

Don’t be too smug, Mr. Trump

Congratulations, President-elect Donald Trump: You have won a resounding victory. But before you buy into the upcoming avalanche of media speculation that your victory will change the world, here are a few facts to keep you from becoming a megalomaniac despot.

Fact No. 1: You won with the help of FBI director James Comey and Wikileaks, which according to U.S. officials is a disguised Russia-supported organization. This is a first in American history, and should keep you from giving yourself all the credit for your victory.

Granted, you also won because tens of millions of Americans – mostly white males – felt left behind in the globalized economy. They bought into your narrative that the United States is losing jobs because of Mexico and China, when in fact it’s losing jobs – and will continue to do so – because of automation and robots.

But you most likely wouldn’t have won if the FBI’s Comey hadn’t taken the highly questionable step of announcing less than two weeks before the Nov. 8 elections that he had found thousands of new emails from Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton that needed to be investigated.

Sure, Comey announced four days before the election that his investigation into the new Clinton emails had not found anything bad, but the emails dominated the headlines for the critical last 10 days of the campaign. It totally overshadowed previous headlines about your refusal to show the public your tax returns, your various business bankruptcies, your Trump University scandal, and your pejorative statements about women, Latinos, the physically impaired and other groups.

And the daily release of thousands of emails from the Clinton campaign by Wikileaks no doubt helped your campaign further. If Wikileaks had hacked your campaign’s computers, it may have been a different story.

Fact No. 2: You also got a little unintended help from President Obama, whose new olive branches to Cuba shortly before the elections irked many Cuban-Americans and helped you win the crucial state of Florida.

As I wrote here a week before the election, Obama’s Oct. 14 move to allow U.S. tourists unrestricted imports of Cuban rum and cigars, as well as the Obama administration’s Oct. 26 decision to abstain for the first time at a U.N. annual vote against the U.S. embargo on Cuba pushed many older-generation Cuban exiles in Florida to vote for the Trump-Pence ticket.

Fact No. 3: This was a race that, historically, was for the Republicans to lose. Typically, it’s very difficult for the same political party to win three consecutive elections in the United States. Clinton’s Democratic Party had not won three consecutive elections since 1940. Americans tend to vote for change every eight years, and this year was no exception.

Fact No. 4: Clinton may have won the popular vote – the morning after the election, she had 58,909,774 votes compared to your 58,864,233 – which means that more Americans voted for her than for you, even if you won in the electoral college.

This country is evenly divided. If you want to earn the trust of the majority that didn’t vote for you, as you said in your acceptance speech, you will have to reach out to many groups you have insulted during the campaign.

Fact No. 5: The world seems to like you even less. The minute it became clear that you would win on election night, Asian markets tumbled, the Mexican peso lost 12 percent of its value, the Dow Jones futures index fell by about 4 percent and the Standard and Poor’s 500-stock index plunged by 5 percent, more than in any single day in recent years.

No country can grow without investments, and you will need to do something to regain global and domestic confidence if you want to make your “Make America great again” slogan a reality.

Yes, you proved all pollsters wrong, and you surprised the world with the most unforeseen upset in modern American victory. Now, for the good of the world, please remember these facts, don’t allow this victory to blur your judgment and seek common ground with your adversaries at home and abroad.

Andres Oppenheimer is a columnist for the Miami Herald. Readers may email him at aoppenheimer@miamiherald.com.

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