Yesterday was election day in the USA and I put up a post on my blog about it. Well last night we watched CNN, occasionally switch to Fox News, to watch as the results from the Eastern States came in and it was an interesting watch. 

CNN actually broke each state down to counties and watching as states numbers changed as various counties declared voting results made for an intriguing night of TV. Some states were firmly in the red corner (Donald Trump) while others were firmly blue (Hillary Clinton) but some fluctuated all through the count from red to blue back to red and back to blue before setting on the final result. Florida was a prime example, the lead switching a few times until late in the night when it finally settled on red. 

So the results are all in and Donald Trump is the new US president, and even now his election is polarizing opinions. The fact that both candidates were not particularly liked, Trump has his work cut out now unifying a nation divided. His speech after the results were known was the first time he gave a speech that was something along the lines of presidential rather than just soundbites. Maybe this is the first speech he didn’t actually have any input into and the Republican party gave him the the speech to read. 

There is a lot of resentment to Mr Trump here in the USA, he has insulted muslims, women, disabled and immigrants in the race to the presidency so it will be interesting to see how he plans to build bridges with these rather large sections of the US community. One thing I find intriguing is that Donald Trump will now make nominations to the US Supreme Court that could overturn some of the more forward thinking laws. Could same sex marriage be one of those that states look to overturn? The Supreme Court will ore than likely become more conservative in the coming years. But all this probably means very little to the average man on the street but most people prefer to live on a country that is equal for all, or do they? 

Now the race is over the next couple of months will see Donald Trump waiting to take office in January and the unknown of what he will do once in office becoming the known. As a recent arrival in the USA I will follow it with great interest and hopefully can continue to give some insight and commentary on it. Politics is changing, the electorate is changing and how polls are being used is becoming outdated. All this make for interesting things. 

America missed a chance to elect it’s first female president and it makes you wonder how long till an opportunity to elected a woman to the highest office in the land comes along again. How long did it take Obama to get into office after Jesse Jackson ran for the office? Maybe Michelle Obama will be the first woman to successfully run for president in 2020 or 2024? Just throwing that out there. 

There is fear among Americans this morning, especially some of the groups I mentioned earlier, but America and its citizens have been through worse and came out the far side. So maybe the Trump presidency won’t be totally bad but it needs to plot its course carefully so as to bring all members of society on the journey over the next 4 years. 

Lots of questions in this post as there is a lot of unknown after last night’s result.

Till next time, Slán. 

A little bit of politics! 

A little bit of politics! 

Well the day has come for America to chose its next President. I am unable to vote but the day that I can will probably come just in time for the next election. Either way anyone eligible to vote should get off their ass and get out and exercise that right to have a say in who will lead the USA for the next 4 years. 

This has been a strange presidential race, especially as a newcomer to the USA watching and learning all about Electoral College votes, primary voting, nominations etc. I knew a lot of it from watching election coverage back home but to have ringside seat living here in the USA is a lot different. 

Every day there seems to be a poll saying the lead is widening, narrowing or changing hands. Two of the most opinion polarizing figures are going head to head in the battle for people’s votes. Depending on who you believe, which news network you watch or which websites you peruse, one candidate should be in jail, indicted or just locked up and the key thrown away, while the other is an unqualified buffoon, a spoofed and out and out liar with zero substance. Both say they will make America great again which kinda means they admit it’s not now. How they will manage this is at complete opposite ends of the spectrum. 

I have an opinion on both candidates, both major parties, as well as the other minor parties but this isn’t the place for it. But tonight myself and my wife will be interested spectators to the news coverage of the results. My wife voted early this morning and I know her grandmother will have been looking over her shoulder to see did she vote for the first woman to be US president or not. I am not privvy to who she voted for but I reckon it wasn’t for the buffoon! 

Use your vote and whatever happens it has made interesting viewing and I am sure the story won’t end today. Now if only I could get a press pass to photograph the Inauguration in January! 

Election Fever… Or Non Fever!

I don’t buy into political or election fever. Politicans and elections are necessary evils in any democracy even if some of them should not be allowed to be in charge of a cookie jar. I will leave the US election alone for a while as yesterday there was a general election in Ireland to elect a new government. Ireland has suffered a lot from the main political parties using the country as their own play thing over the last 80 years but in 2011 a message was sent by the voters to the political elite, nearly wiping out the once biggest party and sending them into opposition.

Dail (House of Parliament) Chamber

And now just 5 short years later it seems the electorate has sent the same message to the present government…..if you treat the people like dirt, they will bite back. For years political activists made sure their supporters got out to vote, but Ireland as a country and a society has changed. We don’t want their particular brand of politics, corrupt, localised and selfish. As a recent emigrant I am unable to exercise my right to vote but I haven’t voted for any of the main political parties in my voting life, and am highly unlikely to even if the law does ever change allow emigrants vote.

Voting Station for Election 16

Polling stations stay open from 7am till 10pm so no one really has an excuse not to vote but I will be surprised if the turnout is over 50/60%. Voter apathy about the whole system is massive. Politicans earning thousands while people struggle to meet everyday bills doesn’t help. The Taoiseach (Prime Minister) telling people who are not part of his imaginary recovery that his government have turned the country around from the lows of the late 2000’s are struggling to believe the main parties. All this leads to voters going to vote for independent candidates or not vote at all. Do the main parties heed this message, not a chance as they are ensconced in their own little ivory tower of invincibility. 

Ballot Paper

Counting of votes will go on all day today but early indications are that it could be a hung parliament with no real government, which could lead to yet another election in a few short months. Do the public have the stomach to listen to politicans on the doorsteps or TV again, unlikely but they may have to. Could a few independent candidates get together with one of the main parties and form a coalition, or could the 2 biggest rival parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, join together to form the coalition fron hell.  Either way if you are a student of politics, keep an eye on Ireland over the next few days, weeks and months. One thing though is looking likely, the annual meeting between the US President and the Irish Taoiseach in the White House for St Patrick’s Day will be cancelled as Ireland probably won’t have a Taoiseach by then.

Dail Eireann Building

Just a quick word on the US election that seems to go on forever. I arrived here last November a day already the election machine was motoring. With votes taking place now every couple of weeks it does seem a drawn out process and I am still figuring it out, who is standing for who, what are the parties, and all the primaries/caucuses.  Next week is Super Tuesday, and I reckon the TV news stations will explode. Georgia goes to the polls next week yet unless you are really involved you wouldn’t notice as it’s not like Ireland with its posters everywhere.

Election Posters in Ireland

I don’t know if that changes as the main election gets closer in November bit it is definitely an interesting process and something I am enjoying learning about. I am not sure I like the way though it is more about showing how bad your opponent is rather than concentrating on your own positives but it seems to be the way the candidates go. In a debate the other night CNN had closed captioning for the hard of hearing, and had to put up the tagine ‘unintelligible yelling’, well that sounds like most politicans to me…. Unintelligible!