Reflections on the US Presidential Election

Close friends and family will attest to the fact that I’ve been predicting a Trump victory since he announced his intention to stand in 2015. Few believed it could happen, but it has.

Conservative Progress, alongside the Parliament Street think-tank, held a watch party for young and politically engaged people from across London. We’d  been planning to do something to commemorate the night for a while, but even we were slightly shocked at the uptake for the event. We had to increase our venue capacity to meet demand, and in the end, over 300 people joined us to watch the results come in.

The media also took some interest in our event, and as we counted down the days until polls opened, we had press teams and journalists from across the world get in touch, asking if they could film live at the event, take photos, and speak with organisers and guests. We said yes to a few, and turned down several others.

We settled on journalists and TV crews from the USA, China, Canada and France, as well as the UK, and by the time the results were announced, our event had gained coverage in Talk Radio, The Press Association, The Evening Standard, Yahoo News, the International Business Times, London Live, Global News, Agence France Presse, and China’s Phoenix TV, and was named as one of London’s top election events by Metro, City AM and The Spectator.

On a more serious note, this particular election has sparked a level of interest and engagement in politics across the world, the likes of which we haven’t seen before, but we are now seeing the more unpleasant side of democracy – a small but vocal portion of the American electorate protesting the outcome of a free and fair election, and a small band of European political leaders publicly expressing dissatisfaction at the result.

Losing leads to bitterness and resentment, and anyone who has stood for election and lost narrowly will have felt dejection and disappointment. To her credit, Hillary Clinton stood up and accepted the result with dignity, and now others who have opposed Trump must do the same.

It is up to President-elect Trump to take the excitement, anticipation, intensity, and even the concern generated during this most unusual of elections, and channel it into constructive change. It is up to the rest of the world to allow him to do so.