Just when we thought that 2016 wouldn’t see a more hysterical reaction to a public vote after Britain voted to leave the European Union, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States of America. Right on cue, riots erupted across the country and a petition was started for the electoral college to overrule the election result and appoint Hillary Clinton as President on 19th December. These people, though, aren’t protesting against Donald Trump. They are protesting against a lie.
As soon as the election result came through, some declared that a Trump administration was going to ban same sex marriage. It’s certainly true that he has said that gay marriage isn’t his thing (which must be a relief for his wife Melania) but that doesn’t mean he’s going to repeal the bill. This is because a President – or anybody else, for that matter – cannot overrule a Supreme Court ruling. Even if he filled the Supreme Court with ultra-conservative judges, as he has suggested, and a case in favour of repeal was brought forwards, they would have to justify deciding that the previous judges had made a serious error in judgement. This, if you’re wondering, would be nigh on impossible and politically explosive.
Women, it has been claimed, aren’t safe either. Soon after he was elected, Planned Parenthood announced that they would continue to run no matter what happened, despite the fact that Trump thinks it does ‘wonderful things.’ The only opposition he has to it is its existence as an abortion provider. Roe v Wade, just like marriage laws, would only be repealed if it went through the Supreme Court. It is possible that modern neo-natal research will be enough to justify curbing abortion laws but this is a case for the law, not the President.
This brings us onto something else that he’s said, which is slightly more difficult to unpack: the thorny issue of immigration. Most people will tell you that Donald Trump and co want a complete ban of Muslims entering the country. His running mate Mike Pence – a man of astute political ability – called the suggestion ‘offensive and unconstitutional.’ As a result, Trump amended his position to say that he would suspend immigration from ‘high risk’ countries such as Syria and Iraq until ‘proven and effective vetting mechanisms can be put into place.’ This is his official policy.
In fact, as we look further into it, the lies perpetuated about President-Elect Trump begin to stack up. The belief that he is going to court for raping a woman when she was 13-years-old is misguided; she dropped the case before the voting took place. The belief that he snubbed Theresa May is shaky; she was in India at the time, and surely would have been glad that he did not disturb her at midnight.
It’s an interesting fact that those who voted for Obama turned to Trump this time around, possibly because they felt let down by his administration. 29% of Hispanic voters voted for Trump too, as well as 8% of black voters. These statistics are nowhere near as high as the same demographic for Clinton, but the figures do prove that the caricature of Trump supporters as racist rednecks is wrong.
Boris Johnson was correct when he said that it’s time to stop the ‘whinge-o-rama’ about Trump’s election. Hillary Clinton was correct when she said that Trump deserves an open mind and a chance to lead. And Trump himself was correct when he said that it’s time to ‘come together as one united people’ and make America great again. The country has a lot of restoration to do and that process will be a lot easier when we abandon the persistent lies and mischaracterisations that dogged the campaign.