Historic US election - Trump needs an open mind

Thursday 10 Nov 2016

Dominic O'SullivanA Charles Sturt University (CSU) academic warns that it is President-elect Donald Trump who will need to develop and keep an open mind as President of the United States of America.

Associate Professor of political science in the CSU School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dominic O'Sullivan , says that Donald Trump's unexpected election yesterday as US President shows a nation deeply divided by race, class, education and age.

"President-elect Trump won through the votes of white, working-class, older and less well-educated voters," Professor O'Sullivan said. "This group saw Trump as, like themselves, the Washington 'outsider'. The contrast with Hilary Clinton, seen as the political establishment, couldn't be starker.

"Trump's voice for the angry and disaffected carried more weight than the view of 60 per cent of US voters who told exit polls that they found him 'unqualified' for the job."

While Secretary Clinton has told her supporters that " ... we owe him an open mind", Professor O'Sullivan observed however that it is Mr Trump himself who will need to keep an open mind about how he balances his election commitment to working-class jobs with his highly protectionist anti-trade policy agenda.

"It is hard to see how provoking a trade war with China or withdrawing from international free trade agreements will create jobs," Professor O'Sullivan said.

"There is a challenge for Mr Trump in finding the political space to govern as he campaigned. The Republican Party establishment has unprecedented mistrust for its own President-elect. It does not accept Mr Trump's protectionist and isolationist values, it is worried by his conditional acceptance of democratic conventions, and his policy commitment to significantly increase government debt."

Professor O'Sullivan (pictured left) also noted that the Conservative establishment does not share Mr Trump's sexual morality, nor his religiously-based disdain for a national war hero. Yet there was clearly a large constituency for whom none of these things mattered.

"There will be unprecedented political tensions and contradictions to manage for the congressional Republican Party, many of whom did not vote for Mr Trump," Professor O'Sullivan said.

"There will be unrest as people find trade wars, geopolitical instability and unsustainable public debt do not create jobs, and do not bring security and inclusion to people who perceive themselves on the political outside."


Media contact: Bruce Andrews, (02) 6338 6084

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Associate Professor Dominic O'Sullivan.