WHOM DID AMERICANS VOTE FOR?
The world had watched with interest the outcome of the elections from the United States of America. The interest of the world was expressed when messages of uncertain bilateral relations kept flowing from leaders the world over. While some were with the view that the emergence of Mr. Donald John Trump would strengthen their relations, others are skeptical with greater uncertainties of what a Trump presidency of the US holds for them.
Mexico for instance is shocked at the outcome. From reports on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) many Mexicans had actually thronged the streets with all forms of instruments to jubilate over the defeat of Trump in the elections. According to the BBC, the jubilations turned into funerals as people were shocked with disbelieve the victory of Trump.
Apparently, Mexico would wish the victory of Mrs. Hilary Clinton because of certain comments of Donald Trump to the effect of building strong walls between United States of America and Mexico in order to protect its territories from access by Mexicans whom he believed are benefiting unduly from the States.
A couple of days after the emergence of Trump as president elect of the USA, protests are ongoing. You see placards with inscription “He is not my president”. So the question that emerges is, who voted for Trump to become the president of the United States of America?
A deep reflection of this question would reveal the dynamics of every election. Elections are not cast in iron. The majority who make kings are those who would never be heard speaking. They are silent and have their preferences in their heads. They consider factors that are completely detached from what government and opposition see and talk about.
To them, peace is paramount. Aside peace, respect from the elected officials matters to them more than anything. The difficulty is that because these people would not speak for their problems to be known, the government and opposition are unable to read their minds to know what they really want. In the end, they tilt towards any of the groups that is able to relate to them in a way that satisfies their expectations.
One lesson that must stand out strong to the ruling class is that, sometimes, electorates make choices not to solve their problems, but to punish the ruling class on the basis of disrespect to their mandate. This is what every political party must be mindful of. The National Democratic Congress (NDC) which doubles as the ruling party in Ghana, must take a cue from the outcome of elections in the United States.
I have never had a doubt on the chances of the NDC in the 2016 elections. However, I contain some level of fear. Anyone who had had the chance of speaking with me on the chances of the party would testify that I have never on any occasion harboured doubts on the success of the party at the polls. What however is not in doubt is, one cannot tell what the people of Ghana are looking for.
The confusion however, is, while we all agree that we need to develop our infrastructure, we are benched in the middle of the sea on the extent to which that must be done and the extent to which pockets must be filled with hard cash.
In analysing this phenomenon, the elite in society have their interests as against the masses. At what point do we please both? The irony is that, the elite in society are those who have the resources to generate discussions, the result of which the masses depend on to satisfy their desire to know. In other words, the media that informs the discussions of the masses, are created by the elites who have resources to establish them. In the end, their bidding is what is conveyed to the masses to be informed.
On this basis, it has become completely inherent to consider elections as a moment of uncertainty. If that is the case, constant work on the part of any political party would do the trick. People must be willing to move out of their comfort to the hinterlands to meet with the people. They must associate with the people and have their concerns addressed.
To some, by merely associating with them, they are satisfied. We may be wrong thinking people would demand monies from us. That is not the case. Sometimes, all they want to see is that the people they gave their mandate to have never forsaken them. A handshake at a certain point is enough to do the tricks.
Everywhere the president goes, the people are demanding what is common. They are demanding roads, water, electricity, hospitals and clinics and sometimes mini health posts. There has been no single outreach where the chiefs and people demanded from the president to arrest inflation, increase GDP and all the various theories on which economies are said to stand.
So then, in conquering the mantra of “we don’t eat roads”, one cannot be lost on the demands of the people. To them, roads are important, schools are important, hospitals are important. It is for the ruling party to justify its focus on these sectors. Eventually, the extent to which we realise these common challenges depicts our performance as an economy. Good roads would lead to the ability to move foodstuff from farms into the market. This meets the volumes of domestic trade. This is part of economics.
A good hospital with modern facilities is enough to keep the citizens fit to go about their economic activities. Human beings are not detached from economics. Their well-being is important in the realisation of capital and the application of same in realising any Gross Domestic Products (GDP).
So we must not pretend not to understand the significance of the infrastructural investments by government. It would be a weakness on our part to allow a leakage in public discourse where the well-being of the people with regard to the numerous social infrastructure is de-linked from the substance of our discussions.
Broadening the scope a little bit, we must understand some significant political histories of recent times. Moments after Brexit (British exit from European Union) became a reality, citizens wanted a second chance. They downplayed the impact of a vote to exit.
The latest is the Trump victory. Inasmuch as I am of the believe that Trump may not be the ‘devil’ as projected, the reality on the ground is that, US today is protesting. Not too long ago, Nigerians elected a president in Buhari. One year down the lane, they wish a second chance to review their mandate.
Would Ghana prefer to go through this process and only wish they have the chance to review their mandate? No! It would take 4 years to have another opportunity to vote again. By that time, what would we have done to our country? What would a child who was born and left alone for 4 years without any training, be able to do when finally after the 4 years, he is brought home and is expected to behave like a 4 year old? That remain the reality.
Let us not revert to this position to ask questions of who voted for another party when we have the opportunity to give an emphatic win to the sitting President John Dramani Mahama. Let us not get back to the state as we see in the USA of today which posses the question, whom did Americans vote for?