That Political Yardstick

THERE are many lessons that we all can learn from the changing tastes of the electorate these days. With politics fast becoming a top priority as bread and butter, politicians especially need to keep their ears closer to the ground and try not to blink at the problems facing society.

The big win by ostracized Republican candidate Donald Trump over well-established Democrat Hillary Clinton is even baffling some of the best pollsters around, including CADRES’ Peter Wickham, who admitted to being floored by Americans’ decision on Tuesday.

That many people have shifted to analyzing a government’s performance on a day-to-day basis as opposed to the traditional four- or five-year tenure should be a known variable to politicians by now. No more are people swayed by government’s good performances; in fact, people are even bypassing better for best.

It is a hard realization for Hillary Clinton to arrive at: that an irascible, shoot-from-the-hip candidate who claims he is not a politician – and whose own party virtually disowned him — actually trumped a candidate who served as First Lady twice and as Secretary of State. It must be even more unfathomable that Trump’s personal baggage meant less to the electorate than Clinton’s political failings.

Here in Saint Lucia, longevity in politics is seen as the yardstick by which the electorate should be guided. However, what Americans demonstrated this week is that years of service do not always obscure the fact that people will have their doubts about a candidate’s true mettle. Conversely, to use the American elections, sometimes fresh blood from out-siders fires up an electorate better than would familiar faces.

The world continues to listen to and monitor President-elect Trump’s actions and the microscope will be placed even more acutely on him after he take office in January. As is the case with politics sometimes, Barack Obama – and Hillary Clinton’s – legacy would be thoroughly compared against that of the incoming Commander-in-Chief, something many Saint Lucians are already doing with respect to their own peculiar situation at home.

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