On the election of Donald Trump, Bias and Climate Change

Like most people, I had a quiet confidence that Hillary Clinton was going to win the US election. “If Trump is lucky enough, the number of votes he will get might come close but, Hillary will pull through in the end”, I thought. Like those those in the Clinton camp who began their pre-emptive celebrations popping open champagne bottles, I was shocked to find out that Trump had won. 

How can Americans vote for a man who makes up facts, blatantly lies and makes up his own statistics without caring to know whether his opinions are in fact based on anything with substance? 

How did the polls and the media, and all who were supposed to be experts of elections, get the results so wrong? It is obvious that whatever was working before in the field of predicting and analysing elections, is terribly out of date and is out of kilter with what is going on the ground. Either the journalists and media organisations have become so biased on their enquiry and reporting, or, we all have our blinkers on and we just choose to go to the websites and read the articles that confirm our pre-existing opinions. The truth, I suspect, is a mixture of both.

It has become clear that there is a tremendous amount of issues and perspectives that concern many people, most of which have been obviously disregarded or unrepresented by the most of the media channels. Many people have dismissed the opinions of Trump voters as those of red-neck, racists, bigots and bitter white people. We (I mean people who have been shocked with this election result) stopped listening to what people on the other side of the picket fence is saying and thus failed to understand why they would think the way they do. Because if we were aware of their concerns, we would not be so surprised by the result. To me, this is one of the most proof of Media Bias and Confirmation Bias, effects that we must mitigate in our societies. 

For my part, I did have a look at what Trump had to say numerous times. I did try. But most I've dismissed because he knew that the media loved printing every outrageous thing he had to say: the sillier, stupider and headline-grabbing it is, the happier was the media to serve it to the public. He also seemed to be a person who is very reactionary, emotional, vindictive, cruel, misogynistic and retaliatory. He struck me as someone whom, I was sure, the American people would not entrust nuclear codes to. I thought that video of him talking about how he grabs women "by the pussy" was enough to sink his campaign. Along came the FBI Director simply saying there might be amiss with Hillary Clinton's emails. That was enough to divert focus and now, look where Trump is: he is about to sit in the most powerful office in the world. (At the time of writing, the FBI, the CIA and the White House also say they have evidence that convinces them that Russia helped Trump win with hacking and fake news.) 

The lesson to learn in all of this, is to not dismiss what people say, especially when that person is running for the US Presidency. There's a clip I saw of a CNN Reporter interviewing a panel Trump supporters who were talking about their world-view which were so bizarre and ridiculous that left the reporter so dumb-founded, she didn't know how to tackle it. I think she was like most of us. We did not know what to say when we came across other people's opinions based on a different set of perceived facts. But we need to be better prepared. We need to be ever-vigilant and persistent in pushing through conversations regardless of how uncomfortable they are. 

Along with many of you, my urgent concerns with Donald Trump as the US President is his stance on Climate Change. If he really believes and cannot be persuaded that Climate Change exists, then it will make the struggle all the more difficult. Thank goodness at least that we have China, Japan, Germany and India who are all seemingly tremendous progress into transitioning their societies to alternative sources of energy.