Pollsters gave Hillary Clinton great odds of winning, and she fell short. Trump was an underdog all throughout the race, with his brash style, seemingly antagonizing so many sectors of the population that no one thought he would ever make it to the White House. But there was enough discontent among blue collar workers in key states to turn the election around. Trump won by a landslide, capturing 278 Electoral College votes, and winning in states that Republicans have not carried since the 80’s, and the white collar workers at the pinnacle of the economy are pulling their money out of the markets.
Stock markets are in disarray, shocked by the improbable win, just like when Brexit happened. It will take the markets some time to come down to earth and realize that president elect Trump will not destroy the world economy. As much as he promised to dismantle the whole structure that underpins North American free trade, it is easier said and done. He might want to re-negotiate, just like Brexiters are now re-negotiating UK’s relationship with the EU.
No walls will be built on borders either. The plan to make the US-Mexico border a part of an impenetrable American fortress is way too costly for voters asking for fiscal conservatism to stomach. After all, Trump was elected in part due to his declared – yet unclear – plan to bring the US debt down. Just like Brexiters, Trump will come to terms with the nature of a globalized world in which immigrants have access to a myriad of tools to make it into their country of choice. Stopping 100% of them is impossible, and preventing great numbers of immigrants from making it into the US illegally also is.
As for the positive economic impact that a Trump administration might have, which the shocked markets are now discounting, the president elect will work diligently with his Canadian counterparts to build the Keystone XL pipeline. With so many people in the US threatening to move to Canada, now is probably the right time to do so as well. Canada’s ailing economy can certainly use that lifeline, especially the province of Alberta, which has been shedding jobs at rates not seen in decades. On the other hand, Trudeau will now be able to take some pressure of his shoulders. He will finally have a pipeline to offer to disgruntled Canadians who have been selling their oil at a discount for lack of access to tide water.
Like Trudeau, eventually the whole world will be relieved as well. Trump’s triumph was definitely a huge surprise; there will be a riddle in the White House come January 20th, 2017. The world will nevertheless learn to solve that riddle. As for the blue collar workers who voted him in, the Trump riddle might be more than they bargained for. Repealing Obamacare is not as complicated as making sure that economic growth reaches those who are fed up with the establishment.