He has done it. Nigel Farage has already called it the second “political revolution” of the year and Donald Trump himself said it would be Brexit “plus, plus, plus”. Whatever the words you choose, Trump’s election will certainly shake up world politics. The comparison with the Brexit vote is not entirely unreasonable. Yesterday the RealClearPolitics rolling average showed Clinton leading Trump for the 101st consecutive day. The markets were expecting a Clinton win, had reacted accordingly, and the Mexican peso was up.
This morning it is quite different. Trump has crossed the 270 delegate threshold with four states still left to declare. The Republicans will also take the House and the Senate, albeit with underwhelming majorities. Trump will also appoint a new Supreme Court judge in short order, handing the Republicans a majority there too.
Domestically, Trump now needs to fulfil some big promises made in the campaign, including the “extreme vetting” of Muslims entering the United States and building a wall with Mexico. He must now also close the US budget deficit, and his promises to renegotiate with creditors might prove tricky.
While it is his more brash remarks that have made headlines, what has resonated with many Americans is his analysis of world trade. For Americans who have seen their jobs moved abroad, or have seen growing numbers of migrants in the workforce, Trump’s promises to look after Americans first has resonated. It seems likely he will now scrap the US’ Trans-Pacific trade deal, and there are now question marks over the US’ free trade deal with the EU. The North American Free Trade Agreement may also be called into question.
What does this mean for the UK? Well, Trump’s adviser Dan DiMicco said the US would “absolutely” come to an agreement with the UK before the EU and that Brexit happened for the “right reasons”. While it is too early to tell, Trump’s election could reshape global trade. It might even be good news for the UK.
Despite fears to the contrary from the Republican establishment, Trump will – notionally at least – have power over all arms of Government, from Congress to the Supreme Court. There is a question mark though. Trump is a Republican president, but he is not a traditional Republican. He has been a Democrat, a Reform candidate, and an independent. His Republican colleagues do not agree with him politically, and many refused to back him in the race.
It is only in the next few weeks and months that we will start to get a clear idea what the real Trump presidency might look like. He will need to start building bridges with Congress, as well as world leaders who might be feeling nervous about their future relationship with the US. And while Trump might be a Republican president in name, he will not necessarily be able to guarantee Republican support for his policies.
He wrote the book on The Art of the Deal. It might get tested to destruction over the coming years.
Iain Anderson is executive chairman at Cicero Group