/ 7 November 2016

Zakes Mda: Donald Trump is a product of desperation

The demise of apartheid freed Zakes Mda to explore the historical novel.
The demise of apartheid freed Zakes Mda to explore the historical novel.

Renowned South African novelist and playwright Zakes Mda has put his money on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton winning the race to become the United States’s 45th and first female president.

Close to 50 million US citizens will go to the polls on Tuesday, ending what has, over the past few months, been dubbed as the most polarised election campaign in the country’s history.

Forty-one million people have already voted during the early elections which started 60 days before November 8.

In an interview with the Mail & Guardian this week, Mda, a professor at Ohio State University in the US, accused senior officials within America’s law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, of abusing state resources to discredit Clinton. 

In an about turn, the FBI announced on Sunday night it had found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing in Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was US secretary of state. This after FBI director James Comey dropped a bombshell two weeks ago when he claimed the agency had obtained new information relating to her use of a personal email server.

Mda said the political situation in the US is no different to the one in South Africa. He said the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is used by certain politicians to further their agenda and that the FBI was also used by some within the US security establishment for political agendas.

“The FBI is being used. The problem of law enforcement agencies like the NPA being abused does not only happen in South Africa, it happens all over the world, including in the US.

Read more: Trump ‘doesn’t need stars’ while Clinton brings out the big guns

Mda said the FBI investigation against Clinton was nothing but an agenda by those who were unhappy about black people and women from across all races rising into positions of power.

“We find ourselves with Donald Trump because of a desperation we find in America today. The desperation is as a result of the minorisation of the white male in the United States. The white male gradually, year after year, finds that he is losing the grip of power because of the rising number and power of black men and women [across racial lines],” said Mda

He said the anger by white conservatives has resulted in a lot of racism in the country.

“They [Trump and his supporters] say ‘make America great again’, but this is a nostalgic call to make America white again. This is why you find the vast majority of Trump supporters are non college-educated working class males. This is just a question of the insecurity of the white male,” said Mda. 

He said it would be difficult for any US presidential hopeful today to win the election without the support of black Americans.

“That frustrates the white male who previously was all-powerful. That’s where you find that phenomenon, the minorisation of the white male. They are becoming a minority in what they regard as their own country. 

“They are trying by all means to get that power back. But it’s gone. It’s gone forever, it wont come back. That’s why they are against immigration, Islam and so on. They want to build walls [between the US and Mexico]. All the insecurity is flowing from the minorisation of the white male,” said Mda.

While the latest polls show Trump enjoys the support of the majority in Ohio, Mda believes Clinton stands a better chance of winning 270 electoral colleges to take her to the White House.

“You can get the majority of popular votes, but lose the elections. What matters [in the US] is electoral votes. Her [Clinton’s] path will be determined by few states,” said Mda.

He described Trump as extremely flawed, narcissistic, racist and xenophobic. 

“He [Trump] is everything awful”.

Both Clinton and Trump crisscrossed key battleground states on Monday making the final appeal to potential voters to go out in their numbers and vote. Accompanied by her husband and former US president Bill Clinton, president Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton pulled the biggest crowd of her campaign rallies in Philadelphia on Monday night. She brought top stars like Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Lady Gaga, Jay Z and Beyonce in her closing rallies of her campaign. Latest polls showed she was leading the race to White House by a 4% margin. But Trump supporters were still optimistic the billionaire businessperson would emerge victories.

“We have one flawed candidate to beat. We can make America wealthy again,” said Trump to rapturous applause.

Clinton said she regretted how deeply the tone of the campaign had become.

“Tomorrow [Tuesday] we face the challenge of our lifetime. We need your help to vote. None of us want to wake up on Wednesday night and say we could have done better. Go and vote for America that builds bridges, not walls,” Clinton said. With both presidential candidates expected arrive in New York on Tuesday, local police said they have stepped up security to ensure smooth elections.