Arit Okpo: Donald Trump has just schooled me [NEW VOICES]

by Arit Okpo

Hmmm…so wait o! Like play like play Donald Trump is the new President of the United State. I didn’t see this coming- no one did, except possibly Donald Trump. The day has arrived, and this man who came out of nowhere has upset the woman who has spent her life carefully working her way up the ladder of leadership. I am having a major life lessons moment. Let me share:

The obvious person does not always win and the experts do get it wrong

Weren’t we all so sure that it would be Hilary? 31 years of experience, no stranger to the White House, former Secretary of State, deep, deep knowledge of the inner workings of American democracy? This was supposed to be a shoo-in. We were all supposed to sit down with our popcorn and chuckle with good cheer as Hilary won by a landslide and then took the reins of leadership for 4 (maybe 8) years. It didn’t happen. Isn’t this so true of life? There is always someone that seems like the obvious choice for the job, and then one random person will just come and pour a trailer of sand into their garri.

The old methods do not always work

Hilary did all the right things. She called on the mothers of the black youth killed by police violence, she courted the Latino vote, she identified with white working class America and she had Beyonce, JayZ and a host of other celebrities campaigning, endorsing and performing on her behalf. She spent massive amounts of money, was graceful and courteous even with Donald Trump’s most insulting outbursts…she did all the right stuff. So how on earth did a man who insulted a whole newspaper double page of people, who used words that don’t exist, who made gaffe after gaffe…how did he win?

Goes to show – things change, the things that worked last year will not work today. Methods have to change and…if you look at the established way and it won’t work for you, UPTURN THE APPLE CART!!!!

The people will choose who they want – this is what democracy really means

One of the major points of confidence was that nobody in their right minds would vote for Donald Trump. Hilary was touted as the common sense vote – if you had any brain cells at all, you would know she was the best (wo)man for the job. Millions of Americans obviously did not feel the same way, and no matter how much we want to shout, exclaim, disbelieve and condemn, they made the choice that to them was right. See, you cannot tell people who to trust. You cannot choose who people believe, identify with or choose to follow (or in this case, vote for). You cannot bank on the fact that people will see from the same perspective as you do, and as annoying and painful as this might be, this is the beauty of the world we live in: that people are free to choose.

With an angle, you can get anything

One thing that Donald had working for him was knowledge of the inner workings of the American mind. He used that knowledge well…and it worked! Make America great again! Deport the immigrants! Arrest the Muslims! All he said was what is on the minds of millions of Americans, people who were afraid to voice these thoughts in order not to sound politically incorrect. Then along comes someone who says every thought in their minds; obviously that person was their guy! This life lesson is major for me – in business or in politics, you need an angle. Facts and figures might work for investors, but speaking the inner thoughts of the people you are pitching to can prove to be the winning recipe in your cookbook of efforts.

Finally, there will always be the people who say one thing and do another

The night of the elections, I was watching TV and someone asked about hidden voters, the other people on the panel rubbished the thought but…here it is. Whether we like it or not there are people who polled for Hilary but voted for Trump. And that’s true of life isn’t it? There will always be people who will support you from the rooftops and who will go behind you to do what they like. It’s life, we have to prepare for it.

There are so many lessons from this and I know quite well it will be op-ed galore for quite a while. I sincerely wish America the very best and look forward to an interesting 4 years.


Arit is a highly versatile Content Producer, Presenter, Writer and Speaker. She currently produces and presents The Crunch, the flagship news show for the Ebonylife TV platform, where she discusses and analyses current affairs issues and stories. Arit has also presented travel show Destinations Africa; politics show Naija Politics and cooking show Chefrican, also on the Ebonylife TV platform. She is passionate about telling the African story from a positive and powerful perspective

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