Martyn on the Realities of Donald Trump's Unexpected Victory
The Netherlands-born, Washington, D.C-based producer and DJ shares how he felt on the night nobody saw coming.
How does the recent and unexpected election of Donald Trump affect those who love electronic music? Several artists expressed their outrage in 140 characters or less, which we outlined earlier. I wondered what it feels like to be a Dutch producer living in the United States at the moment, so I called up Martyn, the Eindhoven-born producer and DJ. Martyn lives near Washington D.C., studied political science, and recently released an amazing record with Steffi, Evidence From A Good Source. Here's what he told me:
"Steffi called me at seven this morning to ask me the same thing. I had just arrived at my studio and thought 'man, can I write a sad piano piece today.'? I hadn't slept the previous night, for starters. We live in Virginia, just outside of D.C., one of the first states the results came in from. Straight away we noticed that things weren't as smooth as we'd expected, but everyone still believed Hillary would win. When Trump took Florida and North Carolina, I turned off my TV. Too much of those statistics can make you nuts.
Around 1 AM I turned it back on, and by then it was clear that Hillary wouldn't make it. That's bad enough, but what made it worse was that the Republicans had the majority of Congress too. That's a double punch in the face, giving the Republicans major powers.
The rest of the night I watched TV, listened to speeches, and sat in bed. I couldn't sleep, my head was spinning. What would the next four years (or eight) look like? You feel the doubts and insecurities in articles and comments online. I looked at Twitter, which has become a support group for people who don't get what happened.
We can find comfort in history: Obama preached a message of hope and change, and he changed a lot, but most things stayed the same. More often than not, campaign promises remain just that: promises. They don't translate into policy. Let's hope the same holds true for Trump's. He said he will "clean up" Washington and get rid of corruption, well, good luck with that. But let's hope his racist undercurrents don't flow into his Presidency.
Of course there's still the separation of powers. America may have elected a fool for President, but that doesn't give him carte blanche to rule the federal government, foolishly. Congress has a firm grip on policy, and besides, many of the "ideas" put forward in Trump's campaign are unconstitutional anyway. Perhaps he should read that first, the Constitution. At the same time: you don't know what's going to happen and how Trump will affect the world. The people whom Trump will select for Cabinet, they're a question mark, too.
The results show a division between coastal areas and the heartland of the US. There's a massive division, much larger than people thought. I live near the city, the economy is doing alright, we have a multi-ethnic community and many progressive ideas. But you can't compare that to Alabama or Tennessee. The Democratic Party has been a little arrogant. They believed black Americans and minorities would vote for them no matter what, and that things would work out. But they forgot about the bulk of people living in the rural areas, who feel excluded and neglected. Trump spoke to those people, "the silent majority" as he calls them. It really meant something that he has aroused these angry citizens to vote.
There're a lot of cool, progressive places in the US and in the world, but the majority of places aren't like that. It's good to acknowledge that. Globalization is cool if you can join and benefit from it, but if you don't belong to that group it's a scary thing. People feel less in control of their own lives than ever before. Take the classic example of a factory worker in Michigan losing his job because the factory is relocated to China. Such people see their lives literally floating away. You can tell this person things are going well in New York and on Wall Street, but it sure won't feel like that.
Fear motivates these peoples to want things to go back to how they were, and Trump's promise is exactly that: make America great again. But what exactly should we go back to? And how great was that? And when was it, in what year? Nobody knows. I understand people want their jobs back, but I don't think you can rewind America and go back in time.
I haven't yet thought about whether I want to stay in the US, it's too early for that. You don't decide something like that twelve hours after the results are in. And there are 318 million people here who can't leave the country when things go bad. My wife said to me: let's do what every American does, get up out of bed and go to work. Whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, life goes on.
Overall, seeing first the Brexit and now Trump's election: it's clear that these are not exceptions. This is where world politics is going, even if Europeans are laughing about "those dumb rednecks." All citizens have a vote and are a part of the election process.
The Netherlands is no exception. People make fun of the so-called underclass, as if these people don't understand what's important in life. But don't forget that these people can cast a vote, too, and that their vote is worth just much as yours."