As news of the growing likelihood of a surprise upset by Donald Trump reached traders in Asia, markets there plunged nearly six percent. By the time his victory was all but certain, they had pushed down the dollar, spiked the price of safe havens such as gold, and punished the Mexican peso by bringing it to record low levels.
European markets followed suit, with major markets in Frankfurt, Milan and London shedding between two and three percentage points. Markets pared their losses somewhat following Trump’s acceptance speech.
The shock to the markets cane because they had largely priced in a Hillary Clinton victory, predicated on near universal polling that had put her a few percentage points ahead of Trump nationally and in the key states she lost. The result mirrored the surprise win by the Leave camp in the UK’s EU referendum, or Brexit. Pollsters there also had failed to predict the strength of anti-integration and nativist forces in the British electorate.
Meanwhile, commentators around the world led with opinion pieces that minced few words expressing their concern, and in many cases shock and dismay.
In an essay for The New Yorker, David Remnick called Trump’s election to the presidency “nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism… That the electorate has, in its plurality, decided to live in Trump’s world of vanity, hate, arrogance, untruth, and recklessness, his disdain for democratic norms, is a fact that will lead, inevitably, to all manner of national decline and suffering.”
Australian journalist Wendy Squires lamented the election results in a piece for the Sydney Morning Herald: “I am woman, hear me sob… Surely, I believed we had made some progress. I knew feminism has a way to go but the world was ready for a female President. Especially one with such experience, such conviction and such a sexist, narcissist, megalomaniac oaf as an alternative. believed, or make that hoped at least, that Donald Trump was an aberration, a distraction that we would look back in horror on. He was the close call we all would be relieved to see put back in his penthouse box, his ego broken, his scary bluster a hot wind that was extinguished by good sense.
But no. I have watched today as I did 9/11, with my hands over my eyes in shock, disgust and horror and cries of “this can’t be happening!” on constant rotation.”
The New York Times’ Editorial Board issued a sobering response: “After a year and a half of erratic tweets and rambling speeches, we can’t be certain. We don’t know how Mr. Trump would carry out basic functions of the executive. We don’t know what financial conflicts he might have, since he never released his tax returns,
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