The Orlando shooting may prove to be a turning point in US elections

Published: June 13, 2016
Email

The Orlando massacre could be a game changer for the US presidential election.

As I got around to pen down my thoughts about Hillary Clinton’s nomination for this November’s election, I found myself conflicted, shrouded in profound sadness and agony. Just about a couple of days before, I was rejoicing Hillary’s victory in the primaries process.

More than anything else, what really got me excited was the Democrats coming together and pledging to work hand-in-hand to keep their sick-in-the-head opponent, Donald Trump, out of the White House.

Come Sunday morning, June 12th, things changed abruptly.

As the news flashed on the screen about yet another ISIS-influenced man running rampage on an Orlando night club killing scores of innocent souls, I at once thought about Trump, the hate-mongering imbecile and the political mileage that he would gain out of this tragedy.

The realisation that while the rascal, Omar Mateen, committed a heinous crime, he’s left behind millions of Muslims to face the backlash and be potentially branded as terrorists for several generations to come – made my heart sink to the greatest of depths.

The Orlando massacre could be a game changer for the US presidential election. Trump who had been chastised by all and sundry for his outrageous statements against different minority groups stands vindicated today. His plan to stop Muslim immigration and tighten the noose around those who live and contribute positively to US economy may finally be taken seriously.

From this point on, the US presidential race will pretty much be about which candidate proposes tougher measures against ‘radical Islamists’ and who instills more fear in people’s hearts vis-à-vis threats from home-grown terrorists, undocumented aliens and the like.

While endorsements and support for Mrs Clinton poured in soon after her last week’s ‘Super Tuesday’ victories, Trump’s stock is bound to go up to never-seen-before heights. Already he’s being facilitated for the correctness of his ‘prophecies’. The Orlando event is a God given opportunity for Trump who had a couple of rough recent weeks to regain the lost ground.

It is hoped that amidst the heated up public sentiment, Democrats and Mrs Clinton will stay calm and negotiate this unprecedentedly stressful time diligently. They can set the tone for establishing a peaceful society based on dialogue and greater internal security checks to curb young men and women to be radicalised. In essence, a diametrically opposed message to Trump’s insanity may work in favour of the Democrats.

Mrs Clinton could be the best hope for Muslims of America. She and her husband have an impeccable record as far as treating minorities or their views about Islam or voicing their apprehensions about stereotyping Muslims are concerned. They are strongly opposed to preying on people’s fears and their message about the future of America is one that is based on integration and mutual respect.

The tenor of the presidential campaign over the next few days and weeks is not hard to predict. And while Hillary Clinton may find it tough to stay relevant in the face of Trump’s wizardry, his thumping tirades and verbal diarrhoea, her moderate stance on issues of prime importance to this nation may win the day eventually.

What is comforting to Trump-cynics like yours truly is the fact that not a whole lot of American population supports him. Even those who he claims support of – the poorly educated – are now feeling ridiculed. However, he will cash in on the Orlando shooting incident and it might win him some extra percentage points but it won’t take him very far.

In the meantime, Muslims will have to deal with extraordinary circumstances yet another time on account of an act of senselessness from one of their own. Granted that Muslim organisations all over US have condemned the Orlando carnage, nothing is enough to stop Trump and his followers to lead an effort to further butcher and maim the Muslim image.

What should be kept in mind though is that whereas there’s limit to genius, there’s no limit to stupidity. This can be judged by Mrs Clinton’s reaction to the Sunday shootings portraying a longer-term vision for working out matters strategically. Trump, on the other hand, continued to fan the flames of hatred.

Conventional wisdom and political correctness have been knocked out of the ballpark this election cycle. As the nation starts the healing process, we can sincerely hope that better sense prevails all over the landscape. The world needs a high dosage of peace especially the families who lost their loved ones due to Omar Mateen’s madness.

So, while we, as people, process the latest catastrophe, let’s pray that no one, including Trump, abuses this ‘opportunity’ to score political points. In fact, let’s turn this event into an opening to make peace matter and fight demagoguery, bigotry and debauchery for all times to come. And, let’s make sure that orange will never be the new black.

Do you think this incident will affect the US 2016 election campaign?

     View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Ahson Saeed Hasan

Ahson Saeed Hasan

The writer is a proud American, a peacenik who has traveled well over 80 countries and lived in four continents. He likes to share his experiences and reflect on the worldly surroundings. He tweets @tweetingacho (twitter.com/tweetingacho)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Kickass

    Well only a rascal could identify another and you did. Are you sorry for the dead or your kind?Recommend

  • ab1990

    start packing your bags Mr Ahson Saeed Hasan. Get ready to leave usa in the coming months.Recommend

  • IndianDude

    …Mrs Clinton could be the best hope for Muslims of America….

    I hope you realize that whereas pakistan might have been created for muslims, the USA was and is not . Most of the Americans will prefer that whoever is the next president of USA, he is good for Americans and certainly not the ‘best hope’ for muslims, especially the pakistani variety!Recommend

  • Kolsat

    I think it is time that leaders should start talking about radical Islam and how to counter it. Time has gone for leaders to trot out well worn words that Islam is a religion of peace and people carrying out such attacks are not real Muslims. Muslim leaders then take no hand in improving the obvious faults in the religion and only ring hands and say that the west does not understand Muslims and is Islamophobic.Recommend

  • CHARLIE HEBDO

    Muslims want to migrate to non-Muslim countries, but dont want to mingle, just want to create havoc in the name of religion.Recommend

  • Feroz

    Anti establishment sentiment is running deep not just in America but evenly across the world. People see status quo policies are repugnant to their well being and yearn for some positive change. What is looked at positively by some may be detrimental to interests of many. I see Trump gaining mileage and winning because Hillary has strong backing and support of the Banking lobby. More of the same Americans may not want.Recommend

  • Diptarko Das Sarma

    U have to treat Muslims, wherever they are in minority , well the world over, U have to pamper them, but Muslims have to Loot, rape, arson and convert other non-muslims wherever they are in Majority…Boss, nothing in the world is a one way street. How about some starters by becoming modern SECULAR, democratic countries for a change, with strict isolation of the state and the mosque.Recommend

  • Zubair Khan

    I was also one of those who listened and watched Trumps recent speech on CNN. Later wondered and pondered, came to conclusion what ever he said is truth. Radicalization on the name of Islam is in fact an attitude, eradication of which needs long term planning and sustained efforts. Strategic or political interests are main bottle necks to achieve this goal. Recently UN scummed to the pressure of KSA to get out from black list. It was also an attitude problem which tantamount financial radicalization. Previous US leaders had always been supporting KSA and gulf states knowingly these are sponsoring Islamic radicalization. In order to change the current attitude some one like Trump is needed who can call goat a goat. Beefing up security, weapon control or banning of Muslims are temporary solutions. What actually needed is long term planning for reformation of Muslims all over. Cooperation with Muslims correctly interpreting Islam with motto, love for all and hatred for none, might be the best possible solution. Currently International Ahmadiyya Community is in forefront of such efforts. May be forthcoming US leader can ponder on this point also.Recommend

  • Jayman

    The shooter just won the elections for Trump. Given what is happening, I don’t think he would be any worse than Bush – which is not saying much. But I do think certain ideologies have to reform before they are allowed in. The dole-migration has to stop.Recommend

  • Jayman

    They migrate for the dole. Free money can be very tempting.Recommend

  • Jayman

    He will pass himself off as an Indian. After all he does not have the telltale signs of a Muslim.Recommend

  • Razi Mallick

    The concerns and apprehensions, as expressed by the writer, seem to be quite true. It will be sad for the whole nation if comes true. But sometimes threat is converted into opportunity, if it is faced with wisdom and courage, and I am pessimistic about this.
    I can see a ray of hope in the threat. On the one hand support for Trump most probably is expected to surge, but how much this surge will be? It is difficult to measure. On the other hand it is most expected that the democrats will further close their ranks and files to face the threat. Till now Hillary was not acceptable to a significant segment of democratic voters, though democrats had started coming together. I hope emergence of this sad situation may further solidify the democrats at this defining moment of the US History. I hope Barney Sanders and his supporters will act with full force and energy to create a wave of tolerance against wave of intolerance.
    I will also take this opportunity to inform readers of this article about a piece of news appeared in the Washington Post about Omer’s father being pro-Taliban and against Pakistan. The reason mentioned was Durand Line, drawn by the British in 1894 between Afghanistan and the Pushtoon area under British control. But it was not explained further.
    When Pakistan came into existence, the then Afghan government ruled by King Zahir Shah did not accept that dividing line, and claimed the then “Frontier Province” as part of Afghanistan. Omer’s Father supports this stance, and that is reason that he is pro-Taliban. This means that his support does not have any religious reason but has Afghan Nationalism factor. I wish that Mr. Alison Saeed Hasan and other writers inform this to the Americans about this fact to erase misconception.Recommend

  • siesmann

    A Muslim,in his zeal for 72 hoors,has practically ensured an Anti-Muslim President elected.He has struck at the heart of anti-Trump movement,and made hispanics, Gay community and large number of undecided voters to rethink.Even Hillary Clinton had to say on CNN that she has no problem naming such episodes as Radical Islamic Terrorism- a term she had avoided to use until now.The rhetoric has now shifted from bigotry of Trump to bigotry of Islam.The claim of Islam as a religion of peace is sounding hollower by the day.Mullah is having a field day,and is succeeding in putting Islam on a collision course with the rest of the world.Clash of Civilizations is becoming a reality.Recommend

  • Razi Mallick

    The concerns and apprehensions, as expressed by the writer, seem to be quite true. It will be sad for the whole nation if comes true. But sometimes threat is converted into opportunity. I am an optimist and can see a ray of hope.
    Apprehension of the writer is correct that support for Trump will surge, but how much this surge will be? It is difficult to measure. On the other hand it is also expected that realizing gravity of the situation, an overwhelming majority of democrats will further close their ranks and files to turn the tide. I hope shunning the differences with Hilary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and his supporters will join with her, with a new spirit and vigor. Let us hope for the better.
    I would also like to take this opportunity to explain the readers about a news item appeared in the Washington Post about Omer’s father political orientation. As per the news item, he is pro-Taliban and against Pakistan. The reason mentioned was Durand Line drawn by the British in 1894, between Afghanistan and the then Pushtoon area (called Frontier province after creation of Pakistan and now called KPK-Khyber Pukhtoon Khah) under the British control. But it was not explained further.
    When Pakistan came into existence, the then Afghan government ruled by King Zahir Shah did not accept that dividing line, and claimed the then “Frontier Province” as part of Afghanistan and Omer’s Father has the same stance. This means that his support does not have any religious reason but is a regional factor. I request Mr. Ahson Saeed Hasan and other writers to explain this fact to the American Nation, to clear misconception.Recommend

  • Gowpeet

    Like the Hindus do in England. Canada. Australia….Recommend

  • JP

    That’s funny. Brown skinned hindus are
    dancing with joy in india. Over the remarks of a racist
    and bigot who calls hindus….. “dot heads”Recommend

  • Razi Mallick

    The concerns and apprehensions, as expressed by the writer, seem to be quite true. It will be sad for the whole nation if comes true. But sometimes threat is converted into opportunity. I am an optimist and can see a ray of hope.
    Apprehension of the writer is correct that support for Trump will surge, but how much this surge will be? It is difficult to measure. On the other hand it is also expected that realizing gravity of the situation, an overwhelming majority of democrats will further close their ranks and files to turn the tide. I hope shunning the differences with Hilary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and his supporters will join with her, with a new spirit and vigor. Let us hope for the better.
    I would also like to take this opportunity to explain the readers about a news item appeared in the Washington Post about Omer’s father political orientation. As per the news item, he is pro-Taliban and against Pakistan. The reason mentioned was Durand Line drawn by the British in 1894, between Afghanistan and the then Pushtoon area (called Frontier province after creation of Pakistan and now called KPK-Khyber Pukhtoon Khah) under the British control. But it was not explained further.
    When Pakistan came into existence, the then Afghan government ruled by King Zahir Shah did not accept that dividing line, and claimed the then “Frontier Province” as part of Afghanistan and Omer’s Father has the same stance. This means that his support does not have any religious reason but is a regional factor. I request Mr. Ahson Saeed Hasan and other writers to explain this fact to the American Nation, to clear misconception.Recommend

  • Jayman

    I can’t type what they call Muslims. It wont pass the censors on here. Can’t speak for Hindus but my guess is, they can live with that.Recommend

  • Fahim

    It is hypocritical life to permanently live in West & being a Muslim. Many muslims prefer money over Islam, I have also sacrificed my religion in past on it too. A muslim has an ideology, pride, social justice & to make nation of the greatest nations of the World. We have forgotten what is responsibility to be a Muslim.Recommend

  • Fahim

    I think Trump is stupid man with open mouth. Mrs Clinton is wicked and in her term in name of Arab spring what atrocities has happened that were unheard earlier. I think Trump would be tough not close to Hitler, but at the end human rights will win.Recommend

  • abhi

    As per Muslim school of thought the person who did this will enter jannat and can be called martyr while the victim will go to hell because they were non-muslim.Recommend

  • siesmann

    At least Pakistanis should not complain.Trump is not advocating murder of Muslims,as the Mullahs in Pakistan do to Ahmadis(and other minorities). He is a better Mullah than any in Pakistan.Recommend