There is no way around it. Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 US Presidential election was crushing. It is still gut-wrenching to consider that the least qualified candidate in American history, a man who bragged about sexually assaulting women no less, defeated the most qualified candidate in history, who many hoped would make history as America’s first female commander in chief.
— Women's Agenda (@WomensAgenda) November 15, 2016
Of course Trump’s election didn’t occur in a vacuum. It happened amid the rise of rampant populism. A few months after the United Kingdom sensationally voted to exit the European Union, fuelled in some part by the same anti-immigration narrative Trump pedalled. The same sentiment that, right here, the ever popular Pauline Hanson and One Nation promotes.
Voters around the world, it has seemed, were awfully disenchanted and willing to try something new. For a period in time ‘something new’ looked awfully dispiriting. Racist. Sexist. Nasty. Fearful.
But perhaps the something new isn’t all bad. In New Zealand something new has come in the form of Jacinda Ardern, the country’s youngest ever Prime Minister. Canada, of course, has got the uber modern Justin Trudeau and France has got Emmanuel Macron. These are leaders that don’t fit the mould. They’re hardly anti-establishment but they certainly aren’t the old guard.
And now, another young and progressive politician is taking a spot on the global stage. Iceland has elected an environmentalist and feminist Prime Minister in Katrín Jakobsdóttir.
The new prime minister of Iceland is Katrín Jakobsdóttir: a 41-year-old democratic socialist, feminist, anti-militarist who says Iceland will expand its health-care system, "go farther than the Paris Accord" in fighting climate change and strive for increased gender equality. pic.twitter.com/vjYeYMLHjA
— John Nichols (@NicholsUprising) December 1, 2017
Makes for a welcome change doesn’t it?
She ousted the centre-right coalition led by Bjarni Benediktsson that lost a quarter of its seats in the recent election. Benediktsson’s loss after 10 months in office was contributed to by the fact his father helped “restore the honour” of a convicted child sex offender.
Katrín Jakobsdóttir is a former education minister who is incredibly popular: polls before the election indicated half of Icelandic voters wanted her to become the PM.
Her agenda will include a greater investment in healthcare, education and transport infrastructure, sustaining Iceland’s economic recovery from the 2008 financial crash, and improving gender equality and LGBT rights.
This version of something new is welcome.