The frightening Trump reality show heads to the White House
AT THE time in July as Donald Trump won the nomination to be the Republican Party’s standard bearer in the presidential election, many in the world community thought that it would not be long before America would recognise it as a joke taken too far.
The early assessment was Trump had no discipline to raise his game and keep on script, therefore, he would be toast as the rigours and the added scrutiny increased in that last lap to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Well, that has all now been defied. Trump’s populism and his skill at delivering gut-level messages to his audience only grew his constituency, and now the man who promised nirvana to those thought to be dispossessed is effectively the president-elect of the USA.
The voters in the rust-belt states of Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Indiana had the last laugh at those in the establishment who they believe conspired with other elites to ship their jobs overseas. Will Trump be ever able to bring back jobs to those areas as promised?
Of course not. His constituents probably know that, too, but at the gut level, they have seen Trump as one of them because, they are certain, the establishment and the elites hate him. Many of his voters readily gave Trump licence to be their personal bomb thrower.
The fact is anger sells. In a democracy, anger, division and hate have a bigger take-up than preaching unity and tolerance. I recently read a column in Quartz by Ruchika Tulshyan. It was titled, ‘Donald Trump is the embodiment of everything Singapore taught me to fear about democracy’.
She quoted Lee Kwan Yew. “The exuberance of democracy leads to undisciplined and disorderly conditions which are inimical to development.”
I think every political leader who has been democratically elected accepts that but, at the same time knows that exuberant democracy can just as easily bring about good as it can inspire men to autocratic ends. Tulshyan quotes British satirist, Alan Coren.
“Democracy consists of choosing your dictators, after they’ve told you what you think it is (what) you want to hear.” Donald Trump is the very personification of that ‘refinement’ of democracy.
A state like Florida had problems that were in the makings for the Democratic turnout. I asked one contact there how fired up were people of colour. Last Thursday she said,
“Not fired up at all, which is so surprising as some plainly detest Donald Trump. My neighbourhood is a 50 per cent non-white (blacks/Hispanic) and only a few will discuss politics, although the consensus is that this presidential race really doesn’t seem much presidential.
“The majority of the blacks just do not have that sentiment for Hillary as they had for Barack, although they are truly Democrats. You hardly see any groundwork as we did in 2012 and 2008. Once again, the Florida polls are too close for comfort.
“The darn middle class, uninformed Hispanics that think they are white and have fulfilled their dreams by setting their foot in the US and take for granted the privileges they enjoy, it is surprising that they love the nasty rhetoric that Donald Trump spews out.
“My black friends and acquaintances are just not fired up ... even on the black radio stations which do not support Trump they have to play his political advertisements. Hillary needs to step up her game and double her advertisements on these stations. Hillary has to win, because I cannot think otherwise. I am voting on Tuesday.”
The Liberals and Progressives among the general student body across the US were also lukewarm. One student at Northeastern University in very Republican South Dakota emailed me on Sunday. “The campus is mostly liberal but no one and I mean no one is interested in these elections.”
It makes little sense now to ask how it is that America has elected to the highest office in the land one of the most demonstrably unqualified persons who also has major personality fault lines. What is important now is what sort of team he places around him and how he pursues his policy platform and deals with the Supreme Court nominations to come. Plus his Foreign Policy slate.
Will he surround himself with many of those heading his team in the Basket of Deplorables? Certainly Governor Chris Christie cannot insert himself in the team. It seems that Rudy Giuliani and maybe another discard of the past, Newt Gingrich, men who have defended Trump in his vilest moments, will be richly rewarded as Trump goes to Washington to ‘drain the swamp’.
Overturn Obamacare? Undo Roe vs Wade? Further gut the Voting Rights Act? The apprehensions are many.
A man holds a placard that reads “don’t support terrorists” as about 300 members of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party stage a protest outside the German embassy, accusing the Merkel government of supporting terrorism, in Ankara, Turkey, yesterday. Germany has expressed concerns about the situation of human rights in Turkey following the failed coup in July.