The fright­en­ing Trump re­al­ity show heads to the White House

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY - Ob­serve­ mark­wig­

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.

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