Win or lose, ‘Trump­ism’ will leave its mark

The Myanmar Times - - World -

EVEN if he loses the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, Don­ald Trump’s pop­ulist charge will leave its mark on the Amer­i­can body politic.

The 70-year-old bil­lion­aire is the Re­pub­li­can flag-bearer even though part of the Grand Old Party’s estab­lish­ment has re­jected him, and oth­ers are vot­ing for him while hold­ing their noses.

But Mr Trump has man­aged to craft his own po­lit­i­cal brand, build­ing a move­ment among the party’s dis­af­fected rank-and-file.

Asked whether Mr Trump or House Speaker Paul Ryan, the high­est-rank­ing Re­pub­li­can elected of­fi­cial, bet­ter rep­re­sent the party’s val­ues, 51 per­cent of mem­bers choose Mr Trump and 33pc favour Mr Ryan.

As the race comes down to the wire, and the right faces the prospect of Demo­crat Hillary Clin­ton in the White House, some party lead­ers are com­ing back to the fold.

But Mr Trump has di­vided the party, both with his brash style and by over­turn­ing con­ser­va­tive or­tho­doxy with his op­po­si­tion to free trade, iso­la­tion­ist for­eign pol­icy and flex­i­ble stance on wel­fare and deficits.

The mav­er­ick new­comer has even cam­paigned for paid parental leave, anath­ema to the small-govern­ment con­ser­va­tive right.

But it is not just the fore­ground­ing of a dif­fer­ent set of is­sues that will en­dure. Mr Trump’s in-your­face style and ag­gres­sive rhetoric will leave a mark on fu­ture cam­paign strate­gies.

And this change in cam­paign­ing style may cross the lib­eral-con­ser­va­tive di­vide, as Democrats and pro­gres­sives re­spond with height­ened rhetoric of their own.

Mr Trump has played on frus­tra­tions with the Wash­ing­ton and Wall Street elites, vow­ing to cham­pion blue-col­lar male white vot­ers’ con­cerns about eco­nomic ex­clu­sion.

But as he has done so, he has in­sulted or man­aged to of­fend women, im­mi­grants, African Amer­i­cans, Mus­lims and the hand­i­capped – deep­en­ing America’s di­vides.

Mr Trump has had no prob­lem fill­ing vast halls with mo­ti­vated vot­ers, but his 60pc un­favourable opin­ion poll rat­ing would have sunk a less shame­less cam­paigner.

Ex­pert opin­ion is di­vided about whether Mr Trump him­self will want to re­main in front­line pol­i­tics if he loses, or whether he will try to re­build his busi­ness brand.

Some of his sup­port­ers ap­pear to be ma­noeu­vring to cre­ate a Trump­branded me­dia plat­form that could mon­e­tise his pop­ulist mes­sage in a po­larised news land­scape. –

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