Trump vs Hil­lary

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENT - Shahid M Amin

deny him the nom­i­na­tion. But Trump has such a clear lead of del­e­gates won in the pri­maries that such a move would be seen not only as un­demo­cratic but also very di­vi­sive. If de­nied the nom­i­na­tion, Trump could stage a re­volt and be­come the third party can­di­date. That would work to Hil­lary’s ad­van­tage. On the other hand, Hil­lary too faces the pos­si­bil­ity of a re­volt by sup­port­ers of Bernie San­ders who put up a vig­or­ous cam­paign against her but could not se­cure enough del­e­gates. San­ders in­spired his sup­port­ers in a way that Hil­lary could not. In fact, de­spite her suc­cess in se­cur­ing more del­e­gates for the nom­i­na­tion, Hil­lary has found it tough go­ing be­cause many vot­ers in her own party find her lack­ing in charisma and she re­mains stuck with the scan­dal of mis­us­ing her of­fi­cial email for pri­vate pur­poses when she served as Sec­re­tary of State.

Most ob­servers still can­not fathom how Trump has been able to se­cure vic­tory in so many pri­maries. As one US po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst put it: “How an in­sult­ing, ill-man­nered, public pol­icy ig­no­ra­mus could be cho­sen by vot­ers to be the pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee of a ma­jor party will be pon­dered for years, prob­a­bly decades.” The ap­par­ent rea­son for his suc­cess is that many na­tion­al­is­tic, racially-mo­ti­vated peo­ple in “white Amer­ica” have re­sponded to Trump’s ap­peal as a blunt, out­spo­ken, anti-es­tab­lish­ment politi­cian. Among such Amer­i­cans, there has been a grow­ing anti-es­tab­lish­ment, anti-govern­ment, even anti-politi­cian re­volt. Many of them feel left out eco­nom­i­cally. They have not pros­pered and have even been los­ing jobs due to the per­ceived com­pe­ti­tion from China and other for­eign coun­tries. Some of them see Email:shahid_m_amin@hot­ Amer­ica los­ing its su­pe­ri­or­ity in the world in mil­i­tary and eco­nomic terms. They are an­gry with Washington for not do­ing enough ei­ther at home or abroad. They still can­not digest as to how a black man has re­mained Pres­i­dent of the USA for eight years. Many of them think they are be­ing op­pressed by a pow­er­ful, de­tached govern­ment in Washington, which is un­re­spon­sive to their con­cerns.

Trump’s ad­mir­ers are not put off by his coarse lan­guage and un­re­fined man­ners be­cause they think that he ar­tic­u­lates their frus­tra­tions and prom­ises to set things right. Trump is un­mind­ful of po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness and came out swing­ing against Mus­lim “ter­ror­ists” and Mex­i­can “thieves and rapists”. He has cashed on grow­ing Is­lam­o­pho­bia and racist sen­ti­ments of many Amer­i­cans. Another ex­pla­na­tion for his suc­cess in the pri­maries is the grow­ing role of so­cial me­dia that is be­com­ing a sub­sti­tute for con­sid­ered, an­a­lyt­i­cal think­ing. Sec­ondly, the broad­cast me­dia too has pro­moted him since he is seen as good en­ter­tain­ment on TV chan­nels and im­proves rat­ings. But com­ing to the hard re­al­i­ties, how will Trump fare if elected as the US Pres­i­dent? He has promised to act tough against per­ceived for­eign en­e­mies. His poli­cies could lead to racial con­fronta­tion at home and could de­stroy world peace. He is the dreaded bull in a china shop. While it is pos­si­ble that once in power, he might mod­er­ate his pol­icy, that looks like too big a risk to take.

Tra­di­tional friends like Europe and Ja­pan are also deeply wor­ried. Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Trudeau has al­ready said that he stood firmly “against the pol­i­tics of divi­sion, the pol­i­tics of fear, the pol­i­tics of in­tol­er­ance, or hate­ful rhetoric.” Mex­i­can Pres­i­dent Pena re­cently said that Trump’s “stri­dent tone” was rem­i­nis­cent of dic­ta­tors Mus­solini and Hitler who rode a tide of eco­nomic dis­con­tent to seize power. Mex­i­can lead­ers are fu­ri­ous over Trump’s vow to build a wall to keep Mex­i­can mi­grants out of the USA and make Mex­ico pay for it. Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Cameron said in De­cem­ber 2015 that Trump’s threat to put a tem­po­rary ban on en­try of Mus­lims to the USA was “di­vi­sive, stupid and wrong.”

Trump has been crit­i­cal of Euro­pean al­lies. His prom­ise to “Make Amer­ica Great Again” raises fears that he will pro­mote an iso­la­tion­ist pol­icy, which will weaken NATO and cre­ate prob­lems with al­lies like Ja­pan and South Korea. Neg­a­tive re­ac­tions to Trump have al­ready come from tra­di­tional US friends like Canada, Ire­land, Bri­tain, France, Ger­many, Turkey, Is­rael and Saudi Ara­bia. In Pak­istan, Trump is seen as anti-Mus­lim and a racist. He might act tough with Pak­istan and could cut off the coali­tion funds that Pak­istan has re­ceived from the USA for the past decade for fight­ing against AlQaeda and Is­lamist ter­ror­ists.

As the Trump-Hil­lary cam­paign gath­ers mo­men­tum in the next five months, there could be a gath­er­ing mo­men­tum against Trump. He has made for­mi­da­ble en­e­mies by an­tag­o­nis­ing the blacks, the Mus­lims, the Lati­nos and the women. Lib­eral opin­ion in USA is ap­palled by him and the pop­u­lated east and west coasts, as well as the big mid-West states like Michi­gan, are solidly against Trump. Most opin­ion polls at this time are pre­dict­ing a clear, even sweep­ing, vic­tory for Hil­lary Clin­ton over Trump. — The writer served as Pak­istan’s Am­bas­sador to Saudi Ara­bia, the ex-Soviet Union, France, Nige­ria and Libya.

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