Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Donald Trump - A Lesson In Demagoguery

8 December 2015. The Race for the White House in 2016 is starting to gather momentum on both sides, as the parties prepare` for their respective primaries, which begin in February 2016. On the Democrats side, despite impassioned and powerful campaigning by Bernie Sanders, Hilary Clinton is walking to a near divine coronation as the Democratic nominee. In fact, beyond Sanders, her opposition is so painfully insipid, it's little wonder that they are getting very little coverage.

Because on the other side, in the deeply divided Republican Party, a war for the soul of US politics is being waged. While the field is filled with perfectly credible candidates in the form of Rubio, Cruz and Christie, it is being ripped apart by Donald Trump, who has a huge fortune to push him forward and polemic rhetoric to cut through the media noise.

Let me bold in my prediction. Trump will win the Republican nomination. More so, I think he will be the next President of the United States. It's not what I crave but it is a political rise that fascinates me. You see, a lot of people have fallen into this trap that he is a loud mouthed idiot. That portrays a fool who just shouts anything to get attention. He didn't fluke his way to billionaire status and he hasn't got lucky on his way to the top of the polls. This is a very clever, devious man, who is a master in demagoguery.

You can deny it but when he says these controversial things, he is appealing to a lot of people who feel cut off within his country. They have listened to politicians be ambiguous with their statements as a way of wriggling out of obligation. He taps into people's raw emotions and their personal experiences with what he says. He takes those cracks and widens them up, so the lava of people's emotion spews out in the form of support for Trump.

When he spoke of Muslims rejoicing in the streets of America during 9/11, the media instantly denied any evidence of this happening. Yet there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of it happening. I know, I'm one of them. I wasn't even in America when that fateful attack occurred. I was in Tunbridge Wells, stood in a Dixons store, watching the whole thing unfold with my American colleague next to me. I had to physically restrain him when a Muslim man came in and openly celebrated the attack. Now if I was a politically ostracised American and I heard Trump preach what I had seen and the media deny it, why would I believe what the media says ever again? 

Suddenly, Trump's demagogic tactics pay off spectacularly. The media, the only ones able to truly scrutinise the billionaire's statements, can be dismissed as running their own agenda. They will have 'lied' before, so why not do it again? Trump can then say what he wants, as long as he finds that raw nerve or that ugly opinion that people bury down deep. What happens? The people who have doubted politics have a new messiah. Left wing politics has had a loud voice for a long time in the media and subsequently social media. Now right wing politics has a brash Trump-et to make themselves heard and they want to play their tune with every last bit of volume they can find.

Trump knows this. What he has spotted is not that people in the US crave controversy but a dismissal of compromise. Americans are not the only ones to fail to understand that politics should be the arena of compromise for the greater good. Most democracies fail to grasp that, ours included. So Trump is a genius in identifying that now was the time to present a ultra-strong approach. One that wouldn't back down. One that doesn't play nice. One that plays to a lot of old American values, even if they appear to contradict the Constitution.

Trump is many things but he is not an idiot. He knows exactly what he is doing. When he said that all Muslims should be banned from the US, he did it off the back of the San Bernardino shootings, whose perpetrators were Muslims. Ugly as it may seem, he tapped into the feeling of the American people very quickly. Politicians who walk the corridors of power in Washington know that Trump's statement is dangerous. They can condemn him but that only serves to widen the perceived chasm between Congress and the everyday American. Trump shows them the empathy they crave. All the others, no matter how reasoned or intelligent, are in political checkmate. Disagree and be dismissed by the electorate. Agree and they disappear into Trump's shadow. 

It is for these reasons I believe that Trump will be the next President of the United States. He will stand atop of a mountain of bitterness, fear, hatred and disenfranchisement to rise to the very top of US and world politics. So with that in mind, it becomes me to leave you with this very American thought.

God bless us and God bless the United States of America. Indeed, God help us all.

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