Trump’s rhetorical ‘race to the bottom’ may well backfire. His race to the top of Republican polls has been remarkable but the more attention he gets, the more people learn how inept and vile he truly is.
Donald Trump, the son of a New York real-estate magnate and Scottish emigrant, is by far the most polarising figure in western politics this year. Part business man, part television personality, and part…racist? His mix of fascist rhetoric, neo-liberal economics, and world busting ego has made for an ‘entertaining’ media shit-storm to say the least. These things make him the Republican frontrunner in the U.S. Presidential race but they might also end up being his undoing.
Trump’s special brand of crazed populism has captured the minds of America’s ‘less educated’ and opportunistic voters. I will explain. Trump has something for ‘everyone’, so to speak. You want some McCarthy style xenophobia? You got it; Trump want’s to ban Muslim immigration and install a Nazi style religious identification system (even war criminal Dick Cheney thinks it’s un-American). You want some patronising sexism from a man whose hair looks like an escaped Guinea pig? You got it. Are you an older gent with heaps of cash? Do you like it that way? Trump will go on national TV and masturbate your ego with his weird victim complex. I’m sure the quote “It has not been easy for me. It has not been easy for me. I started off in Brooklyn. My father gave me a small loan of a million dollars,”sounds familiar. Do you like dot replying people on Twitter with badly made pie charts that link to debunked stats? Trump is definitely your guy. I think you get the picture.
He has pissed off a lot of people. Trump recently prompted The Late Show’s Steven Colbert to comment “he is willing to offend every group in America except white people”, and that is pretty much it. First he went for Latinos, now its Muslims, but if there is a trend to be had, its that Trump will not point out crappy things white people do. Now hold up, this is not the white-guilt segment you have come to expect. This is simply a matter of, its normal to call people out for shitty or ‘evil’ behaviour. However, you haven’t seen a Trump press release condemning the motives behind the Planned Parenthood attack, have you? He simply called the attacker a “maniac” and said it was “terrible”. Such a defender of virtuous ideology is our Donald.
I don’t want to tread too much broken ground though, as I expect you are all fairly familiar with this, courtesy of that one guy on your Facebook I call ‘the news aggregator’ (I tend to be that annoying guy for my friends). Therefore, I will get on with it. Why do I think this will all come and bite ol’ Donald in the butt?
Well one of the things that happens when you upset millions of people is millions of people are disinclined to ignore your shitty behaviour. Students at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen petitioned their school to revoke Trump’s honorary degree in the wake of his problematic comments regarding Muslims. They argued that his political comments went counter to all that the university stood for, that endorsing him was no longer plausible. The university agreed, and stripped him of the degree. First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon felt likewise and stripped him of GlobalScot ambassador position. These happened to the backdrop of a petition calling to ban Trump from the UK, which is receiving “25,000” signatures an hour. We certainly aren’t buying ‘the Trump affect’ this side of the pond.
The most ironic thing about the fallout of Britain’s Trump pushback is hisresponse. The hubris of Trump really puts Poe’s law to the test. Not only does he claim “UK politicians should be thanking me” but that he has “done so much for Scotland,” a delusional remark if I have ever seen one. In case you are reading from outside of the UK, I will get into why he is categorically wrong. Not only was his golf links a resounding failure for the community (and financially), he embroiled himself in a protracted legal battle with the Scottish government over their alternative energy plans because their sea windfarms ‘destroyed the aesthetics of his golf course’ (paraphrasing). You heard that right, the Presidential hopeful tried to interfere with another sovereign state’s energy policy because it interrupted his view of the North Sea.
Moving closer to home for Mr. Trump, let’s segue into his finances. Trump loves to lie. It’s the chief component of his Trump ‘brand’, that on any given day he brags is worth in excess of $3 billion [~£1.98 billion](Forbes pegs it at about a tenth of that). Disregarding his brand and his exaggerations (over inflating his net worth in campaign material by at least 100%), Trump’s claims of being an excellent business executive fall flat. While he has never filed for personal bankruptcy, his businesses have filed for corporatebankruptcy four times. Additionally, one pundit claimed that if Trump had just placed his father’s money in a mutual bond that tracked the S&P 500 he would have $8 billion (double his net worth). If we go by the truism that the truth is in the middle, he still isn’t all that amazing. Consequently we should take his claims of ‘making America great again’ with a grain of salt.
Now for the Coup de grâce. We have briefly surmised but a few of Trump’s most egregious failures and faults, while skirting around the main reason its all going to fall apart for him; he can’t do half of what he says. While some have argued that his Muslim ban may be constitutional, the majority of media pundits and politicians believe it is un-American, and it wouldn’t have a chance in hell of passing in Congress. In the same vein, his fellow candidates in the GOP can’t stand him, so I highly doubt he will have much support from moderate Republicans, or many traditional conservatives. Essentially Trump is campaigning to bigoted or selfish Americans who don’t represent the modern American values, nor do they have the clout to affect the shift in legislation (Same-sex marriage, gun-control, health care etc.). Simply put, Trump won’t get the votes because the more he campaigns, the more people will realise he won’t be able to fulfil his fantasies of fascist America, because no one will back his promises in government.
I could be wrong. Trump may well get the nomination, and he may pick a strong running mate who isn’t as insane as he is. The thing is, he then has to fight Clinton with Wall Street and the women’s vote or Sanders with his left-wing populism. As scared as I am, I am glad it is an uphill battle for Trump; it’s a bonus that he is making enemies of everyone and their nan.
(Disclosure: I supported the petition for the removal of Trump’s degree, but do not endorse the ban on him entering the UK, although it is amusing.)