© Josh Sager – May 2016
With Ted Cruz and John Kasich dropping out of the GOP primary, it appears that Donald Trump will be the GOP’s presidential candidate for the 2016 race. While there is certainly a chance that the Republican power elite will try to steal the nomination at the convention (e.g. through unbinding delegates), I don’t think that this is likely.
A number of GOP establishment members have begun to fall in line behind Trump. For example, Reince Priebus, the head of the RNC, has already indicated his acceptance of Trump as the nominee and called the party to unify behind him for the general election fight. Several GOP politicians, including Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and John Huntsman, have announced their support for Trump now that he has swept the field. Even GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson is now publicly on-board for a Trump candidacy.
Let me be entirely frank on my opinion of Trump: Donald Trump is a racist, orange, proto-fascist ooma-loompa with a giant caterpillar glued to his head. Half of what he says is babbling nonsense and the other half sounds like it would be right at home on your average white supremacist internet message board. He has no idea how to run a nation or a company (ask the investors he screwed over during his four bankruptcies) and his only skills are leveraging his inherited fortune to dupe suckers and speaking to the very worst impulses of the American right.
If elected president, Trump would make us look fondly back at the days when Bush II was bumbling around the Middle East and helping Wall Street crash our economy—he would set the standard for presidential incompetence on domestic policy and could irreparably damage our nation’s standing on the international stage. To compound his incompetence, Trump’s racism could manifest in horrifying ways, including, but not limited to, Muslim “registries” or travel bans and a national “deportation force” to handle the “illegal problem” (I wonder if their uniform will have brown shirts?).
The fact that a racist simpleton like Trump is even considered a viable primary candidate for the nomination of a major American party is an international shame. Beyond that, the idea that he has a real chance to win the presidency should inspire fear in all rational people. Unfortunately, Donald Trump is simply a symptom of a much deeper series of problems. There is no lack of fools, racists and lunatics in any nation, but Trump’s success demonstrates that a large percentage of our voting population is willing to back such a lunatic and help him get into the most powerful office of the land. Even if Trump loses in 2016 (which is likely) the voters who propelled him to the nomination will remain a threat to sane governance in future elections.
Donald Trump’s primary win is an indictment of the mainstream media, our nation’s political establishment and the cultural values of large portions of our nation. These are the forces that have driven Trump to his position of power and must be addressed if we are to prevent any future Trumps from rising to power.
- The media has given Donald Trump approximately $2 billion in free media advertising during this primary cycle. This absolutely dwarfs the media given to any other candidate and allowed Trump to spread his message at minimum expense to his campaign. Additionally, the mainstream media refused to point out that Trump is a lunatic who is proposing non-factual and racist policies. They treated him as a credible candidate rather than a joke and the public followed along (if respected news outlets treat Trump like a serious candidate, who are they to disagree?). These actions by the media were driven by greed—Trump draws eyes to the primary coverage—and a desire to be seen as “neutral” rather than biased against individual candidates or ideas, even if those individuals/ideas are manifestly absurd.
- The political establishments of both parties have been corrupted by corporate money and refused to address the needs of the American people. In fact, a recent Princeton study has determined that the USA is now closer to a plutocracy than a democracy, as the policy preferences of the average American have been overridden by the preferences of the donor class (top .1%). Americans are angry that our government doesn’t represent us anymore and are lashing out by supporting populist anti-establishment candidates—sometimes this benefits politicians who are decent and would work to fix the system (Bernie) while in other cases, it leads large numbers of people to support proto-fascists like Trump (or Mussolini). In short, if the political establishment is not reformed to represent the voters, we will continue to see the rise of anti-establishment candidates, many of whom will resemble Trump.
- It is impossible to discuss the threat of Trump without looking at the cultural artifacts that helped fuel his rise. Racism, nativism, and xenophobia are rampant in his voter base, and not just in the south. White disaffection is a serious issue that must be addressed (e.g. through improving education and creating more opportunities for advancement for low-income individuals) if we want to stop the rise of nationalist and hate groups.
At the end of the day, I have serious problems with Hillary Clinton—namely her rejection of progressive policy ideas, connections to corporate money, hawkishness, and disingenuous attacks against Bernie Sanders—but will vote for her to avoid a Trump presidency. Trump is not an individual who we can risk in the presidency and his election would spell doom for numerous progressive priorities.
I have an idea that Trump would be really unhappy with attack ads that lampoon him by saying that even his own hair wants to run away from his racist ideals.