We are inching closer to a milestone moment in US politics and therefore global affairs. The looming Presidential Election will see a woman contest the vote for the first time (Hilary Clinton) and she will square off against business tycoon and Republican nominee Donald Trump.
I look across the Pond at my American cousins and I hope – desperately – that when they go to the polls in November common sense will prevail. Hilary is reviled in some quarters – partly because she’s a woman, partly because she’s a Clinton, and partly because she represents the Democrats – and the fear is enough people will vote for Trump (despite his bluster) simply because he’s not Hilary. Partisan politics has long been a trademark of US elections, and might this actually carry Trump over the finish line?
Thankfully, my desperate pleas for common sense do appear to be being answered. Hilary is currently crushing Trump in polls, because no one but the most diehard Republican supporter would consider putting Trump in the White House (and even some of the diehards might not be so sure). The political right in the US has been on a steady path toward self-destruction for years, with their policy appearing to be ‘oppose Obama simply because’. Their rhetoric has hardened to the point where they found themselves isolated, and the party membership gobbled up Trump’s firebranding because they’d edged themselves to a place where anyone who took the hard line to the right would have an excellent chance of becoming the nominee.
And make no mistake, despite claims from Republicans that Trump is actually left-wing, his arguments clearly mark him out as being harder to the right than his competitors for the role of Republican nominee. Whilst I don’t necessarily agree with some of the comments, the Political Compass site marks out Trump as been clearly hard to the right.
Nor is this the only example of Trump being right-wing. Denial of this is everywhere among Republican supporters who don’t want Trump, and whilst their desire to distance themselves from Trump is understandable, it is also dishonest to pretend he is something he isn’t. It also won’t fix the problems that run deep within the Republican party (denying a problem never fixed it).
Now the Republicans are stuck with a candidate who happens to represent their membership better than any other nominee could, precisely because he speaks to their values, not in spite of them. The party elite can sense disaster – the Republicans have enjoyed a strong presence in two of the three legislative bodies of the US government – Trump might alter this, and in a bad way.
Their problems aren’t just because of Trump. One of Trump’s most ardent supporters is former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani recently made the absurd claim that no terrorist attacks by Islamist extremists took place on US soil until after Obama became President – and yet Giuliani was Mayor of New York when the 9/11 attacks took place, during George W Bush’s term, within the eight-year window Giuliani mentioned! The Washington Post has an interesting article on the reasons for this apparent omission, and what it might mean.
So, if you’re a Republican reading this and you believe Trump is representing the political left, please stop to ask why so many of his supporters identify as right-wing. Ask yourself how he was able to comfortably win the nomination for the party that traditionally identifies as right-wing. Check out the links I provided. You might want to reconsider what Trump represents.