Sunday 30 August 2015

Donald Trump: Plutocrat Unbound, by Ian Oakley

One of the great joys of the summer of 2015 has been Donald Trump’s domination of the American political scene.

While President Obama has been getting on with the difficult job of trying to govern, whether it is with his openings to Iran or Cuba, or with grappling with the Republicans in Congress, Trump has been providing the entertainment with his bid for the Republican nomination for President in 2016.

The great thing about ‘The Donald’ is that he is exactly the candidate that the modern Republican Party deserves.

The Republican Party is a party that was smashed by George W Bush’s Presidency and rebuilt on the back of Tea Party outrage. It is now a collection of warring interest groups.

The big business wing wants free trade and mass immigration to keep profits up and wages down. The Tea Party insurgents what protection and no immigration to keep jobs from being exported and wages up.

The one thing that unites them is a hatred for President Obama, with his attempts to give poorer people healthcare and with his support for tackling climate change.

Along with a Republican Party that enjoys fighting itself, almost as much as it enjoys denouncing Obama and Hillary Clinton, you have a media market that is polarised with partisan cable news channels and websites, and a political culture where everyone takes offence at everything.

So if a candidate for any major office makes a joke about something, or seeks to engage on difficult issues like race or religion, they are denounced by a Twitter ‘victim’ group, and that is then picked up by the partisan cable media.

This produces candidates as bland as beige cardigans. It fuels both the phoney media outrage, and a public distrust of do-nothing politicians.

Into this mess comes Donald Trump. The billionaire property developer and reality TV star who says exactly what he wants, when he wants, and about what he wants.

The first thing he did was show up most American political commentators as talking nonsense.

Many of them said he would not run; he ran. Most said that his comments on Mexicans would destroy his campaign; his poll numbers went up.Most said that his comments on John McCain would definitely destroy his campaign; his poll numbers went up. Most said his fight with Fox news was suicide; Fox News backed down (they need him for the ratings, and he delivers).

The American public is so tired of a political class that won’t say boo to a goose, that they are loving Trump’s crazed version of straight talking.

Donald Trump is the Republican Party’s own worst nightmare, because he is the living embodiment of what that party has become. 

The Republican Establishment worships the rich, and Trump is a billionaire. The Tea Party hates illegal immigration, and Trump will build a wall.

In truth the Republican Establishment would love to get rid of Trump, as they want a candidate such as  Jeb Bush, who will pretend to care about Latinos and the poor, who will get elected, and who will then get on with cutting taxes, with reducing regulation, and with keeping the illegal immigrants coming.

Unfortunately for them, the normal way to get rid of a candidate – cut off their rich donors – won’t work with Trump, as he can fund his own campaign.

The more that Establishment types attack Trump, the more that it feeds his support among the Tea Party wing.

The Trump campaign will probably come to a sticky end at some point next year.

But in his exposure of the uselessness of the commentator class, in his exposure of the awfulness of today’s Republican Party, and in his highlighting the issue of illegal immigration – a major concern of ordinary Americans – he has done the United States body politic a favour.

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