Taking Trump seriously

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17 de marzo de 2016

 

I know that talking about Donald Trump nowadays is extremely trite, and everybody gets onboard the hype train talking about how he beat expectations with his surprisingly resilience in the republican race to the nomination of the party, despite all the apparent “political suicides” he’s attempted. But it is inevitable, he really took the political handbook and shred it to pieces.

So I apologize for shoving Trump down your throat, as if you haven’t had enough.

I remember when he came out as a presidential hopeful and the hateful comments he made about Mexicans (I am Mexican by the way). I wasn’t really mad, because I didn’t take him seriously, even though I knew he was serious about his views. I didn’t think much of the American people could relate to that kind of demagogic and hateful-xenophobic speech, so I thought that he was just an old nutcase trying to grab attention like he’s always been and that he would fade quickly into oblivion.

I still think he’s an old nutcase, but it appears that he’s set to win the republican nomination and that he’s serious about it. I was wrong about him, and a lot of polls, primaries and caucuses have given me plenty of evidence. And the reason I suppose he wins state after state is that he connects somehow with a general anger that some people have against the government (the Washington cartel, as Ted Cruz has put it) and the status quo in general. Also, it shows that racism and bigotry are far from being eradicated and that some people are looking for someone strong (or at least someone who gives an appearance of strength) to advance their agenda.

Before I continue, I want to clarify that I don’t think every republican has this kind of mentality, or even all Trump supporters. Some must be his supporters for other reasons, but I do think they’re the minority.

In my opinion, the party has been losing touch with a considerable size of their base, which won’t budge to be more moderate and who want the US to be more hawkish (or should I say bullish) with basically the rest of the world. These are the people who find Trump’s rhetoric (perhaps inadvertently) most appealing. And based on the numbers, it is a lot of people. Shall he win the presidency, it’ll show a face of the US we thought long gone.

A fundamental question arises, as the establishment declares that standing against Trump is almost a moral issue: What gives them the right to deny people the candidate they choose? If the majority declares its preference, why the party leaders try to boycott the will of the people? It’s an uncomfortable truth about democracy, that no matter how unsettled you are or how much you disagree, if you’re not part of the majority, your opinion is inconsequential.

And you know what’s truly surreal? That it’s blatantly obvious that he doesn’t know a thing about politics, public administration, law, foreign affairs or decency. He just keeps saying that everybody loves him, that he’s going to ban Muslims from entering the country (I don’t care if he says is temporary, it’s still segregationist), bring back waterboarding (and a lot worse), halt trade between the US and China, because they’re “ripping us off” or building a wall in the US-Mexico frontier. Apparently, that’s enough to be a rising star in politics. For him of course, because any other candidate saying such absurdities would be out of the race in a moment’s notice (even for screaming funny).

Thomas Jefferson said “an informed citizenry is at the heart of a dynamic democracy”. With the Donald, fact-checking is not a necessity (although it’s nice) but common sense, to listen beyond the shouts and the euphoria and to ponder if there is really any substance behind the one-liners.

The republican party didn’t take Trump seriously, and now they’re facing a set of options less than ideal: stand behind Trump and risk losing credibility, and potentially the White House (the opinions about that are changing) or stand against him, and risk a probable fracture within the party and with voters, again probably losing the White House. Their paragons, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, were trailing Trump since the beginning, usually by long margins. It has been a mess from the start with clear signs of trouble and a lot of wishful thinking from GOP leaders that the businessman would lose his appeal with time, only to be proven wrong time and time again.

As a citizen of a country he has denigrated with his statements and a believer in the forces of acceptance and tolerance I totally disagree with his views of the world. I think it would do damage to both our countries to follow the policies he has put forward.

I still have hope about the common sense of the general population and that, in the end, the best of you, voters, will trump Trump.

 

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