Among the most spoken-about global political phenomena in the last few months, is the emergence of Donald Trump. The real estate Moghul and casino magnate has dominated the Republican presidential field for some time now. His campaign so far has been sly and calculated, and its results highly thought provoking. Let us examine certain elementary questions about him and his campaign.
To begin with, what would a Donald Trump presidency be like?
Will we see a ‘great wall of America’ rise on its Mexican frontier? Will Muslims living in the U.S. be specially monitored, and the rest banned from entering the U.S. altogether? Will China’s rise be curbed? The American president isn’t only the most powerful person in the U.S., he or she is the most powerful person in the world. Imagining how Donald Trump would handle such a job and such responsibility requires us to understand the man himself.
Donald Trump was a staunch liberal not too long ago. His shift all the way to the other side of the spectrum is a testament of the extent he can go to for the sake of power. Extrapolate this ambition to a presidency: he would certainly want to deliver on certain fronts, especially economic and geopolitical domination. We must keep in mind that Trump is far from the eccentric or the idiotic man he projects himself to be. He has proven his mettle in the corporate world and is doing so in the political too. We can expect him not only to be a highly competent president, but somebody bold and willing to try out new ideas. He certainly won’t be stupid enough to implement anything he has promised during the elections, so do not expect a wall or a Muslim-ban. But expect a much stronger America. Having said all of this, a Trump presidency remains unlikely.
We will get to why a Trump presidency remains unlikely, but before that, what would the implications of a Donald Trump presidency be for India?
A leading American presidential candidate stating that China’s rise must be curbed, and that Pakistan is the real problem and must be taken care of, is music to our ears. But then successive regimes which were aware of China’s rise being a threat and Pakistan being the real problem, have come and gone. Despite being the United States of America, the country or rather its foreign policy, has limitations. It destroyed an entire country in the pursuit of one man, found him in another country and keeps sending this other country aid. Before getting re-elected as the president Obama too vowed to be very strict with Pakistan, but to no avail. With the potential rise of India also being a threat to American supremacy, it is well established that there is only this much the Americans will help us out with, this much and no more.
Foreign policy of a superpower cannot be changed overnight. The opposition Obama faces both domestically and internationally for bringing Iran and Cuba back to the global fold is apparent. Trump doesn’t care much about what others think, for he firmly believes he can never be wrong. In the entire plethora of presidential candidates, he is probably best suited to christen Pakistan as a rogue nation and initiate its global isolation. Generally India has had it better with Republican administrations, and this would most likely continue under a Trump presidency. But again, a Trump presidency remains unlikely.
Why does a Donald Trump presidency remain unlikely?
To begin with, we cannot be sure if Trump is really leading. The sample size and demographics of the surveys which claim so might not correspond to the general trend at all. Media exaggeration might also be a factor. It is widely believed that though Hillary Clinton is the Democratic frontrunner, her lead over Bernie Sanders isn’t as huge as the media makes it out to be. Those whom the public depends on for information have their own interests unfortunately, not unlike back home. Apart from erroneous surveys, Donald Trump isn’t an establishment candidate. Funding might not be a problem for him, but organizational strength certainly is. This is the reason the ‘outsider’ candidates are never taken seriously. We will get a clearer picture after the primaries in New Hampshire and Iowa, the rest of the states usually fall like dominoes in favor of the person who wins these two states.
Now imagine if he makes it as the Republican candidate and is directly in a faceoff with Hillary. Will the silent majority that stands with him today (his supporters are referred to as the silent majority because nobody in the mainstream supports him) still choose this so-called madman over a suave woman from the corridors of Washington? The other disadvantage is that the entire narrative might have moved too much to the right for him to win over the undecided voters who usually decide the election’s outcome. But then again, he wasn’t considered a serious candidate sometime back. He has come a long way from there. As outlandish as it may seem, maybe he needs to keep going down the same path.
Which bring us to the questions: What really is this path? How and why does he continue to remain so popular?
Let us examine one of his proposals which made quite a splash: Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to enter the US. Instead of looking at this statement through the prism of political correctness, let us examine it purely on merit. The cause for what may seem like a childish outburst is of course the Islamic State, which is turning out to be a growing threat. For all of Mr. Trump’s claims of being a negotiator par excellence, barring Muslims from the country would be playing into the Islamic State’s hands. The IS is playing a much dirtier game than conventional terrorism. Its objective isn’t to disrupt the order of things. What it seeks to do is to polarize the world in a civilizational confrontation, much like Huntington’s theory. Trump’s proposal which would essentially eliminate all exchanges with the Muslim world, is an aid to that polarization. Furthermore, it is unlikely that Donald Trump actually believes this to be a measure to curb terrorism. Banning a particular religion would hardly be a hindrance to terrorists. If they were to carry out attacks on American soil, a fake non-Muslim identity is all they’d need. This proposal, much like Trump’s other ones, is devoid of any sense.
The mainstream media, the Democrats and every other leftist institution or personality have refused to examine ideas such as this rationally, choosing instead to dismiss them without further ado because of their political incorrectness. This lack of scrutiny is what has permitted Trump to remain the Republican frontrunner. What the left has failed to understand is that people respond to reason more than they do to random standards of somebody else’s conception of decency (political correctness in other words).
This is why the silent majority stands with Donald Trump. Some are ignorant about the demerits of his ideas but for most, it goes well beyond that. Terming Trump’s brand of politics as scaremongering or simplistic cogency is well off the mark and belittles its political genius. What he symbolizes is a breaking out from a pseudo shell created around people, beyond which reside ideas taboo to the so-called progressive mind. Brave men and women venturing out into that forbidden terrain and calling the bluff that is political correctness has become a rarity in world politics today. This is where the biggest hypocrisy of the liberal mind all around the world lies. The term ‘liberal’ now has a radically different, almost contradictory connotation from what it is meant to be, just like the term ‘secular’ in India. Liberalism today is a quest for freedom coupled with strict parameters of thinking and expression, and fundamentalist definitions of what phenomena like a progressive mind should be. People are tired of this hypocrisy, they seek to call a spade a spade.
Donald Trump is smart enough to know that as long as political correctness such as this exists, what he says will never really be looked into. He also knows how populist it is to break meaningless barriers. He’s cleverly exploiting this loophole to ride his way to the White House.
Whether he moves from the Trump Towers to the White House, only time will tell. I for one wouldn’t be surprised if there was a president D.J.Trump by this time next year. If there’s one thing we’ve learnt about him in the last few months, it is that it is plain foolish to underestimate the man.