GETTING READY FOR A TRUMP PRESIDENCY.
Only about six weeks remain for the November presidential elections, the days of Hillary Clinton’s lead in the polls reaching double figures is far behind. Her rival Donald Trump is not only catching up but threatening to leave her behind. Trump’s phalanx of the white American middle class is solidly behind him. Regardless of what the opponents have to say about him, or the charges they throw his way, his hold on his supporters is unshakeable. It goes so far that a volunteer making telephone calls for Mr. Trump at Republican headquarters in Phoenix, Dana Brest, says that Mr. Trump can change any policy and (still) have her vote (The Economist, September 3, 2016, p36). She is not alone in this respect. The majority of his supporters will go along with him no matter how many statements he changes or how many policy changes he makes. Conceivably they feel that he is making rings around his supporters. (Although it would seem unlikely on the face of it, he just might be doing that deliberately). In his build up for the Republican presidential nomination the media and his opponents and even the rest of the world thought that his outlandish remarks or boorish behavior as well as insults for his opponents and certain categories of people he would like to eject from the US or restrict their entry would get him down. It did not happen that way. He has gone from strength to strength aided to quite an extent by the mistrust people have for his opponent. As skeletons keep spilling out from the cupboard and Hillary’s sickness keeps manifesting itself in many ways Trump continues to gain on her. Even a few weeks ago it was thought that the election would be a rout. It just might transpire that Trump wins by a good margin.
As a US presidential candidate Trump is sui generis. There has never been a candidate like him in living memory, may be even earlier. He has been compared to Adolf Hitler, called a psychopath and much else. He has been opposed by some of the heaviest of the Republican heavies, for example the Bush family and so many others who have advised Republican voters to vote against him. He has literally torn apart the solid Republican establishment; no mean feat whichever way one looks at it. If anything all these have added to his stature for his supporters. Compared to the wilting Hillary many uncommitted voters have started feeling that whatever be his failings he will make a strong president who will not take any nonsense from anyone in the world. He will make America stronger.
Taking that the unthinkable might happen what would a Trump presidency look like should he make it to the White House. Very possibly he would throw several of his election pronouncements out of the White House windows, though not some of his cherished policies. Although Trump has carried his election rhetoric to the extreme most politicians campaigning for high office often make statements that they have no intention of sticking to once the goal is achieved. A modicum of rebalancing invariably takes place. And so it might be, or in all probability would be with Donald Trump. Not so with his pet policies of ejecting people who are residing illegally in the US and restricting Muslims and Mexicans from coming in. The latter requires elaboration because it is at the core of Trump’s rise to a near-unassailable position as one nears the countdown.
For a long time, in fact well over a century, America has been held up as the great welcome for all-comers. It was extolled around the world as a plural society with equal opportunity for all who landed at its shores to make a new life. After World War II things began to change. Non-white Europeans started coming in larger numbers till by the dawn of the 21st Century the latter category hugely outnumbered the white incomers. By then Hispanics had started entering at an ever-increasing rate with the result that Hispanic or Spanish became the predominant language in certain states like Florida. In the case of the Muslims 9/11 changed their acceptability in many parts of the world, notably Europe, USA and much of the Anglo-Saxon world. Few other earth-changing events in a manner of speaking started making the old WASP majority uneasy. The first was the advent of President Obama a black (as some were saying) into the White House. The second were the population projections for 2050 and beyond that showed that the Whites and the English language would at some stage be overtaken by other languages and people. Call him whatever names, the fact remains that Donald Trump has very ably tapped into these fears as no one else was prepared to do for reasons of political correctness or, more importantly, many thinking Americans felt that going down that route would polarize the US – some polarization having already taken place during the Obama presidency - and ultimately weaken it.
These self-same fears that Trump has tapped into for the White Americans in the US could very likely start playing out in Europe in the coming years. It would be worse in Europe because whereas the US was truly a plural society with all races in the world represented the post-war influx has almost invariably been single denominational, more so now where the mass of refugees pouring in are Muslims and the majority of them single Muslim men. Because of this single denomination influx ‘cohabitational incompatibility’ is manifesting itself in practically every country in Europe where Muslims are present in sizeable numbers. Terrorism also plays its part in a big way in these countries and elsewhere as well.
Having come this far it would behoove the world to start examining what a Trump presidency would look like immediately after take-over. First of all, every incumbent entering the White House whatever his make-up and past beliefs is overwhelmed by the vast responsibility that rests on his/her shoulders. More so when the other organs of state start making their presentations and bring out the pros and cons of most situations confronting the US and the world and the responsibility that the US carries to not shake the global boat at a time when the future of humanity is at stake. The world can rest assured that Trump as president will not rush headlong into withdrawing from NATO, withdrawing from all US commitments, setting aside painfully negotiated global protocols that prevent the world from blowing itself apart and much else. The advice of the Pentagon will have to be listened to by the president of the first power of the world. Trump may have been likened to Hitler and his white middle class supporters may be as mesmerized as the German nation was. The US is no Germany. The Judiciary, the Senate, the House and several other institutions as also its Constitution cannot be pushed aside by anyone, no matter how powerful the mandate of the incoming incumbent.
At the end of the day now that the end game is near the world in general and the Americans in particular should remove their rose-tinted glasses and start taking a fresh look at Donald Trump the way he may shape up, should he enter the White House.
New Delhi, September 18, 2016