So I noticed that The Great and the Good seems to be the only voice in politics — albeit very small — that is not wailing at full pitch about Donal Trump. Yes, that’s right, he’s now arrived on the blog like a sinister, childless man on Sports Day. We all knew it would happen, it was just a question of when. Please allow me — and Trump — the air time, wherein I shall try to lay out my view on Trump.
The man whom I think summed up Trump best was public intellectual Cornel West who stated on Real Time: With Bill Maher that Trump is a “multi-billionaire, pseudo-populist with autocratic sensibilities — and some fascist proclivities.” This summary seems pretty accurate to me. The word ‘fascist’ is thrown around a lot, but with official policies such as deporting eleven million immigrants, targeting and killing the relatives of terrorists and refusing all muslims from entering the US are, in principle, neo-fascistic and are certainly the most extreme right-wing policies in mainstream politics today. Despite this, I quite like Trump. I’ll tell you why; he’s an entertainer. He’s all show, a spectacle and I love it. Watching Trump talk is just good fun. Sure, the impreciseness of how he aims to enact his policies is a serious problem when it comes to the reality of implementation, but what other politicians out there say things like “we’ll take ‘em out” with regards to ISIS and “we will have so much winning if I get elected you may get bored with winning,” as well as “I guarantee you I will be never calling [Iran’s leader] the Supreme Leader… I’ll say, ‘Hey baby, how ya doing?’ I will never call him the Supreme Leader.” Surely this little snippet from one of Trump’s speeches is up there as one of the greatest political pieces of rhetoric ever:
“We’re going to win so much — win after win after win — [so much] that you’re going to be begging me: ‘Please, Mr. President, let us lose once or twice. We can’t stand it any more.’ And I’m going to say: ‘No way. We’re going to keep winning. We’re never going to lose. We’re never, ever going to lose.”
Trump is simply exciting, a voice standing out from the crowd. I’m not one of those people who respects him because he refuses to apologise as so many do, I personally find that a rather arsehole-ish trait. I don’t respect Trump, but I do find him funny. No one is going to convince me that that winning speech isn’t comedy gold. When Trump says things like “all I’m doing is telling the truth. Someone’s doing the raping. Who’s doing the raping? Who’s doing the raping?” to a news presenter or says that “Ariana Huffington is unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man – he made a good decision,” I’m reminded of one of Sasha Baron Cohen’s many crude and scandalous characters. I’m taken back to the cringe-worthy interviews Cohen would do on American television in the guise of one of his characters for publicity purposes. He’d say the most outrageous things, almost daring the producer to cut transmission. Cohen’s next film should be called “Trump,” about a mentalist who takes America by storm by inflaming peoples’ more extremists sides. Cohen wouldn’t have to do any work, he’d just recycle footage of Trump on his campaign trail.
I don’t actually think that Trump is a mentalist in retrospect, he is pragmatic and relatively intelligent. He’s no fool, he knows exactly what he’s doing. And it’s worth noting that some of his policies stand out noticeably in the race for Republican Presidential candidacy, such as saving Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security without cutting benefits, making medical marijuana widely available to patients and allowing states to decide if they want to fully legalise pot or not. He wants to fix the background check system used when purchasing guns, provide more funding for police training and provide more funding for addiction treatment, especially for heroin addicts. You may say ‘well he’ll never implement those policies,’ but that’s beside the point, the reality is that those policies are in his pledge. This is why people shouldn’t just write off Trump, because other candidates in the race have some policies that are far more dangerous. Rand Paul wants a flat tax, Ben Carson wants to reverse marriage equality and Mike Huckabee has sinisterly suggested using the armed forces to stop abortions. Seriously, when he was asked about using the army or the FBI to enforce this policy, he replied, “We’ll see if I get to be president.” That is a serious WTF moment. Let’s get a sense of perspective here. Mike Huckabee is by far the most dangerous, disgusting and borderline evil candidate in the GOP. He makes Trump look like a kind old lady.
I also struggle to see how Ben Carson has been less inflammatory than Trump when it comes to saying stupid things. Carson has said that women who get abortions are like slaveholders, Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery, ‘Hitler’ could happen in the US today (whatever that means), Jews could have prevented the holocaust if they’d had guns (whatever that means, like I’m pretty guns were available to people in Eastern Europe in the 1930s and 40s, but when the small pockets of Jewish resistance were met by the full force of the Waffen-SS they were quite understandably outmatched), he’s also stated that college campuses should be monitored for liberal speeches being delivered, said that there’s no such thing as a war crime and has said being gay is a choice because ‘prison turns people gay.’
My point is this, don’t direct all your contempt, hatred, disgust and anger at Trump, because the reality is that all of the GOP candidates are as bad as each other. At least Trump has some good policies and is entertaining. Trump is theatre, he’s loud, large and literally orange. I was in America for two weeks in August, eighteen months before the election and he was on the news every single night. He’s just appealing to watch, like an offensive comedian or a horror movie. Now I know what many’ll say to this, that he isn’t a comedian and that what he says is very real and could be implemented and that the terrible things he says get the loudest cheers at Republican debates. Whilst this is true, it’s worth remembering that Trump is causing havoc amongst Republicans who are at a loss at what to do.
What will happen if the Americans are presented the choice of Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump does not bear thinking about, but that is where things seem to going. One thing can be seen very clearly from the fact that the two leading candidates are Trump and Sanders at time of writing this (Bat muses hopefully) -is that both men are at least superficially antiestablishment. Similar to the Corbyn moment in the UK, people are venting their rage at the machine by voting for candidates that make the homogeneous drones who run our respective countries freak out. Another similarity between Trump and Bernie is their funding, which is not coming from bogus Super PAC’s or lobbyists. Jeb Bush has a $60 million Super PAC, Marco Rubio has $33 million from just two outside groups, the money in US politics really is outrageous. But neither Trump nor Sanders can be bought, their money is their own. Here however, is the twist. Because despite Trump and Sanders sharing these two very good things — being a bit anti-establishment and not having Super PACs — Sanders trumps Trump. Donald Trump is about as establishment as it gets. The way he manages to appeal to the labourer, to the working class, to those who see him as a champion of the people is the reason I get angry with Trump. The stupid comments are trivial and humorous, but Trumps’ acting like a pseudo-everyman, out to rage against the machine alongside the people is just duplicitous and exploitative. Trump is no more anti-establishment than the Department of Homeland Security. Trump is also funding his own campaign with his own millions, figures of $2 million dollars a week have been floated, so the money in politics is still an issue that Trump is no great example of having defeated. Neither is Bernie at face value as he too has spent a lot on his campaign — as one must if one hopes to get any points at all in opinion polls — but at least he’s gone about changing things before he’s even started. Bernie Sanders broke fundraising records with 88% of his $40 million raised coming from small donation, with none coming from Super PAC’s. Despite the fact that these two men can make these two claims, only Sanders can back it up.
Sanders has his faults and were he to become nominated it would mean trouble — think Corbyn but on a scale around a million times larger — but why not just do what I do, kick back, relax and enjoy the whole thing for the circus it is. No one knows what will happen in November, things have a way of working out, and hey, if they don’t, praise the lord if you’re American. Under Trumps tax plan earners of under $25,000 pay no tax at all. Though they will — and I’m not making this up — have to file a one-page form with the IRS that officially states: “I win.”