The world can’t stop talking about Donald Trump. Neither can high profile members of the political party he represents as the Republican presidential candidate. But, what many Republican politicians have to say has to be troubling not just to Americans but also to nations that have dealings with the most powerful military and economic force on the planet.
Thus, nations that do not have a vote in America’s decision in November still feel invested.
Trump, the son of a wealthy real estate developer, has run a campaign like none in recent memory. He has managed in his rhetoric to stir up racial animosity in speeches filled with fear mongering about Muslims, Mexicans and immigrants. He has painted America as a failed state which only he can save.
Mainstream Republicans have been lining up to denounce Trump’s presidential bid and distance themselves from him. Many have publicly denounced his unending stream of inflammatory statements as “abrasive Know-Nothing nativist rhetoric”. And many have said they would, for the first time in their lives, vote Democrat – for Hillary Clinton.
Trump’s fear mongering has appalled the Republican Party and has left him trailing behind Clinton. Clinton made history by being the first woman of a major U.S. political party nominated for president. Yet, its Trump’s behaviour that makes the headlines.
Despite that, or rather because of it, he has the support of millions of American voters who feel disenfranchised from the promise of the American dream. This is no small matter.
Something has gone wrong with an economy that continues to leave behind a significant portion of its workforce. Many of them blame the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Further, the economic catastrophe that had its genesis in the banking meltdown of 2008 and crippling debt that arose from military actions in Afghanistan and then Iraq landed the U.S. in a period of crisis.
The herculean effort by the Barack Obama administration to right the ship has brought some recovery, but clearly there has not been enough recovery to answer the level of insecurity still facing those Americans who have seen their middle class incomes and the jobs that brought those incomes disappear, with no sign of returning.
Trump’s recent speech laying out his economic policy platform reveals that he would further cut taxes, give more free rein to corporations through deregulation and kill the national health insurance program commonly called Obamacare. It would effectively be an economic plan for the rich and could bankrupt the government. How would that help the unemployed and underemployed among Trump supporters?
Ottawa must be taking note since Trump also promises to rework the NAFTA to keep jobs in America. He would invite TransCanada to re-enter negotiations of the Keystone XL pipeline. And, he has talked of being willing to take the U.S. out of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) of which Canada is a member.
The other factor that has given Trump his numbers is race. Support for Trump among the sector of White males who are, to borrow Trump’s words, among “the poorly educated” is significant.
White America is divided over the ongoing racial shift in America’s makeup, the browning of America. Trump supporters want to reverse this change and take comfort in promises to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. That is not going to happen, thus the growing panic.
There are still more than two months to go before Americans go to the polls on November 8.
We predict that during this campaign season, things are going to become much more heated before this is all over.