‘George W. Bush made a mistake. We can make mistakes. But that one was a beauty. We should have never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East. […] They lied, they said there were weapons of mass destruction and there were none. And they knew there were none.” [Quote source]
This is a quote from a Republican Presidential Debate in 2016. What a time to be alive. And as much as it would annoy all the progressives and liberals to give credit where credit is due, Donald Trump makes a valid point. The Iraq War was a disastrous endeavour, the repercussions arising today in the form of a certain group of crazed desert marauders named the Islamic State. Furthermore, Trump did criticize the war all the way back in 2004, a few months after the invasion. And out of the once burgeoning number of Republican candidates, he also was the only one to have the guts to say that out loud, that too in the heartland of American conservatism and backwards thinking – South Carolina.
And to continue to defy every odd and break every rule of the US political institution, he would go on to win the South Carolina primary, beating his opponents down with such merciless candour that a weeping Jeb Bush would have to drop out of the race in the state that was supposed to be a stronghold of the Bush dynasty. It was hard not to feel for Jeb, the victim of a vicious (for lack of a better word) “trolling” campaign by Trump. From being called “low energy” to being told that maybe his mother should be running for president instead of him, Jeb never really had a chance. Maybe Trump did us a favour. Another Bush in the White House is an unappetizing thought to say the least.
Donald Trump has been the major talking point during this election cycle, single-handedly driving up CNN’s ratings and blasting through the competition with his reality-show bombast. In fact, it’s fair to say that the entire election process is just that, a reality show. A few notable titles could include “Keeping Up with Ted Cruz,” “The Real Housewives of Bill Clinton,” “Two Bushes and Counting,” “Is Ben Carson Smarter Than a 5th Grader,” “Celebrity Apprentice,” etc. CNN executives, take note. I half expect Trump to turn to John Kasich in the next debate and say his trademark, “You’re fired.” Lets face it, if he doesn’t, the polls probably will.
But all jokes aside, there is a very real reason why Trump is doing so well. It’s not because he is a fascist, I think there could be arguments made as to why he is not even actually a fascist. Yes, he does say some very fascist things (All Muslims should be barred from immigrating to the States, for example) and Noam Chomsky did compare him to Hitler recently. The real complication arises from the fact that Trump is not a career politician, we have no idea what any real substantive policies will look like with the real-estate mogul as Commander in Chief. Is he actually going to build a wall along the entire border of Mexico? Maybe. I don’t think it’ll pass as it is a gross waste of public funds. Is Mexico actually going to pay for it? No. Trump says a lot of things, some very outlandish and some to his credit, surprisingly progressive. He has been attacked for funding politicians from both parties (to which he retorted Ted Cruz by saying he funds him too).
Trump is a populist. He is an entertainer, and he knows how to appeal to people. And while it’s easy to laugh along to the train-wreck political spectacles, it’s also getting to the point where one must start taking him seriously. Chris Christie months ago claimed Trump didn’t have the mettle to keep up his candidacy. This week, Christie is no longer in the race, and he has publicly endorsed Donald Trump for the presidency. Trump is obviously doing something right.
Trump has done so effectively exactly what Bernie Sanders has done, despite being polar opposites on the political spectrum. While Sanders has styled himself as the anti-institution figure of the left, a Jeremy Corbyn-lite if you will (and yes, lite, the American left is never particularly left), Trump has arisen to his throne as the Republican front-runner by doing the same thing. He is an outsider to the institution, a business mogul and not a career politician, particularly appealing to the disadvantaged and frustrated in the conservative sphere of this country. And it just so turns out that that particular demographic is horribly xenophobic and bigoted. What can you do, such is democracy. But hey, perhaps, a majority of voters are not like that, and we won’t have to deal with him in office. For now, here is a playlist of Youtube videos with Trump highlights. As it turns out, at least thus far, you really can’t stump the Trump.