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The spectre of Trump presidency

  By Vijay Darda | 11-05-2016

True, the American presidential election is still some months away. But the Republicans who will challenge the ultimate Democratic nominee (former secretary of state Hillary Clinton in all probability, barring some unexpected happening) are badly divided over their presumptive nominee Donald Trump.

Lest it be forgotten we should remember that when Trump entered the field of 17 candidates for the primaries, he had a very low popular rating and was not given much of a chance by the Republican pundits themselves. The fact that he has almost clinched the Republican nomination as the others have dropped out of the race, tells us that he is capable of springing surprises. So, let us not be too sanguine and completely rule out the possibility of finding that come November and Trump is the next resident of the White House. Besides, for many Republicans, the urge to defeat the Democratic nominee and ensure that the White House does not belong to the rival party can be an overpowering and unifying factor.

It is for this reason that not just the Americans but the people all over the globe need to be aware of the horrors a Trump presidency has in store for us all. Indeed, we as Indians have too much at stake in the American policies as these impact our daily lives, and let us also remember that all that we have been hearing from Trump is hardly reassuring. The Indian diaspora in the United States is too strong to be ignored, and they have a role to play in the “No, Trump, never’ campaign.

The problem with Trump is not just that his views on immigrants, women, trade relations, NATO or China run contrary to those of the American establishment, the brutal fact is that everything Trump represents –brashness, ego, a disregard for the rules goes against the American ethos that has made it the powerful country that it is. As David Brooks, a New York Times columnist, wrote: “Donald Trump is epically unprepared to be president. He has no realistic policies, no advisers, no capacity to learn. His vast narcissism makes him a closed fortress. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and he’s uninterested in finding out. He insults the office Abraham Lincoln once occupied by running for it with less preparation than most of us would undertake to buy a sofa.”

But his ‘irresponsible demagoguery ‘has got him votes, and howsoever hoarse the Republican party bosses may cry now, they have to deal with him. A sign of this compulsion is a meeting that has been set up between House speaker Paul Ryan and Trump later this week, after Ryan refused to endorse the demagogue’s candidature. Ryan is the highest elected Republican official, and would be third in line for succession after the vice-president should such an eventuality arise. But at this stage, the two sides have apparently irreconcilable differences. Ryan‘s expectations are contained in a one-liner:” We hope that our nominee aspires to be Lincoln- and Reagan-esque, and that person advances the principles of our party and appeals to a wide, vast majority of Americans.” But Trump is equally firm. He says: “I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan’s agenda. Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people.”

For the Republicans the worry is not just the larger in-electability of the billionaire maverick turned politician who claims that he shall ‘stop the gravy train that feeds all career politicians,’ but also the adverse impact an association with him will have on their own chances in the senate and other races. This in part explains their reasons for not supporting him or making it clear that they do not endorse him. It is more political than personal.

The fact of the matter is that the fate of a presidential contest is no longer determined only by the white conservative American males and there are a whole lot of other groups-women, blacks, Hispanics, the migrants who influence the outcome in diverse ways. Trump becomes a horror show by denouncing all these groups. In a world that this increasingly threatened by the menace of the ISIS, he has an anti-Muslim attitude that compares pretty unfavourably with the response one has seen from the largely cosmopolitan London that has elected a Muslim mayor Sadiq Khan as a candidate of the Labour party. An American president who does not understand these nuances of global demographics and voices opinions without being sensitive to such concerns has to be an unmitigated disaster for a globe that needs the healing touch.

This is not to argue that no one should criticise the past American presidents or their approach to the global problems. Neither can it be anyone’s case that the domestic American policies do not need any recalibration. But this is to suggest that Trump’s prescriptions whether it is the building of a wall on the border to bar the Mexicans from coming in, or the views he holds on women and NATO are a disaster. Indeed, as an American commentator suggested the only difference between his policies is that they lead to ‘death either by poison or by bullet.’

Eight years ago when Hillary Clinton had entered the presidential race, there was an impression that America was not prepared to have a “lady” president. But then the people did themselves proud by going ahead on electing a black American president. Without doubt president Barack Obama has provided inspirational leadership in the last eight years and has become a role model for millions around the globe. The same American people would let themselves down miserably should they pick an insensitive brash demagogue instead of a lady with proven abilities. Both as a lady and as an elected functionary Hillary Clinton has performed admirably well. It is time for the Americans to acknowledge that and support her presidential bid in full measure. One shudders to think as to what would follow should this not happen in November.

Before I conclude…

From all quarters, we are getting to know that the loans of the huge corporates are being restructured. This restructuring is a euphemism for allowing the defaulters more time and in many cases liberal terms to repay their outstanding dues. As someone from the backward district of Yavatmal, who is a daily witness to the plight of the farmers groaning under the burden of their debts, I wish that the same facility and comfort could be extended to them. Their outstandings are not even peanuts when compared to the loans of these giant corporates, and the farmers in the entire country would be relieved of much of the strain if the same accommodation is to shown them. Perhaps, it is a matter of the right attitude, and sharing the plight of the poor and under-privileged…


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