THE BLOG

Trump - The Worst of Democracy?

17/03/2016 14:21 GMT | Updated 18/03/2017 09:12 GMT

Donald Trump's political success is probably one the worst things that has happened to democracy in recent history.

He has set out a set of proposals that would shame many of the world's dictators - the building of a wall to keep Mexicans out of the US and make the Mexicans pay for it- the banning of all Muslims from entering the USA - the torture of suspected terrorists and the killing of their families.

He vowed to work with that other great democrat - Russia's Vladimir Putin - to wipe out common enemies - he would get rid of gun free zones in schools - to deport up to 11 million illegal immigrants from the US. Not to mention the worryingly jingoistic rhetoric with promises to 'start winning gain': to 'bring back the American dream' and 'make America great again'.

In fairness though - he has promised not to kill journalists - even though he admits to hating some of them.

Not all of his promises are this damaging or worrying for the rest of the world as these - but it is that these types of promises that rightly overshadow the more reasonable ones because they he either means to keep them - which would cause great harm to a lot of people - or perhaps, worse still for democracy - he just makes outrages promises which encourage hatred and resentment by his supporters - promises he has no intention of keeping - just to get elected.

It is a reality that he is the front runner for the Republican Party nomination to stand for election for the US Presidency - but that does not make him any more reasonable or any less bad for the US and its allies and the rest of the world.

One aspect of his character that does rival his propensity to make dangerous promises is his attitude towards the violence used by his supporters. He has called for his supporters to 'knock the crap' out of protesters at his rallies and offered to pay the legal expenses for one of his supporters who did carry out an assault on one protester who posed no threat to him - or anyone at that point.

The Trump supporter who assaulted the peaceful protester went on to say he 'might have to kill him the next time they see him'.

Trump has warned of riots if he does not become the Republican nominee - and warned Democrat Bernie Sanders that Trump supporters might go to his rallies. More gangland than democratic.

Trump's success so far is as part of a democratic process and in that sense it is as valid as anyone else who receives sufficient votes - but it is none the less a sign that democracy is a deeply floored process that sometimes brings out the worst in a system or country. Democracy reflects human nature - the worst of it and the best of it.

Mr Trump has boasted that he could 'shoot someone' and still not lose a vote and he may be right. His combination of encouraging xenophobia - blaming foreigners for all the problems - and simply just saying what comes into his mind is clearly bringing him some success.

Like UKIP in the UK - Trump looks to engage the support of those who get least from the current system - the ones who don't feel they have a voice. He promises to change everything for them and provides someone for them to blame. They in turn blindly accept (or hope) that he really will be on their side and that unlike every politician that has ever stood for office will deliver as much as they hope when he is in office. For that they will forgive him almost anything.

Perhaps in his case his success so far is the result of the failure of other promises made to those with the least - it seems to me that Americans are constantly promised the 'American dream' - that one day all will come good for them. It seems they may be getting desperate now.