In the UK, there has been unprecedented interest in the American election and the reason for this is undoubtedly Donald Trump. Trump is often called a 'fascist' in Europe, but surely such a description is unfair to fascists, as they at least have a consistent and coherent ideology? Trump will say anything and everything and flip-flop on the subject within a matter of hours and perhaps a few hours later even flip-flop on the flip-flop if the mood takes him. Trump has no policies, no ideologies, just a thirst for power and the admiration of others. He is a media fixated populist, but unlike many of his type, there doesn't seem to be one policy that can't be abandoned given an opportune interview and enough wriggle room to change his mind at the next media appearance if he deems it necessary.
Trump like those populists in Latin America and Europe appeals to those whose advocates call disenfranchised and voiceless though whose detractors prefer the terms, embittered and self-absorbent. Either way, throughout the developed world, the stereotype is well known of alienated folk of the 'squeezed middle' who have had enough of the status quo and want a leader who will be their shining knight on a white charger and will make their country great again. This would be rescuer is big on charisma, outspokenness and saying the things no other politician dares to say (usually with good reason) and becomes an anti-hero; a rock star or reality TV idol for people who should be well past the rebellious stage.
You can get very far with this shtick, but you can't win in 99 scenarios out of 100. There is always more people who will vote for anyone, literally anyone who can stop you, than those voting for you. This is always because the populist promises things that enchant the alienated faithful but repulse the majority of the voting public so that the anti-Trump ticket is the hottest one in America. This would be so for most populists who say things that outrage the majority in order captivate their own supporters, but the additional problem with Trump is the uncertainty over what his policies exactly will be except the mere sketches he offers in that direction sound disastrous enough without the fine details of how it will all exactly work which usually sink policies in British elections.
The ironic thing about the 2016 election is that the most likely beneficiary from Trump's unlikeliness to hold office is Hilary Clinton who without Trump might be very unlikely to win office herself. She is currently being investigated by the FBI after conducting governmental business on a private server which as John R. Schindler notes, could have and likely was intercepted by foreign intelligence services. Hilary says that talk of her being prosecuted over this matter is "fantasy" but the Sunday Times reported that Hilary will be interviewed by the FBI over the matter soon and that FBI director James Comey has threatened to resign if in the instance of him recommending a prosecution and it being refused by the White House.
The article goes on to state that the Obama administration fear that such a resignation would lead to Trump winning, and yes, normally such an inability to follow basic protocol in the way Hilary has been accused of doing, would preclude someone from being considered competent enough to hold a drinking session in a brewery let alone president. In a race with Donald Trump who would probably set the brewery on fire in this scenario though, even a candidate under FBI investigation may win.
This is if of course Trump wins the Republican nomination in the first place. Currently according to Nate Silver, Trump is on course to win under 1,237 delegates in the Republican race which means there would be contested convention in which all the delegates after one vote would be free to horse-trade and haggle over the final nominee and the despite Trump being the front runner he may not necessarily win. The #NeverTrump movement has been gaining strength rapidly in Republican circles with notable thinkers in the party and on the American right such as Rick Wilson, Max Boot and Tom Nichols being in the vanguard of making the case for anyone but Trump being the Republican candidate with names such as Trumps main rival Ted Cruz, 2012 VP candidate and house speaker, Paul Ryan and military hero James Mattis being mentioned.
The idea of President Trump frightens people but such a scenario is unlikely for the reason Trump stands for nothing except Trump. There is only so far a cult of personality with no concrete foundations can get in any stable democracy and come November 8th he will likely be found out.
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