I know you don’t want to believe it. Last June, it all seemed like a great joke to go along with the Sepp Blatter professions of innocence, but it’s happening. Donald Trump is the leading Republican nominee, having won eighteen out of the twenty four Republican state contests so far, including a near sweep of the Super Tuesday primaries. The Republican’s losing 2012 candidate Mitt Romney has emerged from his Mormon money cocoon to heavily criticise him, though he was notably less critical in 2012 when accepting Trump’s endorsement and cash, even praising his economic plans.
Trump began his campaign in June 2015 in Trump Towers, Manhattan. He descended into the huge golden lobby on an escalator to crowds of what later turned out to be mostly out of work actors hired for a couple of hours to hold “Make America Great Again” banners and cheer loudly at Trump’s every utterance. There, he loudly declared his belief that “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best (…) They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.“ From such a ridiculous start many wrote him off out of hand. The common consensus seemed to be that he was merely launching the campaign to drum up interest in the new series of Celebrity Apprentice (he has since been fired), or to publicize his book (which he does constantly in his speeches).
Trump’s continued and indeed, increasing popularity seems to be down to a number of factors, including a malaise towards the same-old political practices in the US among a large section of the population – “the silent majority” – concerning the political elite of which Hillary Clinton and former Republican candidate Jeb Bush epitomize. These people see themselves as disconnected from their government, unable to make their voices heard through traditional candidates. They see Trump’s unprepared two hour long rambling speeches and ability to just say whatever comes into his head as fresh and endearing.[pullquote] The US has been on the decline for a while now. Mismanagement of the economy and the environment are causing huge damage and it’s the poorest who are most affected. They see little promise of times getting better if they elect just another career politician.[/pullquote]
The fact that he has constantly changed his position on almost every issue means little to these mostly working and lower middle class supporters. They want a President who will kick ass and solve problems quickly, not one who will negotiate and initiate long term plans to deal with the US’s real, deep systemic problems when it comes to race, immigration and a crumbling public infrastructure. That’s not hard to understand. The US has been on the decline for a while now. Mismanagement of the economy and the environment are causing huge damage and it’s the poorest who are most affected. They see little promise of times getting better if they elect just another career politician.
Trump has also been helped by an incredibly underwhelming collection of opponents in the Republican nomination race. Jeb Bush was the only recognizable name to most of us outside the US and indeed, inside the US also. The formerly well respected Governor of Florida was shown to be an absolute bore – or worse than that – an entitled bore, who dropped out without anyone really noticing despite spending $30 million on his campaign.
Ben Carson, the frankly hard to understand and gaffe prone surgeon, dropped out a few weeks ago. Carson was also the only candidate who ever led Trump in the polls, if only for a brief time. Cruz and Rubio both sound like mad men of the highest order. They are just less loud about the ideas which they have “borrowed” from Trump, than Trump himself. Rubio (apparently the GOP establishment’s favoured candidate before suspending his candidacy on Tuesday) recently took an incredibly childish jab at the size of Trump’s “hands” bringing the tone of the whole process down to a new low.[pullquote]Still, there’s no way he’ll get elected right? Up against Hillary and her campaign war chest of over $180 million so far, and her extensive experience as Secretary of State and as a Senator for New York? From an outsider’s perspective, Trump seems to stand little chance.[/pullquote]
Still, there’s no way he’ll get elected right? Up against Hillary and her campaign war chest of over $180 million so far, and her extensive experience as Secretary of State and as a Senator for New York? From an outsider’s perspective, Trump seems to stand little chance. And even if he did get elected he’d never be able to accomplish all those crazy things he says he wants to do. Well, that’s what everyone wants to believe.
Conventional wisdom is that all Trump supporters are racist old white people. Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have branded him a racist due to his comments on illegal immigrants, Mexicans and Muslims. However, polls show that 40% of black, 45% of Hispanic and 19% of Asian Republican voters are behind him. And with Ben Carson (with the largest share of the black vote) now out of the campaign, and Rubio (holder of the largest share of the Hispanic vote) out as of yesterday, these figures will only increase.
It’s not just the minority votes either. Numbers released by Quinnipiac University show that should Trump end up meeting Clinton in the presidential election, 60% of 18-34 year olds would choose Trump. However, it should be noted that the opposite would occur if Bernie Sanders emerges victorious from the Democratic nominations.
So, I imagine you’re asking yourself, how is this possible? How could otherwise rational human beings vote for a man who thought 2006 was the year to get into offering mortgages?
Firstly, his plan for immigration reform reads more like a job creation strategy than anything else. Specifically, a job creation strategy for poor people.
Indeed, the annual cost of free tax credits alone paid to illegal immigrants quadrupled to $4.2 billion in 2011. The effects on jobseekers have also been disastrous, and black Americans have been particularly harmed.
Jobs program for inner city youth. The J-1 visa jobs program for foreign youth will be terminated and replaced with a resume bank for inner city youth provided to all corporate subscribers to the J-1 visa program.
It also mentions the H-1B visa program which allows STEM (Science, technology, engineering and math) companies to hire in foreign workers at a lower wage, effectively pricing American graduates out of the market in highly skilled but still entry level jobs.
Requirement to hire American workers first. Too many visas, like the H-1B, have no such requirement. In the year 2015, with 92 million Americans outside the workforce and incomes collapsing, we need companies to hire from the domestic pool of unemployed. Petitions for workers should be mailed to the unemployment office, not USCIS.
Now, of course Trump’s plan to force illegal immigrants out of the country is preposterous, right? He could never get that past congress and the senate? Wrong. He just has to enforce the laws that are currently on the books and repeal Obama’s DACA initiative. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be an utterly despicable act, but as far as the law and the constitution goes Trump’s plan is already the law. He’s planning on tripling the number of Immigration Control agents and expanding the detention camps the US already has.[pullquote]With Ben Carson (with the largest share of the black vote) now out of the campaign, and Rubio (holder of the largest share of the Hispanic vote) out as of yesterday, support for Trump will only increase.[/pullquote]
His plan to build a border wall with Mexico and have Mexico pay for it is usually held up as his most ridiculous policy. After all, even if President Trump started building the wall (it’ll be yuuuuge and classy) why would Mexico give anything towards it? Except he’s not planning to get the funds from the Mexican government. Rather, he would seize the remittance payments from illegal workers in the US to their families in Mexico. This isn’t pocket change either – an estimated $25 Billion was sent back to Mexico in the form of remittances in 2015, almost entirely from the US. This surpassed the amount of money the Mexican government received in oil revenues last year. Coincidentally, this is also what it is estimated the wall would cost to construct.
Using a piece of legislation called the International Emergency Economic Powers Act Trump can quite freely declare that someone or something of international origin poses a threat to the safety of the US economy. After making such a declaration, he is free to block or seize such assets. He doesn’t even need approval from congress to do it.[pullquote]Using a piece of legislation called the International Emergency Economic Powers Act Trump can quite freely declare that someone or something of international origin poses a threat to the safety of the US economy.[/pullquote]
Currently, Trump has 621 of the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the nomination out right, with Cruz coming in second with 396 and Kasich a distant third with 138. With over half the states left to vote and a number of larger states using a winner-takes-all approach rather than the proportional allocation of delegates which we have seen so far, Trump is in an extremely strong position to win the nomination outright.
When you take all of this into account, a Trump victory seems scarily possible. Probable, even. We can laugh at his bizarre hair and outrageous statements all we want but at the end of the day it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference what we do. So get ready ladies and gentlemen, this time next year we could well be getting used to the amazing, classy, just incredible presidency of Donald Trump.