Donald Trump’s candidacy for President of the United States has been an example of kamikaze politics.
Who in their right mind would run for President of the United States and alienate the Hispanics, the one group the Republicans need to get on board in order to win? According to the Washington Post Donald Trump is now doing worse with Hispanic voters than any Republican since 1996. Who would run for President of the United and disparage the service of a veteran and former prisoner of war, John McCain, who also happened to be his party’s nominee eight years ago?
The list is getting more bizarre by the day. Consider the way he talked about his dick in a presidential debate Or him attacking the parents of a US Muslim soldier killed in Iraq. Or his response to the gift of a Purple Heart, saying he always wanted to get one and this was “much easier” than serving in combat. Then this week, we saw him suggesting gun advocates could knock off Hillary Clinton and suggesting President Obama had created Islamic State.
So does Trump actually plan to win? Or does he plan to throw the election?
Damon Linker in The Week says Trump will do absolutely anything to avoid taking the blame for own failures and he couldn’t care less about the civically ruinous consequences.
Brent Budowsky in The Hill suggests that Trump originally decided to run to get some publicity for his business, or satisfy his ego, but never expected he had a real chance to win.
John Cassidy in the New Yorker has a more sobering conclusion.
“Let’s assume that what’s he’s really focussed on isn’t winning this year’s election, a task he realises is beyond him but creating a long term Trumpian movement,’’ says Cassidy. “A nationalistic, nativist, protectionist and authoritarian movement that will forever be associated with him, but which also has the capacity to survive beyond him. A movement that in some ways would resemble other right wing political parties around the world, such as France’s National Front, Austria’s Freedom Party and the UK Independence Party, but which would also hearken back to earlier moments in American history, such as the rise of the anti-immigrant Know Nothing movement of the eighteen-forties, and the formation, a century later of the isolationist America First Committee which sought a negotiated peace with Hitler.”
Now of course, Trump is likely to be too narcissistic and self-centred to be pushing that long term agenda.
But as Cassidy says, just imagine in four or eight years’ time that America is going through an economic and security crisis. It’s at times like that many Americans might start to feel that politicians have betrayed them and that drastic measures are needed. Healthy democracies don’t die overnight. But when they rot from within, termites like Trump have been eating away at the foundations.