This article was published in the Winter 2015 edition of Der Parvenu. 

Donald Trump_Kal Vorkaz_Flickr

June 15th, 2015. As Trump’s glittering yellow hair exited the stage set in the reception hall of the Trump Tower in NYC, everyone knew something special had happened. The controversial business Moghul had just officially announced his candidacy for the Republican investiture, while bluntly accusing Mexico of intentionally sending rapists, gangs, and thieves to the USA illegally in order to “kill” the US economy. Five minutes into his speech, and it was clear that the 2016 presidential elections would be different from most, as the multibillionaire crashed into the subtleties of US politics, ripping the “politically-correct” apart with simple, blunt, and unrefined rhetoric.

Since then, he has risen in the polls, and leads his “opponents” (as he likes to call other candidates) by at least 3 points in every poll since October 2nd [1] [2]. The only other one who can seem to beat him is Hillary Clinton, and not by far.

At first, I thought that he was a joke. A son of “economic migrants”, as his Scottish mother and German grandparents would be called today, he has “unknowingly” employed dozens of non-documented Polish immigrants on the worksite of his eponymous tower in Manhattan, which is also allegedly made of concrete provided by Italian crime lords[3].

His rants on illegal immigration bringing crime and insecurity seem to contradict this troubled past. His main project, the building of a “big” wall between Mexico and the US, which would be paid for by the Mexican state looks like nothing more than an imaginative way to cover up his racism; his plan on dealing with IS by bombing Iraqi oil fields demonstrates quite clearly the nonexistence of any kind of analysis in foreign affairs.

And it’s not sure that he’ll be elected. Because he has signed the GOP Pledge, he won’t be able to run as an independent if he loses the Republican primaries. If he gets the investiture, he’ll quite probably be beaten by Clinton- if she wins the Democrat primaries. His only chance is that the Democrats will choose a more controversial candidate during their primaries (ie. Sanders, whose view on capitalism scares many Americans, both left and right).

But I think that Trump must be taken quite seriously. Not because he might win, but because he’s the latest and most putrid symptom of an illness which has gripped American politics for far too long. Like an infection which spreads out to the rest of the body, Trump casts light upon problems which have been denounced by scholars and Europeans for quite a long time, but never dealt with.

Trump plays the card of fear (quite like the Front National, in some ways). Fear of immigration, fear of economic stagnation, fear of China. These fears are caused by ignorance: if you assume that most Mexicans are rapists and thieves, you probably don’t know many Mexicans; if you think that they steal your jobs, then you probably ignore the roots of economic crisis and stagnation. Thus, the lack of a good education is perhaps one of the main causes of Trump’s success (which probably explains why he attacks the 2013 common core initiative, which bettered the educational standards for high schools on national level).

Trump also criticizes the Super-PAC funding system, as every campaign raises the bar higher when it comes to corrupting democracy. As 158 families have provided half of all campaign funds[4], and 48% of the funds have been issued by Super-PAC’s[5] (who have unlimited funding, unlimited power), more and more citizens feel like their vote counts less than their fortune. Trump has decided to shrug off Super-PACs and relies on his own fortune, but also on donations of %200 or less made by private individuals like you and me. In fact, 72% of his campaign has been paid for by these donations (compared to Sander’s 88% or Clinton’s 20%, it’s not a bad figure at all[6]). The American funding system is deeply flawed, and Trump knows it: as an outsider, he can claim that he’s more independent and corruption-proof, which makes a huge difference in the polls.

Trump_2016_wikipedia

But Trump’s success may also be explained by his charisma- that of an invincible entrepreneur. A bald eagle with blond hair, Trump loves to boast the success he’s had building up his financial imperium. He has outwitted the wittiest negotiators, fixed the most uncompetitive companies, and given jobs to many thankful, enthusiastic “Trumployees”. So why wouldn’t he be able to outsmart Iranian diplomats, fix the American social system and give jobs to many desperate voters? Many Americans trust him to do right that. They trust him to maximize, optimize and fertilize every single inch and ounce of ‘Murrica- and of the world. Today, it’s quite clear that politicians are better businessmen than they are thinkers. Business has gnawed away at ethics. But if Trump gets elected as POTUS (President of the United States), you can be quite sure that ethics will simply disappear from the political game. Trump doesn’t do politics, he does business and profit. He’d become America’s first CEO. And this is exactly what’s wrong with American politics: they have let themselves be eaten up and swallowed by hungry stockholders.

Only once our American friends realize that the world is not a company, that you cannot apply microeconomics to macroeconomics, and that a government is not a directory, will they be able to elect the President they deserve. This is a flaw deeply rooted in American culture, a weird form of the Stockholm syndrome: Americans love those who’ll show their worst weaknesses. And Trump makes it clear that a reform of media, education and politics is necessary. Only by changing those things will you “make America great again”, Mr. Trump. And I wish you a hell of a good luck for that.

[1] A Wikipedia page futures all polls on that matter, and enables readers to compare results quite effectively: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationwide_opinion_polling_for_the_United_States_presidential_election,_2016. It will be used as a reference in this article, unless stated otherwise.
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationwide_opinion_polling_for_the_Republican_Party_2016_presidential_primaries
[3] Article by investigative reporter D.C. Johnston (http://www.nationalmemo.com/21-questions-for-donald-trump/)
[4] http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/11/us/politics/wealthy-families-presidential-candidates.html#donors-list
[5] http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/elections/election-2016-campaign-money-race.html
[6] http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/elections/election-2016-campaign-money-race.html

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