By Raffique Shah
May 18, 2016
He won’t be the first fool to occupy the highest office in the most powerful country on earth. Nor will he be the stupidest president ever.
Bear in mind that if he does make it to the White House, and there is a high probability of this happening, it would be with the support of some 50-to-60 million American voters.
They will be mostly white, spread across the income-divide, many poor-ass trailer dwellers whose living conditions are worse than those of the refugees who have been flooding Europe, and who swear that America’s real problem is immigration, legal and illegal.
They will also include millions of middle-income Americans who believe that they are worse off than their West European counterparts who enjoy superior standards of living and retirement benefits, for which they blame not their wild consumerism and aversion to saving for their twilight years, but-who else?-immigrants.
And you’d better believe that among Trump’s scapegoat-immigrants and other minorities, there are fools who believe that by deporting or down-pressing their own or those who aspire to live the American dream, they will secure their own existence, however miserable that may be.
Looking from afar at democracy at work in the superpower-nation that imposes it on others, often by brute force, we might want to believe that American voters are at least discerning, if not sophisticated, and that every four years they will elect the most intelligent candidate who has a vision to take the country to higher heights.
If anyone suggests, as many had when Trump announced his candidacy, that a lying, ignorant, bigoted buffoon could become a contender for president, we’d laugh at them.
But it has happened before and it will happen again, only that we choose to forget history.
Ronald Reagan, who won twice (1980/1984) by landslide majorities, among other displays of gross ignorance, could not find “Granada” (Grenada) on a map even as he ordered a massive invasion of the tiny Caribbean isle, which he described as “a fine piece of real estate” back in 1983.
Trump could hardly be worse than George Bush the father (1984-1988) and George W. Bush the son (two terms, 2000-2008), who between them plunged America into two trillion-dollar wars in “Eye-raq” and Afghanistan based on outright lies.
Remember Saddam Hussain’s weapons of mass destruction? Or the Taliban’s pivotal role in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon? No mention then of America’s close relations with Saudi Arabia and the bin Laden clan.
The Bush father and son duo dragged America into several wars-without-end, spawned more Islamist terrorists than we could count, and rendered countries across the world, from the Far-East to Africa to Europe, fair game for mindless jihadists.
Their lies fuelled the trillion-dollar “fear industry” in America most of all, whereby the techno-military-industrial-complex has and continues to make fortunes off threats of terrorism, with just about anyone who can afford it buying and installing an enormous range of protective devices, from CCTV cameras to personal drones.
Meanwhile America’s gross national debt stands at approximately 100 percent of GDP, just over $20 trillion. The income gap, which had narrowed for several decades after the second world war, has widened considerably since the year 2000. And while the economy remains fairly resilient, the prosperity that so many Americans once enjoyed is now both an illusion and elusive.
So why is Trump attractive to so many, such that he has sealed his candidacy even as Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders slug it out?
Well, for one, he personifies The Ugly American, the uncouth bully who says he will ride roughshod over all perceived obstacles to the country’s progress, its unimpeded domination of the world.
Many Americans like that image.
Such “enemies” seen through Trump’s Don Quixote lens include, first and foremost, Mexico, where he vows to build a wall along its border with the USA, which, he insists, he will have the Mexicans pay for.
Former Mexican president Vincente Fox aptly responded, live on television: “We’re not paying for that f*%$#g wall!”
In other words, it’s not going to happen, however much Trump’s stupid supporters may fantasize otherwise.
His other targets in international relations include the European Union, the strongest ally of the US, from both the military and economic standpoints.
Madness: America needs the EU more than the other way round.
He says he will compel all US manufacturing companies that have shifted their operations abroad to remain competitive to “return to base”.
Wishful thinking: they will sooner switch citizenship than sacrifice profits.
I have not touched his other outrageous utterances-on dating his daughter Ivanka or “you can never be too greedy”…
Still, 60 million Americans will likely vote this clown as President.
Should he win, I’d say they deserve him.