I’ve been following the US primary elections avidly as I do every cycle. I would have fifty debates, if I could; I just can’t get enough of it! Although I never really blog about it (I don’t get paid for writing this, y’know; plus, regularly writing about the lunacy of US politics would consume my life and my sanity if I let it!). I have to say, I always find the Republican debates far more entertaining than the Democratic ones; the Republicans do batshit crazy like no one else. But to their credit, they also debate real ideology, instead of the bland New Labour-like stylings of the Democrats.
This election cycle, the debates have been particularly interesting. Whether it is Bernie Sanders who offers a genuinely different approach, albeit not as revolutionary as many make out. Or the trump card Donald Trump-ness of Donald Trump. This has been top dollar entertainment.
Some great moments of recent debates for me have been:
- Marco Rubio’s robotic repetition of “Barack Obama knows exactly what he’s doing”, which was brutally destroyed by Chris Christie: link.
- Rubio landing a heavy blow on Trump. “Now he’s repeating himself” “No, no, no. I don’t repeat myself”. “You don’t repeat yourself!? You repeat yourself every day(!)” “Talk about repeating yourself. I watched him repeat himself five times four weeks ago” “I saw you repeat yourself five times five seconds ago… I watch him repeat himself every night. He says five things: everyone’s dumb, he’s gonna make America great again, we’re gonna win, win, win, he’s winning in the polls, and the lines around the states”.
- Ben Carson dropping out! Never knew an allegedly educated man could be so stupid.
- Clinton pathetically trying to copy the rhetoric of Sanders in a most see-through fashion. Her naked ambition is sickening.
The banter levels have only got higher as the debates have gone on. The 11th GOP debate had some fantastic moments.
- Ted Cruz telling Trump, “I know it’s hard not to interrupt, just breathe, breeeathe, breeeeeeathe, you can do it(!)”
- Marco Rubio: “When they’re done with the yoga, can I just answer the question?” Cruz: “I really hope we don’t see yoga on this stage”. Rubio: “Well, he’s very flexible, so you never know”.
But quite apart from sharing my joy at this freak show, I wanted to briefly share my thoughts on Trump.
Trump has undoubtedly said a lot of nasty, ignorant, terrible things, things wholly unbecoming of a would-be President. A stand-out moment of idiotic, racist, crassness was the calling for all Muslims to be banned from entering the US ‘until we can figure out what’s going on’. I mean, really? Am I watching a parody, or is this real? Scenes like this would lie on the cutting room floor of The Thick of It for being deemed too unrealistic. I secretly suspect that, just like Orson Welles’ infamous 1938 radio broadcast of War of the Worlds, we will find out that this was all just an eleborate stunt, and that Jeb Bush was actually already selected as the GOP candidate six months ago.
But despite Donald Trump’s nonsensical, woman-hating, over-the-top, racist, moronic, loud-mouthed bile fountain, I have been saying the following for a while now: I bet he will make an alright President.
Yeah, seriously. True, everything he says is offensive to liberal-minded, decent people. Wait, scrap that: everything he says is offensive to anyone with a brain, including the most right-wing of the right (hence why there is currently a movement to try to “Dump Trump” in the GOP). But amidst the ape-shit poo-flinging, there are moments of clarity.
He seems to be a pragmatist and genuinely not bound by allegiance to donors or the party elite, able to change his tune at the drop of a hat. But this is different from flip-flopping. For all his yelling, he seems a pragmatist, not a flip-flopper or an ideologue, and he’s no tool of corporate interests, either.
He has repeatedly had a soft line on foreign affairs, from open dialogue to Putin and others to not getting involved in carpet bombing Syria or invading foreign countries. He talks about doing away with Obama care like all the other Republicans, but he has specifically said that he will not let a single poor person die on the street or go without treatment. Other candidates have mocked him, saying he will involve the Federal government to achieve this. He has admitted to changing his mind and positions on various things instead of dishonestly trying to claim he always had the same position. And come on! The guy is a massively successfully businessman — even though he “only” received a “small loan of a million dollars” from his Daddy to get started. You don’t become as successful in business as him without being a flexible, pragmatic, open-minded, but hard-nosed negotiator.
These relatively moderate positions are all cloaked in right wing rhetoric (Build a wall! Winning, winning, winning! Take care of our vets! Ban Muslims!). I think this cloaking is clever stage management to smuggle the less offensive real Trump into office. I foretell a massive change of rhetorical style, if not content, if and when he receives the Republican nomination.
Furthermore, that the Republican establishment hate him and that he is self-financed and cannot be beholden to big money are all the more reason to think he wouldn’t be a bad choice.
And it’s not just me. Analyses of his positions show that he is far from the most extreme man on the Republican stage. And that’s based on his current rhetoric, which as I say, I suspect is phony.
So in short, whilst the toxic rhetoric of Trump would at first glance seem to be a million miles from what is required of a President of the United States, I have the sneakiest suspicion that it is mostly a persona cleverly constructed and worn by the Trump. I think that, of the remaining four GOP and two Democratic candidates, Trump is far from the worst; indeed, he might be one of the best.
© 2016 Bryan A. J. Parry
featured image from http://www.teenvogue.com/story/11th-gop-debate-trump-kelly