The Donald Trump rabid blitzkrieg has worked for him: he is now the presumptive Republican nominee in the US presidential race, threatening to shake the foundations of the liberal edifice of America. His is an amazing achievement indeed: he has self-funded his primaries campaign, has no political experience and will be the oldest US president at 70 if he happens to get in the White House. He drew historic numbers to hear his speeches during his campaign. Thousands cheered when he announced his crazy policies such as temporarily banning the entry of foreign Muslims to the US and raising a wall along the Mexican border.
Yet, becoming the presumptive Republican presidential nominee does not automatically lead Donald Trump to his country’s highest office. There is widespread discomfort and anxiety about Trump among the Republicans. It was apparent from the fact that most leading Republicans did not congratulate Donald Trump publicly after his winning the primaries race. Most Republican leaders did not issue congratulatory press releases, nor did they post comments on Twitter. A leading US newspaper contacted more than 70 Republican governors, senators, representatives, officials and donors for comments about Trump. Only about 20 replied, with many saying they did not want to take a stand yet. During the primaries Trump faced a lot of hostility toward him. Trump had negative ratings in public opinion. Many Republicans fighting elections to state legislatures and other offices fear Trump’s high negative ratings could end up hurting them.
There is palpably an internal crisis in the Republican Party. There are a lot of Republicans who would want Trump to detail his policies and tone down his language first before they could think of supporting him. Trump is derided by many Republicans for not knowing much about the Constitution or politics – for being a guy with no knowledge of what’s going on. They do not see sense or coherence in Trump’s policies, so they are unsure about them, like the proposal for temporarily banning foreign Muslims from entering the US. The immediate challenge Trump faces is how to mobilize Republican support. He has to reach out to key elements of the Republican establishment to unite the party behind his candidacy before his anticipated battle against Hillary Clinton. It will take quite a lot for Trump, who has fashioned his campaign as a non-ideological platform of his own design, to try and reassure party officials that he understands there are certain norms even he needs to follow as the Republican nominee, and that he is capable of producing an organization and infrastructure that can sustain a general election campaign. The Republicans, who have felt that Trump does not and will not conform to the Republican ideas and ideals and actively or silently supported the ‘Stop Trump’ Campaign within the party, are not going to make it easy for him when he seeks to get the entire party behind him.
US voters will have to make a tough call and decide whether the United States needs a president who is openly divisive, illiberal and dangerous. Trump has said he would be rescinding Obama’s executive orders on immigration, which were intended to give quasi-legal status to five million illegal immigrants. He wants to build a wall along the US-Mexico border to stop illegal immigration. He intends to call in representatives of the Mexican government and ask them to pay for the wall. He will block Mexican immigrants in the US from sending money home to their families unless Mexico agrees to assume the cost of the construction of the wall (estimated at $10 billion). A day after he became a presumptive nominee, Trump refused to budge from his controversial rhetoric to temporarily ban all foreign Muslims from entering the US. Lumping foreign Muslims and Mexican immigrants together, Trump told a TV channel, “We are allowing thousands of people to come into our country, thousands and thousands of people being placed all over the country and frankly nobody knows who they are. They don’t have documentation in most cases. And we don’t know what they are doing.” Trump has also threatened to impose tariffs of 35 per cent on the products of US companies if they relocate jobs outside America.
It is very clear what America would become under Donald Trump – a country in which Latinos, Muslims, Asians and other coloured communities would not be welcome. They would be seen as saboteurs and parasites. America is a nation of immigrants. The need is to make it more and more open and hospitable for every race and community. We can only hope the US voters are not swayed by Trump’s white male rabid chauvinism.