The Meaning of Trump

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  • #971

    Pamela Starr
    Keymaster

    The debate last night among the Republican presidential candidates was dominated once again by the presence of Donald Trump at center stage. His performance, like that of several other contenders on the stage, seemed light – full of bluster and empty promises yet thin on policy proposals. And yet he sits at the top of the polls.

    Attitudes about the Trump phenomenon in US politics have evolved rapidly since he hit the campaign trail with provocative accusations that Mexico is sending criminals and rapists to the United States as migrants and proposing to keep them out by constructing a wall that would be paid for by Mexico.

    Early reactions to these and other equally provocative statements often dismissed the real-estate billionaire as a joke and an embarrassment, and suggested that his success in the polls was fleeting – his popular support would inevitably collapse once the voters got a closer look. Trump was the flavor of the month, a celebrity candidate whose repeated mistakes, lack of policy depth, and numerous un-Republican positions (past campaign donations to democrats, support for abortion rights, and raising taxes on carried interest) were sure to sink him. There was no way he could possible become the Republican nominee for the presidency.

    Surprised and a bit chastised, analysts have now largely changed their tune. Three months and two debates later, Trump has solidified his lead in the polls, although now he shares the lead with another anti-politician candidate, Dr. Ben Carson. In hindsight, Trump’s staying power should not have been such a surprise. Americans, and especially the white middle and lower-middle class base of the Republican Party, are exasperated; they are mad.

    They were slammed by the great recession and an economic recovery that has not been reflected in their paychecks, they are dejected over the apparent loss of the global power and prestige of the United States, they resent the influx of foreign workers taking “American” jobs and undermining the “American way of life”, and they are frustrated with career politicians who seem deaf to their complaints and instead prioritize the interests of campaign contributors over those of the nation and its citizens.

    A Wall Street Journal/ABC News poll released Monday clearly paints the same picture in numbers. 58% of Republican voters and fully 64% of self-described conservatives prefer an outsider candidate to a candidate with experience. More broadly, for 72% of Americans most politicians cannot be trusted and 68% see the U.S. political system as “basically dysfunctional.

    But at the same time, this poll also found that 51% of registered voters preferred a presidential candidate with experience over an outsider and that the vast majority in the survey want to “fix the current system” rather than “tear it down”.

    What does this mean for U.S. politics and the future of the Republican Party? Is populism on the rise in the United States or, at the end of the day, will Republican and U.S. voters opt for a less risky electoral path? Populism and pandering certainly seems to be catching on in the Republican race. Trump’s proposal to raise taxes on the hated hedge fund managers reflects a similar proposal by the democrat Bernie Sanders and has recently seeped into the tax proposal of establishment candidate Jeb Bush.

    But Republican pandering to public fears is most evident on the issue of migration. Donald Trump continued to hammer home his position that all “illegal” immigrants must be deported and a wall built to prevent more from entering arguing that currently “we don’t have a country; we don’t have a border”. Ben Carson echoed this position arguing that after deporting all “illegals”, sealing the border, and ending all policies that attract migrants, including providing job opportunities, only those with “pristine” records will be let back in and then only to work in agriculture (brilliant…)

    Not to be left out, Scott Walker has called for a wall on the U.S. northern border with Canada as well (although he was left out of the exchange on migration last night) and absolutely every candidate insisted that the border must be sealed (with or without a wall). Finally, in response to Jeb Bush’s more reasonable approach to migration policy, Trump defended his position by saying: “He does not get my vote.”

    Taking the question a step further, could Trump spell disaster for a divided and seemingly leaderless Republican Party? With 53% of Republicans supporting Trump or Carson according to the same WSJ/NBC news poll even as the majority of Americans say they would not support a candidate without experience, is the beginning of the end for this historic party?

    And what does the Trump phenomenon, the raw nerve in US public opinion it reflects, and the tone of the debate on migration it has reinforced mean for Mexico and its relations with the U.S. in the coming months and years? For a bilateral relationship built as much on informal understandings about the rule of bilateral interaction as formal institutions, a President who not only does not understand the informal rules but demonstrates little interest in such diplomatic niceties, it seems to me this could pose a real challenge.

    #972

    Después de insultar a mexicanos, mujeres, reporteros, candidatos presidenciales y sin proponer ideas concretas o políticas con sustancia, Donald Trump es el candidato favorito para el partido Republicano. ¿Por qué el señor Trump sigue delante en las encuestas? Como menciona Pamela, 72% del electorado en EE.UU. no cree en los políticos, algo que se presenta en varias democracias occidentales. ¿Acaso estamos presenciando un nuevo movimiento en política? Me gustaría enfocarme sobre este tema.

    “Us versus them” (Nosotros contra ellos) se ha vuelto una frase recurrente en las campaña presidenciales de Estados Unidos. Millones de personas, sobre todo la clase media, han dando la espalda a los políticos tradicionalistas debido a una década de estancamiento económico, el aumento de la desigualdad y la polarización de la sociedad causada por los partidos políticos. Por ello, surge una nueva forma de populismo enfocado en contra del sistema actual.

    Esta tendencia no será efímera y tiene que ser tomada en serio. El fenómeno ha tomado dimensiones internacionales y ha sido atractivo para los votantes indecisos y desesperados por su estancamiento. Individuos como Trump, Sanders, tanto como Corbyn o Le Pen serán mas frecuentes. Estas nuevas fuerzas políticas utilizan el abatimiento de la gente para redirigir la culpa. Los izquierdistas como Bernie Sanders y Jeremy Corbyn están culpando a la elite, el sector financiero y los asuntos de conflictos de interés. Del otro lado, conservadores han intensificado el discurso racial. Al fin de cuentas, ambas partes presentan una postura en contra del sistema actual.

    La campaña presidencial de Estados Unidos refleja de manera mas amplia estas tendencias globales. El éxito de Donald Trump demuestra que el fenómeno esta inseminado en la sociedad estadounidense. Ideas absurdas y desmesuradas, como construir un impresionante muro, deportar a 11 millones de personas, no son exclusivas de él, son pensamientos compartidos por millones de estadounidenses. Un punto atractivo de Donald Trump es que habla, creíble o no, de una posición de fuerza, es el individuo agresivo. Los estadounidense piensan que los EE.UU. debería, y debe ser, el líder mundial. Por ende, el candidato ha logrado conseguir mas seguidores sin tener una política exterior establecida, algo que ciudadanos no han demandado.

    Como hemos visto en los EE.UU., México también experimenta el auge del populismo. Los partidos políticos tradicionales, los cuales tienen bajos índices de confianza (19% en 2014), han perdido terreno con candidatos independientes como El Bronco o con el nuevo partido de AMLO, Morena. Por eso el llamado de atención del Presidente de México durante el Tercer Informe. Teme que la gente, desesperada por la falta de progreso y la inexistente ética de los políticos, siga la tendencia populista. Habrá diversos cambios en los partidos para atraer y recuperar el electorado perdido

    Un enfoque es tener políticos diversos y profesionales. Siento que el PRI lo esta haciendo con Meade, el cual ha trabajado bajo el PAN y en varias Secretarías. Otro ejemplo que me viene a la mente, es el caso de Emmanuel Macron, nuevo ministro de Economía de Francia y posible futuro del Partido Socialista. Cuenta con experiencia profesional en banca de inversión y es muy respetado en el mundo de los negocios, en lo político y así como en la sociedad francesa.

    Si la economía global sigue cayendo y la desigualdad empeora, es probable que veamos un auge mas significante del populismo, el cual puede dividir los partidos políticos tradicionales o hasta acabar con ellos.

    #974

    Guillaume Adrian

    One of the biggest evils of modern democracies is the loss of citizens trust towards politicians. The famous expression “Tous pourris” (All rotten), the succession of scandals, the economic crisis, the difficulty to reform has widen the gap between the people and the elite, giving way to populism, ridicule speeches and simplistic views.

    It is now necessary, when Donald Trump makes the headlines, to explain carefully sensitive issues of immigration, conflicts in the Middle East and the role of the U.S. in the world. Viewing the debates and interviews with these new candidates, and not only in the U.S., it is urgent to rethink on education and the lack of sensibility people have. Most importantly, its where people obtains information. We are now overblown with interested information and with vary few neutral and objective information sources.

    Politics seemed only addressed towards gaining votes and power, it is necessary to regain the correct speech, the citizens trust and to see the emergence of policies from civil society

    #976

    Luis De la Calle
    Participant

    En el mediano plazo, Donald Trump le habrá hecho un gran favor a los mexicanos. Esta campaña, que terminará perdiendo, será recordada como un punto de inflexión en el que empieza a tener un costo político expresarse de una manera despectiva y atacar a los mexicanos. Incluso, llevará a una mayor tasa de participación de los méxico-americanos en la política interna de su país y a convertirlos en fiel de la balanza en procesos electorales. Al mismo tiempo, forzará a México a promover en Estados Unidos no su propia imagen, sino la de los mexicanos y sus obras.

    http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/entrada-de-opinion/columna/luis-fernando-de-la-calle/cartera/2015/09/23/trump-serra-y-francisco

    #980

    Pamela Starr
    Keymaster

    Jorge Castañeda’s column this week in Milenio suggests a potential Mexican response to Trump. He agrees that the 16 September republican debate made it clear that Trump isn’t going away any time soon. To the contrary, he and his “anti-Mexican diatribes” will be with us until the end of the primaries.

    In the face of these “incessant attacks on all Mexicans”, neither the Mexican government nor Mexican society have found a way to respond. Castañeda proposes one — a “Proud to be Mexican” campaign: a series of television ads in which Mexicans of note who live or work in the United States (or have some other connection with the US) introduce themselves and their achievements to the US public, and conclude by saying “Mr. Trump, I am a proud Mexican”. See the full argument here

    What do you think about this suggestion? Will it work, or might it instead add fuel to the Trump fire by creating the impression of Mexican intervention in US domestic matters?

    #982

    Proud to be Mexican

    I’m a Mexican Immigrant and proud of my heritage.

    Mexicans Americans and Mexicans Immigrants have so much to be proud of. Our culture, language, history, traditions and principles have embedded and enhanced the American way of life.

    We are hard-working, decent, friendly, caring, happy people that embrace family unity, respectfulness and generosity.

    We are creative and entrepreneurial with original ideas that enrich and positively contribute to the US economy.

    We understand our strengths and weaknesses, support each other during the tough times and know how enjoy life during the good ones.

    We are open grateful for any chance that is given to us.

    We know that understanding where we come from will help raise our future and make a difference.

    We are proud of our heritage and culture because is rich, full, unique, fascinating and beautiful.

    This is the perfect time to express how our role and contributions has been an essential pillar of making America Great.

    http://www.proudtobemexican.com

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  Pamela Starr.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 10 months ago by  Pamela Starr.
    #987

    Carlos Ahumada
    Participant

    First of all, I want to thank again USC team for making available a forum like this. The exchange of ideas will result in better and more informed citizens and better public administrations.

    Regarding Trump, I will be brief since participants have already put on the table the most important issues. The first point I want to highlight is the influence that TV and pop-culture in the US have in this. I personally think that Trump appears as a charming character for those middle class Americans that are mad (such as Pamela Starr pointed out). From my point of view he represents everything that his supporters love to see on TV shows: irreverence, comedy, a speech against the status quo, insults, etc. If we make an analysis on the current most popular TV shows and their hosts/actors we would be able to find some similarities. Maybe it is time to question what kind of citizens the media content is creating.

    As to the Republican Party, the only way it can survive is precisely using Trump’s method. In today’s world where people are opening their minds on issues that were forbidden in the past, (such as same-sex marriage, illegal drugs decriminalization, among others) conservatives need to differentiate the most they can by strengthening their positions, which leads to the radicalization of the speech. This radicalization founds fertile ground to grow in a not so promising economic scenario. However I don’t think this strategy would lead a Republican to the White House in future administrations. This strategy would be effective only to maintain enough votes to be a very powerful political force.

    Finally, I agree with Mr. Luis de la Calle and Mr. Castañeda; Mexicans (and Latinos) have now a great opportunity to be proud of their roots and demonstrate why they are key to the US progress and development. Nevertheless, Mexicans (and Latinos) will have to have a single strong voice, demonstrating their organization capacities inside the US. Public figures such as Jorge Ramos, and other important Latin artists, would have to take responsibility on this and act as Ambassadors of their nations.

    #992

    jude webber

    Arriving late to the party, but … I think the Mexican government does not want to fan the flames of Trump and his supporters, but I think their response has been tepid – hoping all this will just go away. As was suggested above, a more proactive response would be a step in the right direction, though Mexico seems to be hoping that he’ll burn himself out sooner rather than later, and anyway, EPN’s recent obsession with populism suggests a focus on domestic concerns above all else. My suggestion would be a “Trump Trump” campaign – facts vs myths. We’re in the territory of a demagogue here so not easy to persuade people who don’t want to believe. Mexico has a new foreign minister and a new ambassador to the US – let’s see what they’re capable of!

    #1065

    Jeanette Acosta
    Participant

    Even though Trump was not a dominant figure in last night’s third Republican debate (overshadowed by Cruz and Rubio), he is still the focus of the Latina/o Democratic community’s ire. To Carlos Ahumada’s comment that Latinos need to have a united voice, advocates recently came together to collectively call for SNL to pull Trump from hosting due to his hateful remarks about Mexican immigrants. But earlier today, Eva Longoria, who has served as a celebrity surrogate for Democrats and has been a major funder of Latina/o candidates for public office, went on the record defending SNL’s decision to have Trump serve as a host. This left much of the community in shock, damaging the united advocacy against Trump.

    While Trump’s candidacy and rhetoric present major challenges for the U.S.-Mexico bilateral relationship, it appears that his candidacy also will challenge the Latina/o advocacy, celebrity, and political communities.

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