Monday, 3 October 2016
The Implosion of Trump
In much the same way that it was possible to understand and sympathise, even empathise with Ukip here in Britain it is possible to understand the anger and disillusionment that drives many people to hitch themselves to the Donald Trump bandwagon. But it is a bandwagon that is careering and out of control on account of its driver. Some drivers don't look in the mirror enough. Trump cannot tear himself away from any mirror.
The tragedy is that Donald Trump ought to be walking this election. He is up against a weak candidate with plenty of baggage, a policy position that would make little sense even if she weren't essentially planning to continue with the policies and approach of the present administration. She was fully signed up to many of the foreign policy positions that have signally failed these last 8 years and indeed in many cases was the author or co-author of them. Her ridiculously naive reset of relations with Russia was like a green light to Putin. It has fundamentally unbalanced the world and made it a more dangerous place.
But Donald Trump is not fit to be President of the United States. The man who sent furious tweets in the middle of the night about a 20 year feud with a beauty queen he insulted is a man who should not be in charge of an internet connected smartphone let alone the nuclear codes. Just imagine if he were on the receiving end of some of North Korea's serial provocations. It doesn't bear thinking about.
And then there is the issue of his taxes. The fact is that Trump really does think that he is smarter than the rest of us because he doesn't pay any. He really does think that he is smarter than the rest of us because he cheats and games the system. The Washington Post told the story last week of a piano retailer who supplied $100,000 worth of pianos to Trump's casino business and wasn't paid. He could not afford a big legal battle with Trump and Trump knew it. This is what he does. This is his game about which he is so boastful. It is a game with people's lives and livelihoods. In the end Trump's lawyers offered a take it or leave it $70, 000 offer, which the businessman had little choice but to accept. It affected his business for three years while he recovered. Trump would no doubt regard this as smart business. To the rest of us it just looks like a bully with no moral compass and an arrogant belief that rules do not apply to him.
Given that we know all of this - and the Trump campaign have not denied the story that he seems not have paid any federal taxes for nearly 20 years - how do we imagine such a man would behave if he were given the power, influence and clout of the presidency?
This is a man who cannot be bothered to apply himself to doing some basic preparation for a debate in front of 80 million people. This is a man who gets into feuds with people who have had the temerity to criticise him. This is a man who very clearly has a personality disorder of monumental proportions and may well even have sociopathic tendencies. He would not look out of place in a Martin Scorcese film about the mafia.
Trump's implosion was always going to happen and indeed it may even get worse. The next debate will see him being questioned directly by members of the public. How will he react to the direct criticism he will inevitably receive following these revelations and his own indiscipline?
But we should be grateful that this is happening. This is democracy in action. Yes it has failed by allowing such a man to get close to the presidency, but it is now in the process of finding him out. The pity is that it means that Hillary Clinton is the only viable choice.