Donald Trump and the Current Political Moment

Donald Trump is running for President. He is a significant and influential figure in the United States of America. He is not merely a rich man but a man with an association with the ideas and conceptions of wealth across America.   His show The Apprentice and his casinos all represent the glamour and and appeal of money in an unapologetic way.

I have begun drafting this post just before the first debate of the Republican primaries of the Presidential electoral campaigns. This will give him a chance to go up against other people, in fact only nine other men who also want to be President of the United States of America. It might be that the least successful approach to this subject in terms of timing would be to write a post just before the debate that will allow us all to see what is going on in the life, mind and politics of Mr. Donald Trump.  So far we know little except that  he is a wealthy celebrity businessman who questioned whether or not President Barack Hussein Obama was born in the United States.

Americans are concerned about  the shrinking economic prospects in the country. Americans are concerned about a sense of diminished hopes for the kind of future that can lead to outcomes they believe in and a better future than the current state of things. Many find in Donald Trump a chance to believe in someone who is eager to proclaim that he can lead America back to greatness. His slogan is, “Make America Great Again”.

Familiar Greenbacks

America is used to paper money as a great symbol of National unity as well as the tangible form of our unifying preoccupation.

Donald Trump has been saying a lot of things that a lot of Americans  can understand and which represent feelings many Americans share.  He shows a confidence in America and its power to win and to lead which many people find very attractive. I am not sure of all the context of his remarks about immigrants from Mexico. I am sure that Mexican and other migrants arriving with all sorts of levels of documentation do contribute greatly to our economy. They also inflict and exact a cost. I agree with anyone who believes that one of the primary tasks of governance is to control borders and sovereign territory and to manage the census, records and planning related to demographics and population groups. It is also true that all sorts of crime, smuggling risk is associated with our borders. Unlike Mr. Trump I really want to let anyone who thinks about me in political terms know that I really want to see America double down and double down again in its commitment to NAFTA, the Organization of American States, the Pan American Games, the creative and sensitive reinterpretation of the Monroe Doctrine and many other institutions. I want to see the United States become a country where a man like Jorge Bergoglio could be well known even before his address changed to the Vatican and he became the Bishop of Rome.

I just read Mike Huckabee’s book God, Guns, Grits and Gravy. I wonder to what degree Donald Trump intends to be an antidote to Huckabee. Trump is the other kind of populist than Huckabee’s populism based in the NASCAR, Southern Baptist and  Duck Dynasty hubs of the South. Huckabee contrasts Bubba-ville and Bubbleville and there is no doubt that Trump is from what Huckabee calls Bubbleville. Is Trump rooted  enough in the other conservative elements of American society given how far he is from Bubba-ville?

Gettysburg settled upon our country many parts of a new consensus . . .

Gettysburg settled upon our country many parts of a new consensus . . .

We face many challenges as a society, a federal union and as the United States of America. Donald Trump is like many other running for President of the United States in that he is an accomplished person who has shown he can get things done. He is like them in his capacity to express himself in a way many people find compelling and in that he cares about this country.

I am not a Republican. But I am interested in watching the Republican Primary debates. In Louisiana we have an open primary, majoritarian outcome system. Although this is modified for the Presidential and only truly national (although it is a Federal and not unitary election in structure) US election it still affects the way we approach politics. Here anyone can vote in a primary and if one person gets more than half of all votes cast he wins as Jindal did in his first election as governor. If not the two top vote-getters run again and one is assure to have more than half the vote cast and is elected.

So since I left the Democrats in 1993 and have voted as a Louisiana citizen not being in a party has not affected me as much as in most other states. However, a few elections have had closed primaries for complex constitutional reasons. But the Presidential elections are under a different set of rules. Louisiana is also one of a few states that has its statewide elections in the year before the Presidential elections when the national party primary elections are being contested.

I expect Donald Trump to make headlines tonight. But what kinds of headlines where?

We all have images of what leadership should look like which are not simple portrayals of reality.

We all have images of what leadership should look like which are not simple portrayals of reality.

Many of us are concerned about divisions in the country. Does Donald Trump have what it takes to reach people who would identify more with Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Carla Fiorino and Mike Huckabee. People one might possibly notice were Latino, African-American, women or Southern?

He certainly cannot win by getting the votes of only rich celebrities. I think that the debate tonight is his to lose. This is a long way from the White House. But this is Trump’s moment.  Can the Miss USA promoter stand out in his own line up of candidates?

There is a song interpreted by Julianne Hough which says in part,

Hard to find, took some time
But I think that I might be hittin’
On what’s been missing all along
Singing my hallelujah song

Trump has been honest in his concern for Christians being tortured and killed and it has caused him to search his faith I think. It has not been something he has done very gracefully. I think he may well live to regret this whole campaign. But I think now he is on a moral and spiritual quest carrying a lot of Americans with him. Can a worldly, rich, good-timing man who loves the spotlight  emerge as a great leader? Many are eager to say “no!’ I am not one of those people. I believe the Donald really is digging in and I am not sure whether what he finds will be enough to produce greatness or not…

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5 responses to “Donald Trump and the Current Political Moment

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