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By Basil Wilson

For Carib News 3/6/16

More piercing questions from television journalists have apparently slowed the Trump juggernaut.  He is still the front runner who will show up at the Republican Convention in July with the most pledged delegates but perhaps short of the majority of 1,237 needed to win on the first ballot.  The anti-Trump forces are hoping that the Trump quest for the Republican national convention will derail on the ballots after the initial vote.

Trump’s approach to campaigning was to hold mass rallies in different parts of the country.  He was also omnipresent on television talk shows where he easily intimidated poorly informed journalists who embraced him as they chased nakedly for ratings.

The Trump stump speech was crafted to feed red meat to his mostly white audience.  As the country has diversified, Mexicans were characterized as rapists and he would build a wall that would be paid for by the Mexican government to keep their illegal citizens from entering the United States. The Mexicans have replaced the African-Americans as the leading scapegoats in the eyes of conservative Americans.

The terrified Trump would keep the country safe by temporarily placing a ban on all Muslims who aspire to visit or reside in America.  Typical of white reactionary thinking, all Muslims are terrorists and an exclusionary law would keep America free from terrorism.  The unthinking Donald Trump was oblivious to how such a sweeping demonization of 1.6 billion Muslims would affect America’s quest to build a coalition with moderate Muslim countries to isolate and defeat ISIS.

Trump, the billionaire who has specialized in the building of up-scale apartments and gambling casinos and opulent country clubs in his life’s work, yet on the campaign trail, he is the economic populist who will bludgeon all our trading partners of color – China, South Korea, Japan and Mexico – because they sell more goods to the United States than the United States exports to these countries.  He would dismantle the NAFTA Treaty, the free trade agreement with China and skittle the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership aimed to expand American influence in the Pacific and to contain China’s influence.

Trump’s intent is to bring back manufacturing jobs that have been hemorrhaging for decades.  That is a commendable goal but Trump’s approach would inevitably plunge the world economy into a depression as he opts to build a wall around the American economy.

Trump has failed to develop policy but adheres to hackneyed platitudes that will make America great.  The throng attending Trump’s rallies swallowed the Kool-Aid and presumes that the billionaire will magically perform miracles.

What has slowed the Trump train is the change in his relationship to the media.  The debates with a multitude of candidates on the stage were about trash talk and seldom focused on policy.  But the new format of extended one-on-one interviews and town hall settings has penetrated the easily pierced armor of Donald Trump.  The questioning in this kind of format has revealed that Trump is a skater not a thinker.  He is a man skating on thin ice.

The fast talking and interrupting Chris Matthews on MSNBC made a fool of Trump on his newly converted position on abortion.  Pressed on the subject, Trump states that the woman committing abortion should be punished.  The conventional answer of the pro-life movement is that it is the physician who is to be punished, not the woman having the abortion.  Trump’s position created a firestorm. Trump, who never backtracks, kept sanitizing his position and what was clear was the muddled state of his mind.

In an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN, Trump again displayed his ignorance of foreign policy when he argued that because America was a debtor nation, America should withdraw from the Pacific and allow Japan and South Korea to obtain nuclear weapons rather than functioning under the nuclear umbrella of the United States.  Trump who sees nuclear proliferation as a serious threat confronting the world community is advocating for nuclear proliferation.  He is even supportive of Saudi Arabia acquiring nuclear weapons.  The unthinking Trump does not recognize that a nuclear arms race would further imperil civilization.

Trump is linking everything in his potpourri stew of economic Armageddon, in terms of the deficit, the debt and trade export-import imbalance.  America’s national security interest is not differentiated from economic issues.

The March job report signified that 215,000 new jobs were created and the unemployment rate is 5 percent.  Trump dismisses the Bureau of Labor Statistics and makes up his own numbers that he claims to have heard from unnamed economists.

What is remarkable about Trump is that he has built his empire around the opulent segment of American society and has not functioned in the nitty-gritty aspects of the economy in terms of research and development and technological innovation.  He has really functioned on the periphery of the American economy in his successful accumulation of wealth.  He shows a lack of sophistication in understanding the complexity of the American economy and constructs his own make-belief balloon that has no relationship to the American reality.

The question that the world is asking is how someone so temperamentally flawed, so bigoted, so shallow in his understanding of the world, could have emerged as a frontrunner in a major Party for the presidency of the United States?

It is a frightening thought, not only to the sane segments of American society but to the world community.

The conservative author, Ann Coulter, early hitched her bandwagon to the Trump train.  In seeing his shenanigans in recent weeks with the attacks on Heidi Cruz, Michele Fields and continued attacks on Megyn Kelly of Fox News, she is quoted as saying that Trump is mental.  What the Ann Coulter’s of the world must recognize is that her contribution to the dumbing down of America’s public discourse paved the way for unprepared megalomania to rise as the frontrunner of the Grand Old Party and a possible tenant of the White House and to have his finger on the nuclear trigger.

Dr. Basil Wilson