Fred Ezeh, Abuja The Archbishop of Benin City Catholic diocese, Most Rev. Augustine Obiora Akabueze, has been elected the new President of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of Nigeria (CBCN). Also, the Bishop of Umuahia Catholic diocese, Most Rev. Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, emerged the Vice president of the conference, while the Bishop of Ikot-Ekpene diocese, Most…
As the United States’ presidential election was concluded on Wednesday, with the Republican Party candidate, Donald Trump, I remembered my article of May 13, 2016. That article, which x-rayed the race to the White House, is still germane at present and, therefore, worth republishing.
Today, I am taking a trip to Afghanistan. Although there are many things to focus on about Nigeria, including British Prime Minister, David Cameron’s “fantastically corrupt” Nigeria misfire as well as the removal of subsidy and hike in the pump price of petrol, among others, I am persuaded to look at the coming United States presidential election. This is not because I am going to vote in the US election. No! It’s basically because the US presidential election generates global attention and interest. People and governments follow the run-up to the US election and its outcome. Perhaps, this is because when the US coughs, the world catches cold, as it were.
Yes, a few weeks to the end of the presidential primaries of the Democratic Party and Republican Party of the United States, the picture that stares many in the face is the final contest between former Secretary of State and ex-First Lady, Hilary Clinton, and billionaire businessman, Donald Trump, in the November 12 presidential election. Now, the US media calls Trump the “presumptive presidential candidate” of the Republican Party despite the fact that he’s the only candidate left in the race. When all other aspirants to the Republican Party ticket have surrendered and withdrawn from the race, owing to the reality on ground, the natural thing is to believe that the only aspirant remaining is the undisputed candidate. With the US press’ preference to call Trump the presumptive candidate, the question is: Would there be what could pass for American Wonder, where Trump would be supplanted and, therefore, not be the Republican Party candidate?
Well, as the aspirants go for the final primaries, I think that the world is in for an interesting presidential contest in the United States. Many have voiced their misgivings and outright opposition to the candidature of Trump, saying that going by the way he talks and his behaviour, he would be a disaster of a president and that the United States, in particular, and the world, in general would be in trouble. Others believe that Trump, if he is eventually affirmed as the Republican Party candidate, cannot be president, as his supposed opponent, Mrs. Clinton, would defeat him at the final poll. However, there are many other Republican Party members and, indeed, the US voters, who do not see anything wrong in the Trump candidacy. What this tells me is that Trump, in the next US election, is one man, whom nobody would ignore. He has run a popular campaign, which has figuratively set the US on fire, and has made name for good or bad.
Yes, in the ongoing primaries of the Republican Party, Trump has established himself as the aspirant/candidate to beat and a man, who does not pretend but speaks his mind. Many people may see him as a “mad man,” a rabble-rouser and a politician, who thinks he’s a star in a reality show, but methinks that Trump is no fool. He looks to me as a smart politician, who has studied the US society well enough to know what to do to get support of voters. Trump sure knows that sentiment still runs deep in the US and, therefore, has adopted a strategy that would keep sentiment in the front burner. He has elected to tell the US citizens what they want to hear. Those who think that Trump is crazy to make comments against Blacks, Muslims and migrants, may be shock to discover that he’s doing so to win the hearts of many. I suspect that Trump wants to align with the majority whites, who think that Blacks, Muslims and migrants are part of their problems in the US and, therefore, any declaration against them is good.
Take it or not, the US still has racism as a plague. A Blackman may have been elected president for two terms, but most US citizens, be they whites or Blacks, are still racists. To be sure, most whites in the US do not want to associate with Blacks, whom they see as troublemakers or criminals. Most US citizens have an axe to grind with Muslims, having been made to believe that Muslims are terrorists. Most US citizens have problem with migrants, whom they see as threat to their inheritance. These are the people Trump is targeting by the things he says. These are the core of his supporters. This, I believe, explains, why, despite what people would see as the unpopularity of his positions, he has been riding high in the race for the presidential ticket of his party. The majority ordinary Republicans see him as their man and hero, while some of the members of the elite class, mainly, do not trust that he could favour them.
As the Republicans are divided on whether to support Trump, one thing that is clear is that this unusual politician has become a proverbial tsetse fly in the scrotum. If the Republican hit hard to kill it, they would burst their balls (permit my expression). And if they leave the fly, it would be sucking their blood. Trump may be brash, near iconoclast and funny in his expressions and manners, but he’s still the best deal for the Republicans. Dropping him now will work against the Republicans. If the party does dump him, it may just be face-to-face with the 1988 scenario in the Democratic Party, where Rev. Jesse Jackson, who led in most national polls, and generated much momentum that most people were already seeing him as the first black presidential candidate in the US, was defeated, with a slim margin, by Michael Dukakis, who lost the presidential election eventually. Those who think that Trump is unelectedable, as some of the Democratic Party members thought of Jackson then, may not know that he could be the trump card of the Republican Party to bounce back at the US presidency. The Republican Party will unify eventually. Trump’s meeting with Paul Ryan, Speaker of the US House and other scheduled peace talks have shown the path to having a common front. And, perhaps, his choice of vice presidential candidate will be the joker.
Against Hilary Clinton, Trump’s chances may not be too bad, as people think. President Barack Obama may have dismissed Trump, seeing him more as a star in a circus, as he said that the race to the White House is not a “Reality Show,” but in a presidential election, where sentiment will play a big role, Trump may not be an easy nut to crack by Clinton and the Democratic Party. In fact, it’s Clinton, who should be afraid of defeat in this race. The US voters are going to judge Clinton by the presidency of her husband. They will also judge her by her actions and inactions as Secretary of State. Trump, on the other hand, is a fresh politician and successful business. And there are many US voters, who believe that the ability of a man, who has made a success of his business to be president should not be doubted.
Would Trump do some of the unpopular things he said he would? I doubt it. This is not because he may not want to. It is mainly because the US is not a country, where one man would come and start changing things, as in a dictatorship. Some of the unpopular things Trump said he would do could only be achieved through change in legislation. He has to get the Congress’ total support to do them. I doubt if he would get this approval from the Congress.
By what I have said about Trump, it’s tempting to conclude that I have endorsed him or that I am routing for him, as presidential candidate or president. Certainly not! I am only looking at reality and not perception. With Trump as candidate in the presidential election, nobody, including the Democrats could say it’s over until the last vote is counted and it’s really over. I have the feeling that with the election of Obama as president, the US voters made a statement to the effect that anybody, most especially those riding on the crest of populism, could be president. And since democracy is more of popularity contest, where the best does not necessarily win, the world should watch out for Trump in the coming US presidential election.