It appears that Donald Trump has finally secured the Republican Party nomination, with the latest estimate of delegate numbers confirming he has achieved an outright majority. Bernie Sanders appears to be on the brink of defeat, with Hillary Clinton only a handful of delegates short of confirmation as the Democrat’s candidate.
It’s been a fascinating campaign in many respects, with the highlight being Bernie Sanders re-introducing socialism to the American people. Mind you, his version of socialism wouldn’t be ground breaking in most western countries and should probably be regarded as traditional centre left positioning. It’s unusual in America only because the States are so out of step with what is normal in Europe, South America and the Commonwealth.
I hope Sanders is offered, and accepts, a role in the Clinton campaign and then takes up a post in the Clinton administration. It would be sad indeed if he simply fades away as previous left contenders have done. It would be an disaster if he considered running as an independent.
With Sanders gone, that leaves the two establishment figures to fight it out. On one hand, Hillary Rodham Clinton, from the political establishment, who can point to the practical success of her fight to improve health cover for the poorest in America. On the other, Donald Trump, from the business establishment, a racist, sexist buffoon who likes to claim he is independent and not in thrall to the Washington elite, but who actually enjoys cosy ties with the very people he publicly lambasts.
Overnight, President Obama has described European leaders as being rattled by the possibility of a Trump election win. That’ll be music to Trump’s ears obviously. As a confirmed xenophobe, he’ll love the thought that Johnny Foreigner is worried that he might make it to the White House. Obama’s words unintentionally give Trump more gravitas than he deserves.
Speaking of deserving, does America deserve Trump?
The answer is no. He is a despot in the making and his pompous pronouncements and vague campaign platform suggests he hasn’t got a clue how he would actually do the job. But the likelihood is he would do it as badly as he has done most of his business deals. He’s not just a serial financial bankrupt, he is morally bankrupt as well.
I’m confident that Hillary Clinton will win comfortably, probably by 2-3 %. She’ll campaign to the middle class and the aspiring young workers. She’ll frame herself as a steady pair of hands in a world of uncertainty. There is good reason to think that many Republican voters will back her, or just not vote, whereas Trump will have limited cross party appeal. The Republican Party will endorse Trump through gritted teeth and it’s hard to see their more liberal activists being interested in helping a regressive bigot win.
Having said that, Trump has a couple of months to build a policy platform. I think he’ll probably try to mould himself as a modern Ronald Reagan and talk about the need to secure jobs at home, fight war abroad and be tough on crime, but soft on guns. That strategy worked for Reagan to the point where even parts of the union movement endorsed him. But Trump lacks the one card Reagan really had in his favour; the desire for change.
In 1980, the American public were well and truly over the Democrats. Defeats abroad, petrol price rises, job losses and more misery under Jimmy Carter left the Democratic Party looking tired and bereft of ideas. That’s not the case now. America likes Obama and they like his legacy. They associate Clinton with him and most will vote for continuity.
One final word. I’ve heard it suggested in some quarters that the left, having lost Sanders, should embrace Trump. Well, bollocks to that. The man is awful. The world needs leadership and understanding from the American president.
We are not going to mitigate climate change with a leader who denies it exists.
We are not going to end religious radicalism with a racist in charge and we are not going to improve the lot of the poor with a leader who despises workers and those on welfare.
The lesson of the Reagan years for the left is straightforward. The Republicans are no friend of the American people and an enemy to progress, peace and liberty worldwide. The world’s best hope for the next four years is a woman in the White House.
Hillary Rodham Clinton will make history and she might just make America great again.