Held hostage by Trump
The man the world has been lampooning is a quiet genius. We laugh at his take-no-prisoners insult style and imitate his boisterous demeanour. But what Donald Trump is attempting to do dangerously outdoes the Koch Brothers or any corporate figure buying congressional races. By manipulating the US electoral structure, Trump is in the most powerful position he’s ever been.
A poll conducted by The Washington Post in July analyses the hypothetical outcome of Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush winning their party’s primaries. Bernie Sanders is trailing closely behind, but as of November, Clinton is still leading with 9 points. If the Republican electorate begrudgingly consolidates behind Bush, the difference in a Democrat or a Republican taking office would narrow into the margin-of-error territory. If Trump makes a third-party bid as an independent, he would steal enough votes from Bush to push Clinton into the finish line by 16 points.
There’s method in his madness. By going unscripted, Trump is attracting the disillusioned with robust, patriotic declarations, as well as raising the stakes for the Republican Party’s national committee to make a decision. That decision is whether to include him and tarnish the Grand Old Party’s already stigmatised image, or risk handing the race to Hillary Clinton when he runs as an independent. Trump initiating a three-way race will not be cheap for Clinton, as he will be the reason that she sails through to the White House. And if he doesn’t, the Republican Party will owe him for not giving it to Clinton. It’s a win-win situation.
By constantly churning out contentious quotes that oversimplify foreign and domestic issues, Trump is able to draw in loyal jingoists. Even if he were to cease all word vomit, his misplaced popularity would ensure that he stays in the spotlight. In addition to his willingness and financial ability to fund his own campaign, Trump has explicitly said, “I’ll have to see how I’m being treated by the Republicans—if they’re not fair, that [running as an Independent candidate] would be a factor.”
The question stands, why would Donald Trump help Hillary Clinton obtain presidency?
It’s public knowledge that the real estate magnate donated to Clinton’s previous races for the New York State Senate in 2002, 2005, 2006, and 2007. But he has also been generous with the power couple’s charity, the Clinton Foundation, where he has donated at least £66,299. He’s also shared his precious life events with her; Hillary having attended Donald and Melania’s wedding in 2005. But Clinton isn’t the only candidate he’s been a helping hand in putting into office—Harry Reid (D-NV), Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have all received funds that can be traced back to Trump. His political spending has reflected his Democratic leanings, his stances shifting almost as soon as his money moved to Republican candidates.
In the beginning of his donating career, Trump told Playboy Magazine in 1990 that “if I ever ran for office, I’d do better as a Democrat than as a Republican—and that’s not because I’d be more liberal, because I’m conservative. But the working guy would elect me. He likes me.” He went so far as announcing that Republicans are “too crazy right” in 1999. Before his presidential run, he had expressed support for a 14.25 per cent wealth tax, single-payer healthcare, and an assault weapons ban. As recent as 2004, Trump had told CNN that he didn’t see himself as a Republican.
The Center for Responsive Politics charts his publicly available contributions (omitting the untraceable funds of super PACs) as totalling to over £990,000, adjusted for inflation since 1989. Being a businessman, Trump did not lean entirely to one or the other party; but from 1989 to 2009 he has given more than half of said amount to Democratic interests. 2011 was the first year he gave almost entirely to the Republicans (he donated around £552 to Democrats in 2013) and it’s been consistent since then.
Trump could want political favours from his best friend in the Oval Office. Considering he and Bill Clinton exchanged a private telephone conversation right before the reality TV star announced his intentions, it wouldn’t be a completely ridiculous suggestion. In 1996, the still emerging mogul tried to force an elderly widow out of her home so that he could build a casino on her land—using Hillary Clinton as his own personal puppet wouldn’t be the first time he’s acted amorally.
What the American people are seeing is a new level of corporate control infiltrating their democratic system. Some honest, hardworking citizens are being fooled that this orange monstrosity is the second coming of Reagan (or the Republican Obama) that they’ve been waiting for. Even without scrutinizing his campaign and political history, one can predict that a man so obsessed with vanity would never want a position that so drastically ages you. Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is a joke that will only be funny if the Republican Party successfully defeat him.