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US ELECTIONS

Why Trump is still favourite in 2020 polls

Already the Democratic Party is at the throws of their primaries. A field of 23 candidates have declared interest and warming up for the nominations

In Summary

• Since Trump occupied the White House, Democrats have struggled to find their footing in the new dynamic American political landscape.

• His nationalist ideals have been replicated elsewhere in Europe most notably the success of Brexit proponents at the referendum.

US President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington on May 3, 2018. /
US President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington on May 3, 2018. /
Image: REUTERS

The US is gearing up for the next general election in November 2020.

Already the Democratic Party is at the throes of their primaries. A field of 23 candidates have declared an interest and warming up for the nominations.

It is a mix of old timers such as Bernie Sanders, many more women like none other in the party history, those pushing new frontiers as the same-sex partners, and new sensation Joe Biden.

 

The former Vice-President is the latest entrant that has excited the Democrats’ base within the shortest time. Pollsters claim he is riding on name recognition and may soon fade in popularity. However, many Democrats believe he is the antidote to the bullish Donald Trump.

 
 

Since Trump occupied the White House, Democrats have struggled to find their footing in the new dynamic American political landscape, which the President has altered in content and character.

Democrats seem to have been shell-shocked by the defeat of the establishment candidate, Hillary Clinton.

Biden had then been persuaded to shelve his ambitions in favour of the former secretary of state. However, Trump rode on the nationalist agenda sweeping across the globe and won.

He espoused values that were considered long dead in the US political fabric. His opponents were sure he could not win and even after winning, they still believed he would easily flounder and exit the presidency before his term ends.

He has, however, weathered storms in a manner that has confounded his party and bewildered his rivals. It is in this background that the entry of Biden was such a welcome relief to the Democrats. The early and previous candidates seeking the party ticket were considered no match for the pushy Trump.

During the campaigns, the Trump team appeared to be very cozy with the Russian establishment

 

. The Democrats, working in cahoots with disenchanted Republicans, immediately latched on this to bring down Trump.

They weaved the narrative that Trump had won by manipulating the electoral data using Russian technical support, thus external interference. This was an indictment on the sovereignty of the American people and versatility of the US technology.

The president was accused of being unable to protect American interest against his personal. His open closeness with the Russian leader Vladimir Putin did not help matters. In response, a special counsel, Robert Mueller was appointed to investigate and recommend appropriate action to be taken in case of culpability.

As Mueller summoned close allies of Trump and carted away documents considered crucial for his investigations, many of his critics were sure he would be nailed.

Some White House officials refused to comply and were promptly subpoenaed. Key officials confessed damning information about what appeared to amount to collusion with a hostile country.

They offered to be witnesses in exchange of lesser penalties. Trump himself replaced top officials, including the Attorney General, at the slightest provocation.

At long last in early April the Mueller Report was submitted to Congress and it marked an anticlimax.

There was nothing significant to pin the President down and Mueller fell short of clearing Trump of any wrongdoing.

He did not find Trump innocent, but it was most significant that he did not find him guilty of any of the many allegations. Congress has now been left to discuss the merits of the decision of the Attorney General to forward a redacted version of the report instead of the full findings.

This report has vindicated Trump, who had maintained stoic innocence in a hostile environment where he was presumed guilty as charged. The Russian collusion charge had hanged on his neck like an albatross. It is therefore understandable that he popped champagne when the report finally exonerated him.

When Trump took the reins of power, the economy had started to experience decline. He had blamed this on bad trade and labour policies of the previous administrations that favoured outsiders. He redefined these outsiders as competitors and enemies.

 
 

Consider that most of these had been long-standing allies of the US. He averred that these erstwhile allies had engaged the US in a lopsided relationship that disadvantaged the American citizens and strategic interests.

He became overtly hostile to NATO and the European Union. He pushed a nationalist agenda that sought to protect American workers against the unmitigated influx of immigrants.

As the economy began to boom, there was exhibited heightened hostility towards foreigners. Those from Mexico were particularly targeted and violently pushed back to the borders.

Ordinary Americans are happy with the economy and they believe it is because of Trump’s efforts to stop foreigners from unduly benefitting from the bounty of the American dream.

His nationalist ideals have been replicated elsewhere in Europe most notably the success of Brexit proponents at the referendum. German leader Angela Merkel almost lost the last elections on account of her open border policy. Increasingly, nationalist and protectionist agenda are gaining much more ground and faster than the previously preferred global village outlook.

Trump has, therefore, emerged as the forbearer of a new world order different and distinct from Ronald Reagan’s NWO vision.

Within two years in office he has rewritten the international relations protocol and won admirers across the globe. He is engaging states and leaders on his terms and brooks limited, if at all negotiations. Nothing works better for a sitting American president seeking reelection like a booming economy and vanquished global antagonists.

China has always been a thorn in the flesh of the US. Successive administrations always felt that the rising Asian dragon conducted its dealings in unfair and unethical manner.

However, none had the courage to confront China the way Trump has taken economic giant head-on. He has made good his threat to shut out Chinese businesses if they did not conform to the US new demands.

He maintains that Chinese businesses in America have been acting as espionage agents of Beijing. His notable deterrent action in this front has been to declare Huawei Inc. an intelligence gathering outfit for Chinese government. American companies have now been barred from selling or buying components from the Chinese communication giant.

Friendly states have also been warned that they will no longer benefit from intelligence sharing if they operate Huawei communication frameworks.

The impact was immediate and effective. Earlier, the Trump administration had imposed restrictive tariffs on steel imports from China. Remember that during his campaigns he visited steel-producing states and assured them that their woes would end as soon as he won. China complained and responded by imposing some tariffs on a quid pro quo basis, but Beijing remained with the short end of the stick.

The two examples serve to illustrate how Trump has moved to placate the ego of the American business and put money in the pockets of ordinary citizens. He provoked what many considered unnecessary tiff with Canada over trade relations.

Canada and the US have always been like brothers ever since their respective independence.

The decision to bolt out of NAFTA and demand for renegotiations caught everyone by surprise. But even on this, many Americans now seem to agree that the relationship with Canada was never symbiotic but disadvantaged the US.

To cement his stranglehold of the American psyche he needed to find someone to be aggressive against.

War expedition is the US’s global frontier for restrictive public expenditure. Iran has presented a perfect opportunity to rally America to war. President Barack Obama had negotiated some agreements with Iran just before he left the White House. In the agreements, Iran was to sell some of its oil to finance domestic budget.

Trump has annulled this arrangement and claims that Iran is using its oil revenue to finance global terrorism. Terrorism is to current American generation what communism was to their forefathers.

Trump thus has the citizens on his side and a weak democratic party to contend with, the reelection is his to lose.

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