When Donald Trump announced his bid for the White House in mid June there were smiles all round, plenteous expressions of derision, and the odd sneer. A few weeks later, and Trump is leading the polls as the Republican nominee. The reaction of the media to the Trump candidacy recalled the vitriol directed at Sarah Palin, and not only her, but disgracefully, her family too.
Palin challenged the stereotype, as a strong, conservative woman, with a penchant for saying in public things that lots of voters were thinking, but were too scared to put into words themselves for fear of offending the politically correct brigade and being publicly shamed. Things have moved on a bit since the Palin years. It’s quite possible now to, not only be publicly shamed, but actually lose one’s job and income for offending the thought police, as we have seen several times recently in a number of high profile cases.
So Sarah Palin blazed across the scene, and then disappeared from it. But one gets the distinct impression that lots of American voters were hoping for another incantation of the ‘hockey mom’ who will not be silenced by the assorted do-gooders, activists and general hand-wringers, who, like the Death-Eaters of the Harry Potter novels, live only to suck every inch of happiness and joy out of the lives of the lesser beings who are the ordinary citizen. As unlikely as it may sound at first hearing, Donald has come up Trumps in the early running to pick up where Sarah left off, in her quest to take the hockey moms and dads – the ordinary salt of the earth type – all the way to Washington.
It’s not quite a modern day re-run of ‘Mr Smith goes to Washington.’ For one thing, Trump has plenty of the green folding stuff, and can fund a serious campaign, a bit like libertarian poster boy Ron Paul an election or two ago. The point of difference with Mr Trump is his standing in the polls – he is presently the preferred candidate among Republic voters, and has a realistic chance of securing the nomination. Paul came close, but was never in reach of the prize. The genesis of the Trump ascendancy is to be found in the speech accompanying his campaign launch, on home turf at Trump Tower in New York. On that occasion, he made the following, highly controversial comments, words that, subsequently, saw his popularity and standing among voters rise at a level commensurate with the vitriol and scorn directed at him.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best…They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with [them]. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
This is about as politically incorrect as it gets, and would certainly result in a chorus of calls for immediate resignation here in Australia, followed by a stint in a re-education camp, and continued public shaming via the national broadcaster for good measure, pending a renunciation and self confession as a racist or homophobe or islamaphobe or whatever the group the delicate types hoping to be offended belong to. Trump, in saying this, gave the cultural elite, including of course the east coast media, the metaphorical two fingers. He managed to vocalise what was on many people’s minds. Even if his turn of speech was crude, and his generalisations large, Trump was vocalising the lived experience of many Americans, and giving expression to what countless court lists and crime reports, serving police, and the demography of prison populations across the United States, all point to. Trump backed up his comments by offering some further clarification to the perpetually outraged:
“The Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States. They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc. This was evident just this week when, as an example, a young woman in San Francisco was viciously killed by a five time deported Mexican with a long criminal record, who was forced back into the United States because they didn’t want him in Mexico. This is merely one of thousands of similar incidents throughout the United States.”
The campaign slogan of Team Trump is “Make America Great Again.” If he does get the opportunity, he will have his work cut out after the wastage of the Obama years, during which the White House has been occupied by a speech maker whose primary achievements have come direct from the autocue. Trump has also claimed that, in and through his campaign thus far, “the voice of the silent majority is being heard again.” Even if he never attains the White House, if he can achieve only this, in making the voices of the ordinary moms and dads of America heard again over those of the smug cultural elitists who currently hold Washington captive, then it will be a victory for more than just America, but, potentially, for the rest of the free world too.