For the last year or so, Donald Trump has shaken up, and let’s be honest – totally transformed the face of American politics. He has also crashed through the Republican establishment like a wrecking ball, and his impact in the party will be long lasting.
In the recent Wisconsin and Colorado primaries, Trump was trounced by Ted Cruz, exposing Trump’s key weakness: his lack of grassroots campaign infrastructure and his over reliance on free publicity and use of mass media as the backbone and mouthpiece for his political campaign. Cruz’s win now means that Trump will lack the numbers to guarantee automatic Republican presidential nomination, giving Cruz more than a fighting chance to attract the required delegate vote, and therefore securing the nomination.
Trump has been a whirl wind through politics and the political establishment, whose impact has far surpassed the borders of the USA. His ‘plain speaking’, belligerence, and iconoclastic destruction of so called ‘progressive’ and politically correct sacred cows has resonated with large swathes of the American and international community. Make no mistake – Donald Trump’s foray into the presidential campaign will have lasting effects throughout both society and politics. In many respects, Trump’s shake-up of politics was desperately needed. But for politics, and indeed Trump himself to benefit from his foray and shake-up of politics, he must graciously bow out of the campaign – and soon.
As recent primaries have show, Trump increasingly appears to be in a contest that he cannot win. And that doesn’t even take into account the tough contest he would have against Hilary Clinton – a shrewd and seasoned career politician. I shudder at the thought of a Hillary Clinton presidency. But a Trump presidency would be disastrous. What’s more, for Trump to continue on flailing as an ungracious loser would also be utterly disastrous for the nation.
If Trump bows out of the campaign now, he will be celebrated in the future as the man who gave not only American politics, but international politics the shake-up it desperately needed. He will be thanked, and regarded as a hero and man who was prepared to smash political idols, and gave voice to the strong feelings of discontent from ordinary people. In the future, he may also attract grudging acknowledgement from his political opponents over the powerful impact he made.
Trump will not be thanked if he goes out as a sore loser, wreaking destruction, division and ill feeling in his wake.
Trump, it is time.
Yet the question remains: does Trump have the character to take the necessary and gracious step to bow out?