Should America give The Donald a chance?
In an ideal world, today we would be talking about what a Rubio, Bush or Cruz presidency would look like. Everyone would have been calmer and more secure about the likelihood of a strong, principled, conservative candidate entering the White House. Alas, ideal conditions do not exist and today Mr. Trump’s victory in the primaries has put his party in a dangerous predicament. Some are warming up to him, others are still unconvinced. There are also those who are forced to support and vote for the businessman-turned-politician for the sake of preventing Hillary Clinton from re-entering the White House. Well, when life gives you lemons, you make a lemonade.
If you ask someone that does not usually follow politics, who does he think should be the next president of the United States, the most probable answer would be: well, I do not know who else is there, but definitely not Donald Trump. If you try to get any reason as to why this Mr. Trump would be such a tragedy, the reply would most certainly be about something he candidate has said or done. Yes, Donald Trump is a controversial figure. He has made some statements during his 11-months of campaigning that are hard to forget. The wall with Mexico, for which he has a very detailed plan on his webpage; revisiting trade agreements such as TTIP, NAFTA and TPP; bringing waterboarding back as an interrogation technique — these are only some of the provocative issues that have sent shockwaves through the political establishment.
Why is Mr. Trump making these proposals? Take the trade agreements, for example. He believes they benefit more the other parties to these arrangements than the United States. He wants to build a wall with Mexico, because that is the border from where the most of the illegal immigrants come from. According to economists, Chinese yuan is undervalued by 15% at least, which gives China huge export advantages, while US exports to China face heavy tariffs. He wants to change this to benefit his own country. Furthermore, the Republican presumptive nominee plans to end China’s intellectual property violations, which are valued to cost around $300 billion to the US. Donald Trump has also vowed to deal with the main threats the world faces today, like North Korea, ISIS and Vladimir Putin. So, from the perspective of American citizens who want their borders secured, their country to remain the leading geopolitical force and a thriving economy with decreasing unemployment and increasing wellbeing, Mr. Trump does not look that bad at all. Who would not want a president that puts his country’s interests before anything else?
Moreover, he has conservative stances on fiscal policy. His current tax plan includes a decrease of the corporate tax rate to 15% from the 35% that is in place today. Also, American companies overseas, which had moved their tax residence abroad would be able to return to the US by paying a one-off repatriation tax of 10%. He plans to simplify the income tax code. There will be four tax brackets, down from the existing seven. If you are single and earn up to $25.000 or married and together with your spouse you earn up to $50.000, you will not pay any taxes. Additionally, Donald Trump has said he is pro-life, will protect the 2nd amendment, and is against abortion except in cases of incest, rape and when the mother’s life is in danger.
More importantly, he has brought something fresh into the political arena: the need to contain political correctness, which has gone way too far. If in a debate you state a position or make an argument and if the other party does not like it, you will be called a racist, sexist or homophobe. This is especially true in the United States. If its original purpose was being respectful to others, now political correctness has gone to the extremes. As Mr. Trump states it, political correctness takes too much time in a world where there is too much to get done.
If the candidate has these qualities, why he is not welcomed with open arms by the party he is set to represent in the election? Donald Trump is not the typical conservative candidate: he is very much a moderate and highly pragmatic. In fact, if elected, he will be the least conservative Republican president ever. Nevertheless, better a half-Republican than none at all. What concerns Republicans is the fact that he has donated money for several years to Democrats. He has also changed his stance on positions one too many times. In a sense, the candidate is unpredictable and this is both a blessing and a curse.
Mr. Trump may have the ability to shake things up in Washington. Americans are angry and frustrated at both the White House and Capitol Hill. So, this outsider may change things for the better. There is an element of uncertainty here, which bothers some but new things are always frightening. Still, was not Ronald Reagan an outsider as well? Was he not a Democrat turned Republican actor? He was widely opposed by his own party at the time he ran. Yet, Ronald Reagan turned out to be one of the best presidents the US has ever had.
Thus, the next step for the Republican Party is to unite around the frontrunner. That is the one who the republican electorate has chosen, for better or for worse. Surely, Trump has to make some changes in his rhetoric. As he has already said it, he must become more presidential. Moving towards a more conservative language and policies and choosing the right cabinet members and councilors. It will take some time, but the party will accept their nominee because the alternative is worse. Hillary Clinton brings nothing new and is a candidate that carries a lot of baggage from her past. Ms. Clinton has very low favorability ratings even among Democrats. She may have held positions in the government before but her failures outweigh her accomplishments. Her opponents put to her the deaths in Benghazi, using the Clinton Foundation as a cover for tax evasion and receiving foreign bribes, arming the Muslim Brotherhood, escalating the conflict with Russia, lack of ethics during her time as a lawyer, lying about her private e-mail server and the deletion of around 30.000 emails, some of them classified.
The party of Reagan and Lincoln has a very clear road ahead now. They accept Trump and prepare to face Hillary Clinton in November. In the meantime they will begin preparations for the 2020 elections. Is Mr. Trump so bad after all? At the very least he will make politics more entertaining.