Let’s imagine that every nightmare you’ve ever had has come true and the United States of America votes for President Donald J Trump and Vice-President Sarah Palin.
Just how would this play out in reality?
In truth, Donald Trump is probably no worse than the other Republican hopefuls. Ted Cruz is, if anything, a worse candidate and the others are either downright scary or ridiculous to an extent that only the most stupid are unable to recognise. But he and, of course, Sarah Palin are way worse than David Cameron who has turned out to be the worst thing that has happened to the UK since Margaret Thatcher. In fact, while Cameron presents himself as some kind of Blue Liberal, his government makes Thatcher’s term in government seem remarkably moderate in comparison.
What would a Trump government do?
The hopes of all those who are not natural sympathisers of the Republican Party as we currently understand it (which probably includes the majority of Republican senators and presidents from before the 1980s) is that reality and pragmatism would determine the direction of policy rather than the nut-job ideas that masquerade as policies at the moment. Instead of being racist, sexist, anti-environmental, xenophobic, intolerant and hypocritical, a Trump presidency (like Nixon’s and Eisenhower’s) would temper all the nonsense that appeals to its base support (stupid white southerners) with the recognition that the world’s environment really is going to shit, that nuclear war isn’t worth the posturing, extremists don’t respect American rhetoric and the interests of the top 62 billionaires (whose wealth equals the wealth of the world’s bottom 50% ) doesn’t equate to the interests of humanity and the planet we live on.
However, people thought that in 1932 when Germany’s government changed, foolishly thought this was true of the Soviet Union, hoped might be true of Mao’s China and sometimes wish could be true of North Korea. But I fear that Trump may have more in common with the Salafist extremists whose malevolent influence now dominates Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Just as ISIS and the chess-hating Islamic clerics have taken advantage of the common desire for a simplistic interpretation of Islam, Trump and Palin have taken advantage of the stupidity of that sizeable minority of the first world’s most unequal society and the one that is also most obese, most likely to be shot and most likely to be burdened with phenomenal debt to pay for the medical care that is free in most of the rest of the world’s wealthy nations.
So, it is just about possible that America will be so disenchanted by Hillary Clinton (or that presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is genuinely unelectable) and we see America ruled by the two most ridiculous and dangerous leaders ever known, able to pursue their appalling policies with the support of the already insane Republican politicians in the Senate and Congress.
And then, either the world doesn’t survive the first or (God forbid!) second term, or America squanders all the international good will it’s earned since having elected Obama as president and further sinks in international standing as it further fucks up its environment, arms itself to the teeth at the detriment to its already strained public sector, and sees its faith in the power of capital rewarded by its flight to tax havens and more politically stable nations.
There are those who might welcome this as the necessary pre-condition for world revolution, but the last time these conditions were in place (as a result of the First World War), the outcome was very unpleasant indeed.
I would much rather the risk wasn’t taken and even though Hillary Clinton is no Obama, no Mandela and no Kennedy, she may be preferable to any of the current Republican candidates.
But then, that honour could also be extended to a bucket of cold shit.