By Arab News
By Mohammed Fahd Al-Harthi
The discussion in Washington is shifting toward a controversial man, Donald Trump, and his chances to win the presidential race. The person who was once a joke to politicians and analysts is leading the polls against his competitors in the Republican Party. My visit to Washington coincided with a CNN debate with 16 Republican candidates, and it was obvious how other candidates treated him seriously and fiercely attacked him trying to reveal political weaknesses. He was indeed ignorant in politics and his daring and even rude persona didn’t help cover his lack of knowledge and left him embarrassed. He reiterated he wanted to bring prestige back to the US but he never presented a program to achieve this, and he kept talking about general issues.
US media outlets are following Trump’s every move, not because they are interested or convinced of his views but because Trump is a rich material for their audiences. The competition in the world of media makes Trump a desirable subject to follow with the hope of attracting a wider audience. Media then fails when it gives up its role as the fourth estate.
The audience doesn’t follow Trump out of admiration or agreement, but because he’s different and his remarks mostly negate the American constitution and values that built the US. The initial results after the second debate showed a large gap in Trump’s favor over his opponents. The joke in past weeks that Trump would be the Republican candidate is now an issue observers predict.
Analysts say declining American values and the Americans’ disappointment over politicians’ failure is the main reason driving them to look for an alternative, and it seems that Trump found an opportunity to be in the spotlight due to the lack of a charismatic personality among Republican candidates.
He said that his massive fortune would be the sole funder for his campaign, explaining a main reason behind his independence from the chains of businesspeople and institutions who usually pay large sums to fund presidential candidates. His funny and weird opinions find a way to people’s hearts. For example, he promised to return 12 million Mexican immigrants home which, albeit the right-wing line, tackles a deep and hidden desire among Americans originating from the fact that foreigners take on local job opportunities.
Not only in the US, this right-wing ideology has been finding traction in European countries such as France, Holland and Norway. These nations have been stressing humanitarian values and principles but when possible they vote for a party that do not carry these ideologies. This anti-foreign sentiment is growing in the West where people want to live in their bubble, away from the world’s problems.
Going back to Trump, it’s strange to see him boast that he bought other politicians when he said in the debate that he donated to most of the candidates on the stage: “They would respond to my requests two or three years later,” he justifies in an indirect recognition of using bribery. Yet, the polls favor him, thus exposing a real flaw in mainstream American culture as well as political awareness.
It’s dangerous that a superficial audience would make the important decision of choosing the White House leader, influencing the US and the whole world. It’s a problem that Trump and his advisers found the American weak link— those who are eager for a strong, albeit rude personality.
The bureaucracy that tangled Washington left the audience hungry for somebody to break that tableau. This is where Trump’s electoral campaign is succeeding.
While polls suggest the rising popularity of Trump, leading politicians and writers think this is crazy and disastrous. They believe that the sense of excitement will fade in the next few weeks, and that Americans will recognize Trump’s shallowness.
When confrontation happens, the most confident will shine. For me, I see HP’s former CEO Carly Fiorina taking the lead, especially after she showed high intelligence and knowledge in the second debate.
Here I quote Frederick Nietzsche who says: “In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.”