Donald Trump has announced that he is running for the Republican nomination, but is he really in it to win?
There’s no doubt that we’re excited that Donald Trump is running for President of the United States. Trump has a track record of lodging his foot firmly in his mouth and going boldly forth. From his repeated demands to see President Obama’s birth certificate, to paying actors fifty dollars to cheer at his campaign launch, to his latest claim that the United States in the dumping ground for Mexico’s mendicants, Donald Trump has us in for one hell of a ride.
Although Trump’s announcement speech was filled with hare-brained comments, the strangest part was when he descended into incredibly offensive comments about Mexico and Mexicans. Trump proposes to stop illegal immigration from Mexico by building a large wall along the United States’ southern border. Furthermore, he insists that it will be Mexico that will pay for it. Apart from the impossibility of forcing a Mexican government that has been largely usurped by drug cartels outside its major cities to pay for a large-scale construction project, Trump hasn’t articulated how such a wall would actually curb illegal immigration, considering that large parts of the border are already fenced. In any case, net migration from Mexico since 2010 has been close to zero.
Donald Trump also asserted that “the U.S. has become a dumping ground for everyone else’s problems”. It would seem however that the the rest of the world is in fact a dumping ground for U.S. economic problems. As CNN’s Sally Kohn explains, the North American Free Trade Agreement, of which Mexico and the U.S. are parties, means that taxpayer-subsidized corn from the U.S. has flooded the Mexican market. Apart from destroying local agriculture, this means that corn products, such as tortillas, can be produced in Mexico at a fraction of the U.S. cost.
It is strange that a serious presidential candidate would make such incredible remarks that would alienate hispanic voters. This is especially odd considering the importance of the hispanic vote for the Republican Party continues to grow. Then again, Donald Trump is not a serious candidate for President of the United States. His candidacy is merely a platform for him to squawk his extreme right-wing views and to appeal to an increasingly rabid fringe of the Republican Party. Polling suggests that Donald Trump is in fact the most disliked Presidential candidate since 1980.
Apart from this, Trump’s campaign is built on a very narrow base. Although he can point to his business success, which some argue is grossly exaggerated in any case, there is little more about him that would appeal to either Republicans or mainstream voters at the general election. Trump’s invective has the all the effectiveness of an old man yelling on a bus and if his gaffe-ridden performance thus far is anything to go by, the rest of his campaign will be just as ridiculous. Despite this or perhaps because of it, Donald Trump will no doubt provide some entertainment value and dinner party conversation for the rest of the campaign.