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Trump’s Strength

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Those opposing Donald Trump are working on preventing a second term for him as President of the US. Their problem is that despite his failures, the many books written about his deficiencies, the stand-up comics and hosts of late night TV shows making fun of him, the constant stream of embarrassing disclosures, his popularity is not diminishing among his support base. Even the more sensible among his Republican Party are forced to mute their responses to his gaffes.
The latest has been the allegation that he made a racist tweet about four Democratic Congress Women of colour, asking them to return ‘home’ if they didn’t like living in the United States. This tweet is being considered racist because it implies they don’t belong to the US as they are not white. The House of Representatives has even passed a resolution condemning him, with the support of even some Republicans. Despite this, Trump is not only sticking to his guns, but working on using this incident to his advantage.
The Democrats need to learn from the mistakes made by the Congress Party in India. Instead of picking on his words and prejudices, they need to understand the underlying message that has the people’s support. Like the Congress, they need to see how they are perceived by a significant number of the people. Just like PM Modi, Trump is not just seen as representing a set of values, the people are also wary of what they see in the opposition. Everywhere in the democratic countries, people are opting for strong leaders with nationalistic credentials because an extreme leftist ideology is seen driving the opposition; an ideology willing to make all kinds of compromises for the sake of political correctness and a self-serving and contrived value system. In the US, Bernie Sanders is seen to represent this movement, willing to shed the fundamental principles of Capitalism so dear to the American way of life. This harks back to the fear of Communism during the years of the Cold War.
So, Trump may be a very poor example of the Capitalistic system, he is considered better than any socialist who would barter away America’s ‘greatness’ for the sake of wimpy principles. In Trump’s allegedly racist tweets, the people actually see condemnation of the ‘freeloaders’ who benefit from the American system but work to destroy it from within. Unfortunately, the Democrats have allowed Trump to occupy this political space almost entirely and, unless a fresh narrative is developed quickly, the dependence on minority votes won’t do it, just as it didn’t in India.