Original Article in Spanish:
Translation: I have tried to translate into English the original piece in Spanish, as best I can- Cynthia
Fernando Alonso Barahona lawyer, author of 37 books , columnist and former spokesperson of the Julian Marias Association,..
” We want to get rid of politicians who do not listen to people” DONALD TRUMP
Who is Trump?
Donald Trump was born in Queens (New York) on June 14, 1946. He studied economics at the University of Pennsylvania, and began working with his father, Fred Trump, in his real estate business, reaching by 1973 a significant position within the company.
The Trump companies build hotels, casinos, golf courses, homes and the entire series of buildings that form the Trump Entertainment and Resorts Group. [today, The Trump Organization]
Despite his family’s fortune, his roots are humble, as it corresponds with the great American dream. His mother, Mary Trump (1912-2000) was born in Scotland and emigrated to the United States in 1930 working as a housekeeper for four years. In 1936 she married Fred Trump, (1905-1999) businessman and builder.
The young Donald Trump quickly began to learn the paternal business, and while completing his studies participated in the development of a luxury apartment project in Cincinnati. The success was such, that the young man would still brag about this years after graduating in 1968, and by then, his personal fortune was well over $ 200,000 (equivalent to more than $1 million in 2015) However, not everything would be triumphs; in 1969 he lost $70,000 invested on a Broadway Play: “Paris is out.” Nevertheless, this avatar would be the beginning of his successful career in the media and entertainment industry which would provide him with gigantic publicity.
Trump’s big phase begins in 1978 with the building in Manhattan of the Grand Hyatt Hotel. Shortly thereafter, in 1983, the magnate concludes the construction of Trump Tower, emblem of his achievements. From that moment his career will be triumphal – despite being beset by difficulties at different times which he knows how to dodge effectively – and his popularity multiplies by his continuous appearances on television shows. In 2001 Trump completes the Trump World Tower: 72 residential apartments, while continuing to build hotels and all kinds of real estate businesses. According to the press, in 2015, his profits exceeded $600 million.
Trump’s business career had its ups and downs [booms and busts], some of the hotels and casinos suffered bankruptcies, but their owner always chose to look forward and continue with new projects. He also diversified his [business] objectives, never hesitating to sponsor and fund events like Miss Universe or Miss USA, undertaking an interesting facet in education (the creation of Trump University, L.L.C) or participating in sporting events: World Wrestling Entertainment. And all this without ever ceasing to appear in the media. Trump was the executive producer of the reality show “The Apprentice” for NBC, in which participants would compete in business management and the winner would be hired by the tycoon. Fourteen seasons endorse the project that achieved great popularity. As if this were not enough, Donald Trump appears on TV shows and in various films, ( for example, a “cameo” in Home Alone 2 , on popular TV series: Sex and the City, The Prince of Bel Air and The Nanny) With this “baggage,” his undeniable charisma and his ability to attract the masses, it was not surprising that Politics would eventually tempt him. From 1987 to 1999 he was a registered Republican and admirer of Ronald Reagan. In 1999 he switched to the Reform Party, even exploring a possible presidential candidacy in this third party which Ross Perot made somewhat relevant. From 2001 to 2009 he was a Democrat, voted for [Senator] Clinton and opposed the war in Iraq confronting the Bush Dynasty. However, in 2008 he supported McCain against Obama, leaving the Democrat party to continue as an Independent until 2011 when he returns, at least nominally, to the Republican core. Mr. Trump contributed to numerous political campaigns and until recent times his contributions were divided almost equally between Democrats and Republican candidates. From 2013 he begins to get involved in conservative causes and emphasizes his opposition to the policies of President Obama. And finally, on June 16, 2015, in his Trump Tower in New York, he announces his intention to participate in the presidential election of 2016.
The impact on the media is high, but everything seems to go against him, he has no funding and scarcely any millionaire-donors, which is why he resorts to his own companies and his personal account. The press does not take him seriously and sometimes mocks his particular style for getting attention . Nobody seems to give him any possibilities and the majority of the leaders of the Republican Party ignore him at first and then attack him. At the top is the Republican financial elite and the bureaucratic team of Jeb Bush, who soon becomes the Party’s favorite candidate. But the political class is so discredited and Trump’s campaign following so large that he soon takes the lead in the Republican primaries and sinks Jeb Bush, who abandons at the first of change. The “establishment” then woos Marco Rubio, a promising figure who “lets himself be loved,” but loses his second place to Ted Cruz, a conservative who keeps away from the elites and who is the only one who seems to be able to follow Trump’s triumphant trail, especially with the Evangelical and Christian vote.
Nevertheless the Republican class attacks with force acting in parallel with the Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton who, in turn, is having problems to rid herself of the other Democrat candidate, the more left leaning Bernie Sanders, opposed as well to the “establishment.” The figures of the more conventional Republicanism unite and conspire against Trump. He is not supported by either Bush or McCain, while the last Republican candidate (2012) Mitt Romney openly speaks against him, as well as Speaker P Ryan. It does not matter. Ted Cruz, who also does not enjoy official support, deflates when candidates like Dr. Ben Carson (highly respected Black conservative), Mike Huckabee or Rick Santorum, all conservatives, lean towards Trump. Similarly, other “ancient swords” decide to take his side: Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole and the famous and controversial Sarah Palin.
The end result, despite the open confrontation, the initial polls, the all-out attack by large parts of the press which turns into personal mockery and the lack of great funding and financial support, is that Donald Trump obtains an absolute majority of delegates in the primaries and receives the Republican nomination. Even at the Republican Convention in July 2016 the establishment’s “old guard” tries one last move, to bring him down.., [from his high horse]…All is in vain. In addition, while campaigns harass him everywhere, sometimes in bloody fashion, the electorate’s esteem of him rises. Surveys/ Polls mysteriously fluctuate from “dismissing him to supporting him.” And the truth is that at the height of the Summer (2016) Trump already appears virtually tied with Hillary Clinton, apart from holding the record of popular votes ever received by a Republican candidate in the primaries.
How could this be possible? Who is this hyperactive businessman, charismatic, provocative, politically incorrect millionaire who opposes the Wall Street class, admirer of the film “Citizen Kane ” by Orson Welles, and who has been married three times, with five children and until now, eight grandchildren?
Donald Trump, whose third wife Melania, is of Slovenian descent and twenty years younger, turned seventy years old in June 2016. When he published his health reports , the press repeated that he was the strongest of all the candidates .
His slogan, “Make America Great Again,” resonates with millions of Americans and the memory of Ronald Reagan, ( also politically incorrect, Democrat first and Republican later; a classic Hollywood actor, despised by the “establishment” and blasted by the influential liberal media of the time) spreads his wishes of renewal. (Chuck Norris has written an interesting article on the many similarities between Reagan and Trump.) The actor, who tends to move more in Huckabee’s and Cruz’s orbit, is a personal friend of the Bush family, and is also among those popular supporters of the candidate.
Why Trump will win the Presidency of the United States.
A year ago nobody was taking Trump seriously, even six months ago he was still underestimated and no “survey” predicted his nomination. Since two months ago this “joke” has elicited “reaction” and many times, hatred. Why the coincidence between the usual sectors of the (Progressives) Left, the rancid left of course, and the financial elites, joining with the affluent right? After all Donald Trump abhors the Iraq war, is against the established economic power, is moderate in his conservative social agenda and his anti-establishment discourse has drawn him closer to Bernie Sanders’ leftist voters after recognizing that many of his proposals fit into his program, aware of how the alliance between the failed candidate and the power of the Clintons completely abandoned them.
Nonetheless, much of the European , almost all of the Hispanic and important parts of the American press detest him. And this, in spite of another of his campaign’s messages which is “Working for the people and not for the political class, ” that was used (before he did) in numerous “Indignados” [Indignants’] demonstrations in Europe (and particularly in Spain). Before the VOX Party adopted for its campaign, in June 2016, the slogan “Make Spain big again,” Trump’s populist slogans seem to derive straight out of the ideological laboratories of the “PODEMOS” [WE CAN] Party.
There may be a few reasons which reveal the fortitude of the candidate, despite the barrage of criticism:
– Trump is an intruder in the political elite, in the ruling “class.” As an entrepreneur, millionaire, popular in a “reality show” and in the galas of Miss World and wrestling matches, he is tolerated or even praised, but another different thing is to want to make the jump into politics.
– Trump is politically incorrect, he has managed to convey that he says what he thinks, even if this leads him to make mistakes or gaffes. To hear a politician speak clearly, make mistakes or not follow the instructions of image consultants strikes as original, actually revolutionary.
– Several of the policies proposed by Trump certainly attack at the core of some the privileged, established powers: pharmaceuticals, banks, investment funds.
– Indeed Trump has brandished a certain populism, avoiding the usual means, jumping the normal channels and reaching out directly to the ordinary citizen who, for years, distrusts politics in general and the political class in particular. In this sense, it should not surprise that it is in circles, also on bad terms with the established power, (Putin in Russia; the new Eastern European countries such as Poland or Hungary; Marine Le Pen in France; Brexit supporters in Britain) where Trump has obtained unsuspected sympathizers/supporters. Of course none of them have the slightest influence on the presidential election in November.
-Inside a particular wing of the Republican Party (although it should be remembered that the party system in the US is open and has nothing to do with the tight control political parties have in other systems ) the powerful leveraged ruling class sees Trump with panic, fundamentally because it believes – not without reason – that important privileges may be lost if he is able to make his policies succeed.
And yet, all these reasons, turned inside out, are the ones that are boosting Trump’s ascension. Without forgetting that he will have as rival Hillary Rodham Clinton, famous as First Lady during Bill Clinton’s two terms, failed candidate in 2008, defeated by Obama in the Democratic primaries, Secretary of State with the first Obama Administration and certainly a member of the “establishment” in its pure state. Not even the support of almost all the liberal/progressive millionaires in the United States has been able to change the high rate of rejection that Hillary arouses in many voters, in many places.
It could almost be said that each attack, insult, manifestation of contempt corresponds to an increase in his [Trump’s] voters’ intentions. This can be dangerous because it confers a considerable heterogeneity to his voters who may come to expect very different things, even opposing the candidate. But in the short term, victory may be served on a platter… Aware of this certain vagueness, Trump has chosen as his vice president, Mike Pence, a serious and respected conservative [Governor] from Indiana, who declared after accepting the offer: “I am a Christian, Conservative and Republican. In this order ” A full declaration of principles. Pence (1959) is a competent politician, with a rather low profile, and precisely for this he compensates against the excesses of Trump. In the Primaries, he supported Ted Cruz and his “baggage” certainly represents the essence of the classic Republican Party in its conservative line .
The presidency of George W. Bush ended with very low ratings in popularity, but when I published my essay in 2008, “Who is John McCain (Ciudadela)” I included that the rejection of Congress by a majority of the citizens, was even greater than that suffered by the President. Obama has not improved things, rather, the division has increased considerably within the American society and the percentage of citizens who think that the country is headed in the wrong direction is around 50 percent.
As for Hillary Clinton, we have already discussed her rate of rejection which is considerable and [she] represents the opposite of any policy of renewal or regeneration.
And what about Trump’s general proposals which provoke hostility in many sectors, although probably many of them only know of them from cartoons?
Let us see what the official candidacy identifies as priorities. Curiously, all fall under the general heading of Reforms, and it is the presumably conservative candidate who is the one presenting a program of change, while Hillary Clinton (Crooked Hillary as referred by Trump with disdain, making references to her difficulties with the law in the case of the “misused” emails, during her tenure as Secretary of State, and which could have endangered National Security)
- PAY FOR THE WALL , The polemic Wall with Mexico
It is without any doubt the most controversial proposal and which garners Trump the enmity of much of the so-called Latino vote. The argument that the candidate offers in support of his idea is of course politically incorrect. He refers to, as an introduction, section 326 of the PATRIOT Act that requires identifications of financial institutions before making any type of transaction. As the federal regulation ( 312 CFR 130,120,121) for money transfers is not fully applied, Mexico would be benefiting from the continuous flow of dollars it receives from illegal immigration without barely contributing anything in return to the “host [country].” To change the situation Trump / Pence propose the creation of the controversial fence that would separate the borders. They add that immigration is a privilege and not a right, and that the number of hundreds of thousands of annual visas for immigrants from Mexico cannot be maintained. A substantial part of that immigration falls frequently in crime and drug trafficking networks. Trump is determined to demand the Mexican government accept and pay the controversial wall (at a cost of $8 billion). Still – he says – the benefits that Mexico would continue to receive would be high.
If he becomes President, Trump would threaten Mexico with retention of all the money that Mexican [illegal?] immigrants send to their country if they do not agree to pay for the wall. The US government would block all remittances to Mexico which amount to approximately $24 billion a year. According to the candidate, the threat would remain without effect if Mexico makes the “easy decision” and contributes a lump sum payment of between 5 to 10 billion dollars.
It should also be noted that not all of the Latino vote would abandon Trump. Although neither Ted Cruz nor Marco Rubio – so far – have come out in Trump’s support, several conservative and Latino opinion leaders announced they would campaign with the candidate after the Republican Convention of 19- 21 July.
- HEALTHCARE REFORM.
Trump proposes the immediate repeal of ObamaCare as well as the modification of a series of laws that allow for the creation of a new model of health insurance. Here Trump surprises his potential enemies by pointing, although it is a free market system , the right to health and distribution of pharmaceuticals is a public service. The aim is to reduce insurance costs for the middle and working classes, even when it may clamp down on the freedom of activity of the large pharmaceutical companies. Certainly a measure that breaks preconceived schemes.With it he also proposes to eliminate the state barriers that prevent the sale of health insurance across state lines and make the payment of insurance premiums fully tax deductible.
The best social program has always been a job, is the motto of Donald Trump. (Another slogan that reminds us by the way, of the P P in Spain) Trump also links his health care proposals with his immigration proposals. His plan also calls for ” required transparency of prices” to enable patients to “buy and find the best prices” for medical care, and remove the barriers that currently make it difficult to admit into the US healthcare market less expensive foreign drugs.
- US-CHINA TRADE REFORM. Reform of the trading system with China
Trade reform with China is another of Trump’s commitments with a program that supports a strong nationalism and protection of American products. It proposes forcing China to respect intellectual property rights and suggests opposing the illegal exports of Chinese products that cause the destruction of thousands of jobs. And all this with additional policies to reduce the corporate tax, the federal deficit and reinforce American military presence to show the world that the United States continues to have a leadership position around the globe..
The program responds to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act and Consumer Protection Act (2010) launched by Obama, but it also supports the reinstatement of the Glass Steagall Act. This bill, adopted in 1933, during the middle of the Depression, separated traditional banking from investment banking with the objective of preventing the first from making high – risk investments. The financial sector opposes the reinstatement of this measure and its inclusion in the [program’s] text is a populist wink that takes into account the mood of the voter, whom Trump will have to attract.
The pragmatic declaration does not deviate from the traditional support shown by the Republican Party for free trade, even though Trump has stated that he rejects trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)
• Denounce China for manipulating the exchange rate of its currency
• Protect American intellectual property in China
• End export subsidies for China, including the permissive labor and environmental legislation
•Strengthen the position of the United States with the reduction of business taxation, reduction of the public debt and increase military presence in Southeast Asia.
- VETERANS ADMINISTRATION REFORMS. Reform the administrative status of war veterans
The increase of social benefits for war veterans, the elimination of bureaucratic obstacles. Trump decidedly pledges to favor all those men and women ( for whom he dedicates special attention) who have risked their lives to defend their country.
- TAX REFORM.
It is another of the core programs of the Trump / Pence candidacy. The proposal includes the simplification of tax rates and forms; the exemption of the federal income tax for individuals with incomes less than $25,000 annually, a reduction of taxes for businesses, and significant tax benefits for the creation of jobs.
A bachelor who earns $25,000 or less would not have to worry about taxes, as well as a married couple who together earn $ 50,000 or less. That would mean that 75 million households (about 50%) would not pay taxes. Furthermore, the tax cuts will also be for businesses- none will pay more than 15% of their income in taxes. It would also end the current situation in which profits earned abroad are not subject to taxes, with a temporary amnesty at 10%.
And also as a “final shot”: the elimination of tax privileges for the large fortunes. Trump certainly breaks schemes continuously.
The tax rates proposed by Trump in his country have been listed as the lowest since World War II. Proposed rates of 0, 10, 20 and 25 % (today, the highest is 40%), which would simplify the Tax Code. People earning less than $ 25,000 annually would pay no income tax. In addition, he proposes to increase the minimum wage.
- SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS .. THE SECOND AMENDMENT
The Second Amendment rights. The defense of the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right of citizens to bear arms, is another principle which finds in Trump maximum support. And combined with strong reinforcement in the fight against delinquency and crime. A final fact surprises: Trump points without reservations to the American Mental Health System which is broken and ineffective. The vast majority of mass murders with weapons have been committed by mentally ill patients that the system could not accommodate, cure or keep isolated from the rest of the population.
Of course, the powerful NRA (National Rifle Association) fully supports his candidacy.
- IMMIGRATION REFORM.
The Declaration of Principles summarizes perfectly his philosophy:
a) A Nation without borders is not a Nation
b) A Nation without Laws is not a Nation
c) A Nation that does not serve her own citizens is not a Nation
And about those principles… concrete measures: the immediate expulsion of all [illegal] immigrants who commit crimes; ensure the fight against organized mafias (cartels); triple the number of police in charge of security, end sanctuaries [cities] for crime.
He proposes likewise to review with closer attention the applications from “those foreign nationals who want to enter the United States from countries that support terrorists or regions linked to Islamic terrorism.” This last aspect is of great importance since millions of persons in all of Europe,and certainly in America, are really alarmed by the violent growth of the so-called Islamic State, and the passivity shown by many western governments, who seem to limit themselves to express “routine” condemnations. On this point, what is in play, is a form of life, a tradition of liberty and prosperity and the failure, without palliatives, of the so called “multiculturalism,” or the absurd Alliance of Civilizations that a Spanish President, whose name is not worth recalling, tried to launch.
And as a final conclusion: “Put American workers in first place of priorities.”
Definitely, many generalities that perhaps would never had made it this far if not for the formidable capacity of the candidate to lead the debate, following the maxim: “Speak ye of me, even if it is bad.” No one knows with certainty what a Trump Presidency would be like, although those who exaggerate citing his explosive character, his narcissism or his sense for showmanship, should not forget that the position ends up shaping, in a certain sense, the person. Furthermore, the American system is strong and solid. The President enjoys powers, of course, but the Congress and Senate act as a counterbalance [checks and balances] when necessary because in the USA, democracy has not become a “partytocracy.” And powerful men like Nixon (who had to resign from the Presidency in 1974 for the Watergate case) or even Clinton with his interns, also saw his power dampened by the counterbalances of the system, the press in first place.
A few observers have detected some similarity between [President] the presidency of Andrew Jackson, hero of the West, friend of Davy Crockett, with Trump. Even with the impulsive, man of action, Theodore Roosevelt. The truth is that Donald Trump would change the coordinates of power, not all of them because it would be impossible, but sufficiently enough to leave a mark.
[Let us hurl the fly pen]: a certain American nationalism prefers avoiding permanent intervention in the world, strengthening the relations with Russia and Great Britain, perhaps to the detriment of Europe, focusing on the middle classes, so impoverished in recent decades in the West, increasing security and amplifying the fight against terrorism (and radical Islam, in particular), sifting the free market through a certain protectionism for US commerce… And of course that patriotism surrounding the Reaganesque slogan “Make America great Again .”
We will have to wait until November unless a “meltdown” takes place – it can not be ruled out given the power of the opposing economic forces to Trump in strategic alliance with “diluting” forces who abhor the West and its Christian tradition. The truth is that Donald Trump, in his seventy years begins the greatest trajectory of his life. One more, for a man who has not stopped, for even an instant, doing things. A special and unique trajectory.
The reason? The showman Willie Robertson summed it up during his speech at the Convention: ” If you’re a middle class-or working American, be assured that Donald Trump is the only one among the politicians who will not ignore you [have your back].”
Populism? Certainly, but also failure of the conventional political class.
The former presidential hopeful and Arkansas governor (Arkansas, land of the Clintons, by the way) Mike Huckabee, conservative and close to Trump, explained the great change between 2008 (when he followed in the footsteps of McCain, the race to the nomination) and 2016 ( when he had to retire after the first vote in Iowa): “Now people are angry, they want to give the political class a good kick, because it has left them disappointed and forgotten” Something not so very different from what many cry and opine in European movements, but who despise Trump without a previous, minimally solvent, analysis.
The truth is that Trump’s voters are heterogeneous: disenchanted, independent Democrats of the most varied types, white workers who see their future with fear, ofcourse immigrants who are already established but fear instability, conservatives … The goal has not been accomplished yet, with all that it implies – of course – the difficulties in implementing a program with concrete solutions. In this respect, Trump’s verbiage ultimately helps him because people perceive that he is a different politician who seems to say what he thinks, even if often he makes mistakes.
That commitment to the average people (the silent majority also invoked by Nixon at one time), the media whirlwind that accompanies him and the fact that his rival, Hillary is the authentic representative of the old political class (left or right) that people want to punish, will explain – surely – the triumph of Donald Trump.
Next… new chapter- yet to be written.