Full disclosure: I reside in the United States, and this article will be from the point of view of the past and current American political climate. Having said that, I think we can all agree that implications of North American Politics have an extensive outreach to an increasingly connected global audience. Also, this is not a revelation or a article that is critical of Mr. Trump. I only hope to examine the surroundings a Trump presidency might entail. I believe it is prudent that we understand the depths of despair, in a toxic political climate.
The Trump Doctrine & A Rising Tide of Extremism
Over a period of 30 years, from the election of Mr. Reagan in 1980 to the nomination of Mr. Romney in 2012, right wing politics was, and has been, a balancing act in an increasingly bipartisan political environment. Starting with an emphasis on Christian values and fiscal conservatism in 1980s-90s, to (extremely) high military spending and tighter immigration in a post 9/11 world, conservatives and particularly, the Republican Party have always tried to be the flip side the country needed. The same can be said about the left and liberal politics. This trial and error in choosing a straighter political path is what binds Americans, even when half the country doesn’t agree with the other. However, in Mr. Trump’s nomination this year, this balancing act is on the verge of collapsing.
Which brings me to the answer to the title. Fascism.
There are a concerning number of American voters who are susceptible to the charlatan of extreme right wing politics. Rise in right wing extremism is almost often associated with a fall in employment and economic growth, but what is surprising this election cycle is that the state of the union, economically speaking, is on an upward trend. So how this is movement on the rise? My own personal opinion is that America is more diverse than ever, and the white ageing population having held the political baton for a better part of the past century is reluctant to let go. This makes a Xenophobic hard liner seem like a plausible choice. Riding a wave of this extremist thinking, Mr. Trump might be buoyed to follow through on the most hard-line policies such as getting rid of Freedom of the Press, deporting all Illegals with impunity, cracking down on inner cities and doubling police, banning religions and having ideological tests to get in this country and having to register in a database your religion. That’s the end of the “American Dream” right there.
If the lone super power in the world, and “the leader of the free world” fell to something even close to resembling a Fascist regime, it would spell disaster on a Global scale. Not only would it spell political and economic jeopardy in the US, but embolden other right wing extremist movements based on Xenophobia, Homophobia and an unwillingness to surrender national identity. Such a trickle down impact from the US will increase multiple-fold in case Mr. Trump is elected and follows through with his platform. This is one of the major reasons The Economist places a Trump Presidency among the top 10 global risks of 2016.
Another effect of such extremism and a Trump Presidency would be an impact on global conflicts. The US has always seen itself as the policeman of the world, and nations often lean on them for ceasefires or conflict resolutions (great debate on this by the McCain Institute for International Leadership). A major global worry is the reaction from a Trump cabinet to an international crisis. A gross mishandling of such a situation (perhaps by being overly antagonistic, perhaps by being overly isolationist), will make it much more likely for a major war to start. It is no surprise that 50 Republican national security officials, who’ve served GOP Presidents from Nixon to Bush, oppose Mr. Trump.
I understand this article seems to overtly thrash Mr. Trump and his policies. However, from a personal standpoint, a realistic political development that scares me the most is if Mr. Trump goes through with his doctrine as the President, riding a wave of right wing extremism. And, I haven’t even covered Climate Change – a topic I feel much too strongly about.
Yes, I’m scared of a Trump Presidency, but I will be happy to be proven wrong.
Probably this can be summed up by a great quote from a political icon:
It is not possible to form a just judgement of a public figure who has attained the enormous dimensions of Adolf Hitler until his life work as a whole is before us. Although no subsequent political action can condone wrong deeds, history is replete with examples of men who have risen to power by employing stern, grim, and even frightful methods, but who, nevertheless, when their life is revealed as a whole, have been regarded as great figures whose lives have enriched the story of mankind. So may it be with Hitler.
-Winston Churchill, 1935, Great Contemporaries
He was wrong about Hitler. We may be wrong about Donald Trump.