Research

Trade and Globalisation

Opinions

Super Tuesday

29 Feb 2016 - 10:52
Source: DonkeyHotey/Flickr

Super Tuesday. It sounds like an advertising slogan straight out of the American shopping paradise. Where consumers can get their bargains. Although in this case, it's political window shopping. American election campaigns are increasingly taking on the character of political marketing. In a country without actual party manifestos and the cult of 'personality' in the media the result is, just like actual shopping, that it's a seller's market. So it's hardly surprising that an entrepreneur and marketing guru like Donald Trump is currently making the biggest gains. Without even putting any specific content in the shop window, he nonetheless manages to enchant the public.

He makes every possible use of economic insecurity and fear in relation to international terrorism. And he offers the most appealing 'enticements': a wall paid for by Mexico, radical tax cuts that no one has to pay for and jobs; very many jobs, with his carefree attitude to diplomacy and foreign relations in respect of countries such as China. And the Europeans, those benighted beings who have to endure life in a lost continent due to destructive mass immigration from Asia? They're going to have to fend for themselves in terms of security. As if the United States doesn't have its own security issues in a region in which Russia is stretching the boundaries. What's more, this Trump character has a world view in which strong leaders, such as himself and Putin, will soon be able to make good deals together. What a shame that Gadaffi and Saddam Hussein are no longer in the picture. Strong leaders understand each other.

The opinion polls seem to indicate that Trump is going to win big on Tuesday. The public is so fed up with the broken political machine in Washington and the powerless establishment propping it up that Trump has the power to do well among almost all sections of society. But anyone who takes the trouble to analyse the figures will see that the most significant part of his support is to be found in the poorly-educated, middle-aged whites of small-town America, with a focus on the south of the US. This group of voters is intellectually least well-equipped to offer resistance to his 'bulldozer' opinions. After all, Trump is promising to raze Washington politics to the ground and, in no time at all, resurrect the kind of America 'we used to know'. 

Trump is likely to win the southern states of Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. Working in his favour is the fact that opponents such as Cruz, Rubio and Kasich are dividing the rest of the vote for the Republican ticket.

Success breeds success. And gives Trump the Big Mo. So far, he looks unbeatable. Remember that populist uprisings, such as that inspired by communist-hunter Joseph McCarthy in the nineteen-fifties, have a habit of sticking in the public consciousness.

And yet, Trump is not unbeatable on all fronts. The Texan senator Ted Cruz still has a good chance of winning in his own state, which represents a lot of votes for delegates. Neither has Marco Rubio yet been eliminated. Until 15 March, delegates are proportionally assigned and, if Rubio manages to restrict the deficit in the various Super Tuesday states, or at least score around the 20 per cent mark, he will still be able to attract some delegates. So 15 March is the big day, because that’s when it is Florida's turn. If Rubio takes his home state, the 'winner takes all' principle will give him all the electors.

It is crucial that other Republican candidates form a united front in the weeks to come. Kasich, Carson and, preferably Cruz too, must pull out. And Jeb Bush must publicly back Rubio. But will it all happen like that? Common sense must prevail in order to prevent an unbalanced individual such as Trump, who claims to have been sent by God and whose opinions change continually, from winning the Republican nomination. The prestige of the US and, ultimately the security of the world is at risk. And the use of the term 'unbalanced individual' is certainly appropriate. Such a person could be defined by strange behaviour over a sustained period of time. In that sense, Trump fits the bill all too well. In my view, someone like that may not hold the most important political office in the world.

Behind the scene several big Republican donors and strategists are meeting at this very moment to organize and implement a so called media ad-bombardment. Goal is to inform the voters that Trump is involved in all kinds of scandals, for instance the financial malpractices and fake study programs of his so called Trump University. The latest scandal is the denial of Trump to distance himself loud and clear from the support of a Ku Klux Klan leader.