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Financially Speaking | Political incorrectness in the age of superpacs

Published:Thursday | December 10, 2015 | 12:39 PM

Political incorrectness in the age of superpacs

Lavern Clarke

Business Editor

For all of Barack Obama's presidency, the Republican Party has been playing 'wink, wink-nod, nod' to what were initially fringe utterances that he is a foreign-born, secret Muslim with one primary goal of tearing down the greatest country in the world. No, not Jamaica - America.

It happened too often to count the numerous times that top officials in the GOP have taken Obama 'at his word' that he is Christian and loves his country. And just like that, fringe nuttery entered the mainstream.

Today, that canard has resulted in a mind-blowing bloc of Americans having questions about their president the same man who rescued their economy and killed their greatest proclaimed enemy, Osama bin Laden - and has led to the rise of Donald Trump. All of this has been helped along by a fourth estate that has lost its way in the age of social media, and tax-hating titans of business who rail against Obama even in the face of millions of jobs, record-setting markets, a strong dollar, economic growth and more riches for the rich.

So the outrage around Trump's continuous pronouncements now rings hollow. And the hand-wringing about how to rein in the real estate tycoon is just a tad amusing. News flash, Donald J. Trump - as he now refers to himself in a third-person frame - cannot be reined in. His ego won't allow it.

There is only one thing that might stop him. He will end his campaign if it starts to cost him business. If DJT counts his fortune this week and finds that his self-professed US$10 billion has fallen to, say, US$9 billion, and is about to fall further, if finalising business deals starts to become a problem, then he will reconsider. Because that would be 'yuuuge'.

He won't stop if the de facto leader of the Republican Party self-righteously denounces his pronouncements as contrary to the GOP's values and conservatism, but then says, 'Yeah, he has my vote if he is nominee'. That leaves DJT with one takeaway - there is no line.

American politics has found itself in a place where its office seekers are always in campaign mode, 365 days of the year. That circumstance is fuelled by unfettered money from superpacs and rich ideologues. In that scenario, many more DJT mini-me's will emerge over time.

The American media used to be an effective bulwark. Now, the proliferation of new media and the financial struggles of the traditional guard have refocused their attention on survival. Which means an insatiable appetite for clicks and audience as the drivers of business. Which means that sound bites trump substance. And those pesky - and boring - things called facts and context have become irritants to be discarded.

Some say DJT's political strategy of alienating one group after another has one sure result in 2016 - Hilary Clinton, you're hired! The world can only hope.