Tue | Sep 26, 2017

Editorial | No place for Trump’s dystopia

Published:Tuesday | July 26, 2016 | 7:00 AM

Each year, around 20,000 Jamaicans emigrate to the United States of America. They have been doing so for generations. By most estimates, more Jamaicans live in America than the 2.7 million of us who reside in the island.

And apart from the Jamaicans who go to live permanently in the US, many thousands more visit there annually for holidays or to do business. Jamaican emigrants and people of Jamaican descent have helped to enrich the quality of American life. Many hold, or have held, senior positions in business, academia, politics, and government. A relatively recent example is General Colin Powell, who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and later as George W. Bush's secretary of state.

Critically, too, the United States of America is the world's only superpower, with its largest economy, strongest military, and the deepest global influence. America's action, at home or abroad, often establishes the framework by which others behave.

Two things are, therefore, clear. Jamaicans, like many people around the world, are generally enamoured with the United States, drawn by its democracy, creative and entrepreneurial spirit, and the warm openness with which it has welcomed immigrants.

Second, Jamaicans who live there, and, by extension, those of us who live on the island - and there is a case to extend that to the Jamaican state - have a stake in what happens in the USA, not least how it conducts its politics. In that respect, who leads this powerful country is important to Jamaica and the rest of the world.

This takes greater significance at this time as the United States prepares in November to elect the next president. One of the candidates is Donald Trump, the billionaire real-estate developer and impresario who has been nominated by the Republican Party. This week, the Democrats, whose convention began yesterday, will formally nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former secretary of state and the wife of ex-president Bill Clinton.

 

UNSUITABLE AND UNFIT

 

Neither, opinion polls suggest, is particularly well-liked by the American people. Whatever the basis of that sentiment towards Mrs Clinton, this newspaper believes Mr Trump is wholly unsuitable and unfit for the presidency of the United States.

His campaign, thus far, has been primarily an insult-laden diatribe, first against the Republican rivals in the primaries, and now against Mrs Clinton, casting the United States as something of a post-apocalypse nether place, to be made 'great again' by some form of Trumpian magic and, it sometimes appears, bedlamite logic.

But far more worrisome to us is the prism through which Donald Trump arrives at his dystrophic view of America. He blames immigrants, careful to slide in that he means the illegal kind. He has described Mexicans coming across the border as drug dealers and rapists and says he will build a wall between the two countries and force Mexico to pay for its construction. He also plans to ban Muslims entering the United States as a strategy to fight terrorism. He has declared himself the "law and order" candidate.

Discerning people hear in Mr Trump's harangue a dog whistle to ethnicity and race as the blaming of brown and black people for America's perceived problems and appealing to what may be base in the American spirit. He stokes a sense of grievance in a category of Americans who feel they have been left behind by a changing world. The world is replete with demagogues who have ridden such fears to power to the detriment to their countries and the world.

Donald Trump should not be allowed to succeed.