Fri | Sep 21, 2018

Editorial | Urge friends, family to vote against Trump

Published:Monday | November 7, 2016 | 12:00 AM

If Donald Trump were vying to be prime minister of Jamaica, he wouldn't come close. If he had a chance, it certainly would have evaporated after the emergence of video recordings of the Republican Party's nominee bragging about his ability, because of his celebrity status, to sexually assault women, including grabbing them "by the p...y".

As it is, Mr Trump's candidacy has not only remained viable, but he has a real shot at becoming president after Americans vote tomorrow. National opinion polls in the United States show him to be neck and neck with his Democratic rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

It is not unreasonable, in the circumstance, to conclude that Jamaica, at least on the evidence of the current presidential campaign, engages in more sophisticated politics than the United States, where the staple of the contest, particularly on Mr Trump's part, has been the trading of insults rather than the discourse on the substance of policy. Unfortunately, the quality of political discourse, notwithstanding the relatively position and status of the United States in the world, is not the same. They are not even close.

Jamaica may have respect in the world beyond its size and wealth, but it is a mid-level developing nation whose global muscle-flexing is the logic of its argument, the integrity of its policies, and moral suasion. The United States is the world's largest economy, with the mightiest and most sophisticated military force. It remains the only superpower. This gives America a special place in the world, reinforced by the Jeffersonian precepts that have guided its democracy.

Who leads the United States, therefore, matters. Whatever arguments may be made against Mrs Clinton, this newspaper is clear that it shouldn't be Donald Trump. Our view is not only because of Mr Trump's misogyny, which allows him to call women slobs and pigs, or armed with mouthfuls of Tic Tacs, expropriate sexual favours from them.

Nor is it only his racism that causes him to attempt to delegitimise Barack Obama's presidency by questioning his American citizenship, nor that he had the gall to tell African Americans that given their state, they couldn't do worse under a Trump presidency.




Nor is it the fact of the xenophobia and ethnophobia that made him brand Mexican immigrants as drug peddlers and racists, or to propose a ban on Muslims entering the United States. All these things should disqualify Mr Trump from the presidency.

But there is something profoundly deeper, on which all these things rest, that makes him uniquely unfit to be the president of the United States of America. Donald Trump is ignorant. He is intellectually incurious.

His perception of the world is through the prism of 140 characters - the most important ones being D & T - and as an extension of his Twitter handle. His foreign policy is the product of pithy phrases. That makes Donald Trump dangerous as leader of the most powerful country, with access to nuclear codes and devices that might be activated at the merest provocation or perceived sleight.

Jamaica, therefore, has a major stake in not having Mr Trump in the White House. Jamaicans at home should make that plain to Jamaicans in the United States, or to anyone they know with a vote in the USA, who they should urge to cast their ballots against Donald Trump.