Trumping Democracy–The Dysfunction of American Politics


March 17, 2016

COMMENT: My University colleague, Dr. Mike, as  he is popularly known on campus, is disappointed with the state of American politics today. The party of Lincoln, Eisenhower, Reagan and Bush The First has been shamed by Donald Trump, a political novice, and his rowdy supporters and followers. Listen to his campaign speeches and you will realise that they are devoid of real substance. He is dangerous to America and the world and yet he is the front runner in the race for the Republican Party  nomination.

I am an admirer of the American tradition of democratic discourse, but I now find that American politics has degenerated into a sort of shouting match among the various contenders from both parties. Apart from Bernie Sanders, none of them make any sense. Slogans, cliches, fear and threats, sound bites, insults, and mudslinging have taken over and the state of democracy in America is precarious and deplorable.

I find it sickening to listen to political pundits on CNN who are trying to make sense out of nonsense. As Mike says, “[T]his is the politics of showbiz, where success is measured in air time and column inches”. No wonder,  the celebrity Mr. Trump is a master at the game. He wants to make America great, but he is actually making America grotesque. ” God Help America, the Land of the Free” if Mr Trump is elected President in November, 2016.

As for Secretary Hillary Clinton, she neither has the charisma and leadership qualities nor the political savvy of an Obama or a Bill Clinton. She has not been forthright and most Americans cannot trust her. Her campaign has so far been bland and pedestrian. Septuagenarian Bernie has been telling America something about her, but no body is listening. But I would say that the world will be safer with Hillary in charge at the White House. — Din Merican

“I don’t think it comes as a surprise to anyone that I stand firmly against the politics of division, the politics of fear, the politics of intolerance or hateful rhetoric.If we allow politicians to succeed by scaring people, we don’t actually end up any safer. Fear doesn’t make us safer. It makes us weaker.”–Justin Trudeau. Prime Minister of Canada

Trumping Democracy–The Dysfunction of American Politics

by Mike Minehan

Phnom Penh

The Donald Trump 2016 campaign for the US Presidency has now added violence to its mix of confrontation, bigotry, racism and confrontation.

Trump’s campaign rallies recently included a bloody stop in St Louis, and chaos in Chicago. And far from trying to contain the violence, Trump is exacerbating it further by threatening protestors with comments such as “I’d like to punch him right in the face,” and saying “that’s what we need a little bit more of.”

Trump has also threatened that if the Republication nomination goes to someone else, there could be even more violence. “I think you’d have riots,” he said. “I think you’d have problems like you’ve never seen before. I think bad things would happen.”

Of course, Trump relishes confrontation. In a campaign that’s devoid of policy, and which feeds on racial divide and gratuitous abuse, confrontation itself is the substance. It’s all about grabbing the headlines and forcing your way into the news. This is the politics of showbiz, where success is measured in air time and column inches.

But how much can we blame Trump? America is now about celebrities and the silver screen. Accordingly, Trump is now running his own new reality TV show. Himself. He’s graduated from The Apprentice, which was on TV only once per week, and he’s on the news and the talk shows every night. He is also tweeting at every opportunity.

It’s not only the rest of the world that’s starting to feel uneasy about this megalomaniac.The Republican Party itself, which Trump supposedly represents, is now worried about this genie that’s out of the bottle. In Trump’s overblown rhetoric, he claims that “the biggest people in the party are calling. They want to sit down.”

But Republicans quickly distanced themselves from this claim. The only name that Trump dropped was House Speaker Paul Ryan. When contacted, Ryan’s spokesman tweeted that the Speaker had called Trump at Trump’s own request.

It seems like the Republican Party and the American media are now reaping their own whirlwind. This is a voracious whirlwind that has already sucked up and spat out common sense and civility.


6 thoughts on “Trumping Democracy–The Dysfunction of American Politics

  1. Politicians with serious personality disorders – a dangerous combination.

    We have the same problem in 1Malaysia.

  2. As the internet and artificial intelligence, AI, spreads it will become more and more difficult for the public and private sectors to operate in secrecy. All information will be just a mouse click away and just as the First World is slowly being forced to legalize marjuana because they cannot control it the same approach may also be applicable when it comes to secret operations by the state. It is in this context and the general lack of career opportunity jobs for the youth of the world over the past decade and a half that one should view Trumph Politics.

  3. In response to Peggy Noonan’ article on Trump, a commenter called J. Morrison makes the best observation on Trump versus media/pundit, in my opinion:
    Ms. Noonan: Tell us if you have read Art of the Deal. It’s all in there. Trump is following this blueprint. He has spent decades getting big things done, organizing things and working with all sorts of people. He doesn’t spend much of his time writing about things.

    I think the commentariat’s biggest problem is: all of you make your living skillfully using words, in print and on TV and radio, you are all glib and fast on your feet with your opinions and use nuanced arguments and wide vocabulary. Your “product” is communication, and you put the highest value on this skill. (just read the pundits’ scoring on debate “performances”)

    It drives you all crazy that Trump is NOT articulate, has a limited vocabulary and overuses phrases. He speaks in 8th grade level sentences.

    The political commentariat are listening to his words and phrases and are outraged. Voters are HEARING what he says, and respond, “Finally, someone is saying what I think”!

  4. A Point To Ponder
    I wonder how many of us saw the White House Correspondence Dinner speeches when President Obama lampooned D. Trump bringing him down to earth on the birther issue. Despite views to the contrary D. Trump was invited and put on the carpet without a right to reply. Perhaps that is when he decided to run for the presidency.

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