My Mexican friends here keep asking, “Que pasa con Trump”. They ask, because they just do not understand the US political process, and the media keeps saying the man is rising in the polls, and in popularity. They are concerned that the next president of the country next door, might be someone who hates Mexicans. I can understand that. How would you like it if a racist loudmouth just moved next door to you, and his tirades were directed at you or anyone of your color or ethnicity? Makes for a very un-neighborly arrangement to say the least. I keep telling Mexicans though, no worry, Donald Trump will not be president, and that what they are hearing is just politics as usual in the US. It not usual to use such racist rhetoric as a political tool, I must admit. A shameless and embarrassing tactic that, for those of us who live in Mexico with what is a very non-violent group of confused and hurt people, makes us cringe every time the man opens his mouth. To them, I keep saying, stop worrying and try not to pay attention, as hard as that might be. He is loud, annoying, obnoxious and most important, wrong in everything he says. Ultimately, that is why he will not be the next president of the US, and the election process in the US, as pathetically bad as it is, will show that.
The main reason for their concern is as I say, they just do not understand our political process. They think Trump is right now, running for president, when in fact, he is running for the Republican nomination to be the candidate to run for president, not even close to the same thing. The process is typically one that causes candidates to take their message to the extreme, in order to win the party’s base of voters. Once you secure the nomination, candidates then return to more of a moderate position in order to win a general election. Political logic says you must attract middle voters to win general elections, but to get your party’s nomination, you must win the loyalty of its members by being hard-line on the issues they claim to care about. Republicans, like Democrats, use Mexicans, and the issues that surround them, as a way to connect with voters. However, most Republicans, like most US Americans, are not racist, and Trump’s racist rhetoric finding acceptance, will end here pretty quick as his “refreshing talk”, is constantly revealed as factually wrong.
That is the problem Trump has and why he will not be the next president, and I doubt very seriously, the Republican nominee. He is just wrong on the few issues he has managed to actually talk about specifically. Flat ass wrong! His appeal is his refreshing honesty, something that has been missing from the US political process for many decades. He says what he thinks, very candidly, and not what the party has told him to say and that, at least, the public likes. But sooner or later, he will be held accountable for the things he says and if his pathetic attempt to justify his original controversial statements about Mexicans is the way he plans to back up his rhetoric, he will die a fast political death. Calling Mexican immigrants “murderers and rapist” is just factually wrong. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, and almost all who study the issue, statistically, Mexican immigrants, illegal and legal, commit fewer crimes, and far fewer violent crimes like rape and murder, than the US national average. They might illegally enter the country, but statistics show that illegal immigrants commit far fewer crimes, than people in the US. When asked where he got his information, Trump told the media from Glen Beck’s Fusion magazine?? He ignored hundreds of legitimate fact based studies and justified his position by a single political rag. Trump was quickly and quietly called on his factually incorrect statement and the media discussion allowed him to move on. That won’t happen forever. Eventually, he will be held accountable for his words in the polls and you will see him fall because he just too often, is factually wrong or doesn’t have an answer. When that is the case, he just attacks the questioner and the news becomes the attack?? Again, that will not last either.
Why the rise in popularity my Mexican friends ask? They say he is getting over 30% of the US people? No I remind them. He is getting over 30% of the Republican voters, which makes up about 50% of the country. If he is getting about 1/3rd of half the country, he is getting only about 17% of the total voter pool. That is just “flash in pan” numbers, and they need to understand, far from his winning over the entire country. I remind my Mexican friends that 50% of the US is also of the opposite party, and that under no circumstances, would they ever vote for someone like Trump. Don’t worry I tell them, and please, don’t think all of us are racist like Trump.
Again, the rise in Trump’s popularity is related mainly to his refreshing sense of honesty and straight talk, and the fact that he is a political outsider. People are fed up with the canned politicians on both sides, who blow smoke to the masses and then work only for corporations and wealthy people who grease their political wheels. Trump has owned politicians on both sides, he has bragged as much, and that actually makes him something of an outsider to the voters. He has no political record and most assume a billionaire can’t be bought. Wrong assumption and wrong question. The question is not can Donald Trump be bought, probably not, but are there others who can’t be bought too who are smarter and better suited for the job. Trump’s show will stop when voters begin to see there are other candidates out there that are also outsiders, and perhaps can’t be bought either. And these candidates happen to also not be racist, arrogant, poorly informed, rude and obnoxious people, like Mr Trump.
Republicans have a couple political “outsiders” that, if Republican voters want someone not thought of as a Washington insider, can easily out class and talk, Mr. Trump. Dr. Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina are both from the corporate world, and can claim no connection to the mess in Washington. In fact, Dr. Carson has begun to catch Trump in some polls, as voters begin to know both candidates better. From what I have seen of the three candidates, Trump would lose badly to both, if the contest were narrowed to only the three. That might not happen in the real world, but it might happen in the minds of the Republican rank and file members, and if they focus on the words of those outsider candidates, Trump looks like the political baffoon he actually is. The establishment Republican candidates will have a very hard time winning republican voters because in their minds, it is politicians like them that are the cause of all their problems.
The Democrats have a very fast rising Bernie Sanders, also not a Washington insider but very much the outsider in that he has always operated as an independent, having been elected twice to the US senate from Vermont. Rank and file Democrats are also fed up with the Washington process that has moved its constituency out, in favor of larger corporate interest as well. Hillary represents that in their minds, which leaves Democratic voters also looking for help from outside. The fact that Hillary is an establishment candidate is why a one term Senator Obama was able to beat her last time, wanting “change”. My guess is a similar outsider will do it again. Bernie Sanders fits that mold and his independent record will carry a lot of weight with voters of both parties. His message is beginning to spread, not through the corporate media, but through the social media, a new and powerful political tool, so my guess is he will be the nominee.
So who will win the Mexicans always ask and how will that affect us here in Mexico? It is easy to answer that if an establishment candidate from either party is elected. An “immigration policy” will be made, and it will include something like former President Bush tried to do with his guest worker program, as well as showering the government of Mexico with our money to fix their ails, with the only requirement being that they spend it with US corporations. More corporate welfare and cheap labor. Jeb will do it, Hillary will do it, and my guess is a President Carson or Fiorina will do the same as well. That is what corporate politicians do. If you are a Mexican, that is not a bad thing to look forward to in some ways. Easier to get into the US and at some point, a few of the US dollars will trickle down to Jose six-pack.
The one candidate though that might be the exception is Bernie Sanders, and I tell the Mexicans and the US Americans, a Sanders administration might actually bring about a realistic discussion about the relationship between Mexico and the US. Sanders has been elected in a small state that has what you might call a very intimate political ambiance. It is very easy to hear and be heard in states like Vermont. Mr Sanders’ independent voice is also straight talking and refreshing, and comes with the credibility of an outsider because he has always operated politically independent. All that got him was re-elected, and to me, that says volumes about an independent. His Mexico policy will not be like the others, one that throws taxpayer money to corporations and brings in cheap labor. His history indicates he believes people should get paid a living wage and that is part of his campaign. My guess is his policy toward Mexico will be one of the same. If we are going to invest in Mexico, invest in jobs in Mexico and have them pay living wages. Do the things politically that will encourage building a solid middle class of people who want to live and work in their own country. Mexicans really don’t want to live in the US, they are fiercely loyal to their own country which they love very much, they just need to work there because there are not enough jobs in Mexico. In some ways it is that simple. The reasons for that are not, and far beyond this blog, but it some ways, a solution might be just that simple too. If Sanders is elected, my guess is his policies will be more directed at a different and smarter way to live next door to Mexico. One that is more focused on building Mexico, than building walls.
So to all my Mexican friends I want to say, “tranquilo, todo bien”. Mr. Trump is not going to be elected. But more important, he does not really represent what most US Americans feel about Mexico and Mexicans. What he represents is the frustration people in the US are feeling about our corportized political process and the corporate whores, our politicians, that make it up. His honesty is refreshing, and because of that, he is the latest flash in the pan. But in the end, he is most often wrong factually, looks foolish in the process, and his roguish and buffoonish style is wearing thin with the non-billionaire crowd. My hope is that from all this, we might can at least begin to look at the relationship between Mexico and the US, as well as that of the two country’s people, in a way that allows us in the future to join in our strengths, and help one another with our weaknesses. After all, that is what neighbors do.