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NOT ALL BLACK AND WHITE: Can Trump move to the centre?

Pat Hoyos, [email protected]

NOT ALL BLACK AND WHITE: Can Trump move to the centre?

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HAVING PICKED MYSELF up and dusted myself off from Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump in the United States, presidential election, I am now focussed on the reality of a Trump presidency.

What will he try to do? The whole world is wondering. Will he try to send home all the illegal aliens, including those from the Caribbean? Then what would become of their children who were born in America? Would he split up families?

That scenarios is just not believable to me. And the Caribbean part of the illegal immigrant spectrum is tiny compared to the Mexican, which, of course, bore the brunt of The Donald’s cruellest rhetoric.

On the positive side, Trump’s campaign manager Steve Bannon, he of Breitbart website “fame”, told two Bloomberg reporters last week that the president-elect’s only aim was to make the American dream more attainable to the white, less urban voter who feels disenfranchised. 

According to Bloomberg Businessweek’s Joshua Green and Sasha Issenberg: “The voters who elected Trump, he (Bannon) says, wish to partake in this story of American success but not destroy the American system of government, adding that ‘What Trump represents is a restoration—a restoration of true American capitalism and a revolution against state-sponsored socialism.’”

But this rosy view is somewhat contradicted by Matt Oczkowski, the head of product at the London firm Cambridge Analytica, who was the research team leader on Trump’s campaign. According to Cambridge’s analysis, say the writers, these Trump voters were not much interested in controlling abortion and guns, two Republican issues which Trump “largely ignored during the campaign,” or in cutting Social Security and Medicare spending, “which he vowed to preserve”. 

Instead, these voters, called “disenfranchised new Republicans” by the Cambridge researchers, care more than other Republicans about three big issues: law and order, immigration, and wages. Green and Issenberg say Trump was elected by proposing a worldview that reflects these priorities, and his biggest challenge as president will be “to synthesize his brand of populist Republicanism with the diminished, yet still powerful, version espoused by leaders like (Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul) Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.” Good luck with that.

So, was it really necessary for Trump to abuse, insult, threaten and otherwise denigrate just about every other sector of the American public – citizens and illegals alike – just so he could curry favour with this group? It appears so, because the more hateful rhetoric they heard, the more white “disenfranchised” voters made themselves known as willing to vote for him. It was their unprecedented turnout – including ten per cent more white women voting for Trump than for Clinton – that erased all of the latter’s gains among blacks, Hispanics and other minorities.

So Trump may, after all, turn out to be a centrist, picking and choosing his policies from both left and right. He has a longer history of being a liberal Democrat than a Republican populist demagogue, and if he tries to maintain that hate-spewing persona, the demonstrations against him are likely to increase and the whole thing may escalate.

However, whether the people who put him in the White House will accept a centrist President Trump is anyone’s guess. I doubt it.


Patrick Hoyos is a journalist and publisher specialising in business. Email: [email protected]