News media are abuzz with stories of how the establishment Republican party is desperate to stop Trump from getting the presidential nomination. Why? Because he’s supposed to be a flawed character, vulgar and duplicitous, intellectually vapid, and ill-suited for the office. I can’t disagree.
His candidacy has made America an international laughing-stock, many argue. The cover of The Economist of March 4, 2016 (A British newsmagazine) shows Trump’s face in an “Uncle Sam” outfit with the caption, “Really?”
Yet despicable as he is as a personality, I admire the fact that the American political process is working as it should. Few in the ruling political classes, even in his own party, approve of Trump, and few in the monied class support him. Yet there enough voters who do like him to propel him to prominence. Voters, not pundits, not behind-the-scenes kingmakers, not oligarchs. Voters.
The American primary process is convoluted, probably beyond the comprehension of all but a few foreigners, but the plain fact is that it is a democracy that bends to the will of the people. Yes, the people are often stupid, but they are the people, and that is the point. Imagine how the rise of Trump fiasco must look to thoughtful people in Russia, China, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Syria, Egypt, and elsewhere.
Some observers (e.g., in Egypt), might think, “Yeah, we did that too, and it meant nothing. The generals took over.” I have faith that if Trump is elected, he will take office and stay in office until removed by lawful means. It would be wrong for the Republican Party officials to act like Egyptian generals.
Trump is a clown and the candidates’ debates are a circus, but ridiculous as the process makes America seem, it is a glorious demonstration to the world that it is possible for ordinary people to govern themselves (for better or worse). It’s something for Americans to be proud of, not ashamed of.
Consider the alternatives, if a sizeable segment of society were unable to express their political voice. Riots? Terrorism? Civil War? Coup d’etat? I’d rather have people enthusiastically supporting an incompetent candidate for reasons I cannot fathom. I’d rather have that candidate win the election than suffer the alternatives.
The system is working as it was intended to.