Does Donald Trump have a platform? Did he have one during his election campaign? Is there a Trump Doctrine?
The short answer is: it doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter because Trump supporters continue to support him despite his flip-flops on almost all issues, and his policy initiatives which will hurt those who support him. He is devastating their healthcare and their jobs are not coming back. The current rise in employment is consistent with what was occurring in the previous four years of the Obama administration.
His tough talk on China has evaporated. Manufacturing jobs in China will stay there and his family will continue to do business there under the current favorable trade conditions. What about Mexico? Those jobs are not coming back either. The reason is that it has never been about nation states taking advantage of the US, but large corporations who outsource jobs and then sell their finished goods into the US market, without penalty. Any significant trade sanctions would harm corporate interests, so trade tariffs will not be forthcoming. The only trade sanctions implemented have been placed on Canada. This gives the appearance of doing something while little has changed for American workers.
He “drained the swamp” and then promptly refilled it with the usual political hacks. During the election campaign he pledged to get America out of foreign wars and now he has ramped up bombing campaigns and international hostilities. How about that “stupid wall” he was going to build. Not happening!
Given that Trump has apparently offered little of value to his supporters; why the continued support? Time to speak of the unspeakable. One of the side-effects of political correctness is that there are now a lot of implicit “no talk” rules around racism, bigotry and xenophobia. You can whisper about your dislike of the “other”, but you can’t say it out loud.
What is the “other”? The other is simply someone not like you:
- A different race
- A different religion
- A different social class
- A different sexual orientation
- A different origin (native born versus immigrant)
Donald Trump has legitimized bigotry. His attacks on Mexicans and Muslims remain the most steadfast part of his “platform”. It also serves to distract from the real issues of political corruption and economic distress that fueled much of his base in the first place. Apparently, Trump can renege on just about everything he promised, but as long as he holds fast to his attacks on the “other”, he will continue to garner support.
It is deeply disturbing to reach the conclusions noted above. It is disturbing for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the widespread support and legitimizing of bigotry. It also sadly underlines how the political class and mainstream media have successfully managed to mislead the public into a view that they have no power to affect change and they are losing their nation to the “other”. This remains the last platform plank of the buffoon who know rules the roost, in spite of his serial lies, policy flip-flops, administrative incompetence and his ignorance and compromising of democratic institutions. None of that matters, when bigotry is at the core of his appeal.
Trump supporters do not say out loud that they love him for his bigotry. They have invented a narrative of competence which is pure myth. Trump’s primary skill is his ability to bullshit. There is no grand plan other than the promotion of his image and his family business. His supporters write off his failures by blaming others around him and avoid the obvious fact that “the buck stops at the top”. He has appointed everyone around him, a reality check that never seems to enter the mythical narrative of his competence.
So what remains of the Trump platform and the Trump doctrine? It is simply the fear of the “other”. Donald Trump continues to successfully ride that monster.