In July 2015,in these columns, the forecast was made that Donald Trump would be the Republican Party’s standard bearer fpr the 2016 Presidential polls. This was derided at the time, but has since proven to be accurate. Despite what the “experts” say, Trump is far more attractive candidate to US voters than Hillary Clinton, who is so clearly scripted in an atmosphere where voters are disgusted with “politics as usual”. However, to succeed, Trump needs to understand the rules of the game, among which is the need to not mouth in public what is commonplace in private. Stereotypical views of Caucasian, African American and Latinos get freely expressed in closed-door get-togethers comprising people of a single social group.
It has been said before and needs to be repeated that it was the people of Europe, many of them,who themselves assisted in the overturning of a global order in which they dominated over the rest by force of weaponry. In UK, for example, significant numbers of citizens themselves did battle with likes of Winston Churchill, who (although part Native American himself through his mother’s side) openly regarded those not of caucasian stock as unfit for self-rule. Compared to Churchill, Donald Trump is ultra-liberal However, he is also from a generation that has seen its values bypassed by the realities of modern existence. In India, for example, the growing middle class has jumped over several of the cultural differences that were glaring during the period when average income levels were much lower. Indeed, although this will be disputed by many, the reality is that the middle class is an important reason why India remains united despite a multitude of ehnicities and faiths.
Those from a group that is nearing in numbers the 300 million mark (of course in a country of 1.26 billion) are now increasingly intermarrying with each other. They eat the same food, read the same magazines ,watch the same movies and generally share an outlook that is independent of the region, caste or faith to which each belongs. In like fashion, to any more regard African Americans and Latinos as groups separate from Caucasian Americans ( ie US citizens of European descent) is to be less and less tethered to 21st century reality. The ascent of Barack Obama to the Presidency of the US or the growing number of doctors, engineers and managers from the African American community prove that nothing can hold back this group,once they are given the education and the environment needed for success, something that is still available in the US, though in much less a degree than was the case in the 1970s, before Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and Deng Xiaoping glorified the wealthy and began creating a series of policies that ensured growing income inequality in the US and in many other countries.
As for the Latino community, this columnist has met several from among them in visits, including in locations such as Miami. Whether their parents came over from Cuba or from Mexico, the Latino community in the US has distinguished itself by its success. Among the brightest of US citizens, as well as the most charming, belong to the Latino community. Indeed,in his work and almost certainly in his personal life, Donald Trump must have recognized this, for he has built a business empore across continents that would not have been possible had he a toxic relationship – or view – of those of different faiths and ethnicities. What seems to have happened to the Trump campaign is that the vacuum in his political and policy team has been filled with a motley crowd of people who have moved in not for ideals but to get a slice of the cake of political success.
Some of the causes that key operatives in the Trump campaign have backed in the past are such that they ought to have resulted in their exclusion from the inner circle. Should the present ragtag team continue to wield power simply by nodding in agreement to the private impulses of Donald Trump, even Hillary Clinton may be able to pull off an upset,d espite her negatives and assuming she survives the controversies the Clintons are filled with. A genuine leader listens to views – expressed behind closed doors – that may be hugely disagreeable to him or her, and show no hesitation in changing course where needed. Improbable as this mat sound, the best chance for Trump to occupy the Oval Office would be to be the unifier he needs to be. Trump needs to showcase the diversity within his business team, and to recognize that some in his core team need to be sent packing. The best individual to bring the Trump campaign to the 21st century and free it of the whiff of the 19th century that it is exuding now is Ivanka Trump,the eldest child of the Republican nominee for the Presidential race.
Despite her youth, Ivanka has shown that she is unaffected by the intense celebrity that surrounds the powerful anywhere, and has refused to utilise her father’s climb to the top for her own benefit. She is clearly of the 21st century, and can therefore be expected to see people as people, US citizens as US citizens, rather than chop them up into different ethnicities. Donald Trump needs to make better use of Ben Carson, the brilliant African American neurosurgeon who took a shot at his country’s top job. He needs to ensure greater diversity in his core team than has been the case in a situation where a vacuum got filled willy nilly by those who had no choice but to flock to a banner that others were staying away from. Certainly it is an advantage that Trump is so denuded of establishment faces, as these are the very people who have created the mess that is making the US voter so angry at those who run the government.
In India, the skilful use in the 2009 national polls of images of the youthful children of Sonia Gandhi ( Rahul and Priyanka) to showcase the Congress Party as being different from the faded visage of its top leadership, Sonia and Manmohan, to show party as being relevant to young, a constituency won by Narendra Modi five years later by his call for a new way of governing India than “Lutyens Colonial Model” followed thus far. Ivanka Trump can do same for individual who can,in case he shows his inner liberal spirit over his crusty exterior, become elected leader of world’s most powerful country. His not very secret weapon is Ivanka Trump, and he needs to make better use of her than has been case thus far.
—The writer is Vice-Chair, Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair & Professor of Geopolitics, Manipal University, Haryana State, India.