I love Donald Trump.
I love him for what he’s accomplishing. He’s doing something truly great. Something very necessary and long overdue. But there is a twist. Wait for it….
Donald Trump is not loved in Britain, because they don’t see the twist and they don’t understand the good work that he’s doing. They misinterpret his political presence entirely. He’s seen as an idiot, and a fascist demagogue attempting to close borders, build walls and disengage his country from the rest of the world. Those perceptions are all true, but they miss a bigger point, and they are a deflection from issues that Britain faces. It’s easy to point at Donald Trump and say things like: “I can’t believe such an awful man might be the next President of the United States.”
Recently, British MPs queued up to debate banning Mr Trump from even entering the UK. The measure failed, but newspaper headlines have been dominated by condemnations of Trump and his “xenophobia.” As an American living in the UK, I am asked almost daily about Trump, about whether I support him, and whether I think he is going to win the presidency. And it’s not just in Britain. Much of the world is wildly misinterpreting the significance of Donald Trump’s candidacy. If they truly understood what was going on, they, like me, would learn to love him.
Because the real story here isn’t about the rise of a dangerous demagogue.
It’s not the ascension of “another” dumb Yank to the position of leader of the free world. What’s actually going on, whether intentionally or not, is that Donald Trump is bringing about the destruction of America’s Republican party. And I love him for it. And you should too. I love Donald Trump because he’s a cleansing fire. Donald Trump is a biblical analogy, a political prophecy come true about how you “reap what you sow.”
You see, my British friends, all the things you claim to loathe and fear about America and American politics belong not to the majority of the American people, but to members of just one segment of the USA: followers of the right wing Republican party. Opposition to government healthcare: Republicans. Gun-culture: Republicans. Christian religious extremism and a culture that values faith more than science in public policy: Republicans. Xenophobia and a desire to shut down national borders: Republicans.
For years, the Republicans incubated the extremist part of their base around these issues. They ranted about how scientists couldn’t be trusted about global warming, about how foreigners couldn’t be trusted at all, and how political leaders were always part of the problem and never part of the solution. As that base solidified, the Republican party sharpened its message, honed its attacks and galvanised those voters: white, religious, male, mostly rural, older Americans. It’s a shrinking demographic, but still a fairly large one. But what happens when you spend years feeding your base anti-establishment, anti-intelligent propaganda? You create a path for a candidate who is not intelligent, hates diplomacy, abhors and dismisses facts and science and refuses to play by any of the rules, even those of his own party. Donald Trump is now actively running not just for President, but against the leadership of the Republican party establishment that fostered his creation. He can’t win the former, but he is very much winning the latter. The Republican party is turning against itself at every level, and if you oppose right wing American politics, it’s beautiful to witness.
Wall Street Journal: The Republican Party Is Shattering
Washington Post: How Donald Trump destroyed the Republican Party in 2015
The State: The GOP’s destruction of its own party
Fox News: “This is a mess”
But Britain doesn’t see it yet.
You’ve still got it all wrong- backwards even. You still think this is a story about a man who may be President. And you watch, you laugh, you gloat and you criticise the person you see in the distance as he plays with matches, but you don’t see the open flames right behind you. The UK is like a movie where you haven’t cottoned on to the twist in the plot. You still think The Crying Game is about a love affair between an IRA soldier and the girlfriend of his victim. You still think Bruce Willis is just a therapist, helping a child deal with the trauma of seeing ghosts. You’re still chewing on a piece of soylent green, wondering what the all the fuss is about.
Instead of worrying about extremism, xenophobia and idiocy in your own country’s politicians, you’re watching this film, comfortable in your belief that the story is all about the final triumph of idiotic right wing American politics, rather than the beginning of their end. But I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. In this film, The Planet of the Apes isn’t some far away world, reached only by spaceship. It’s here right now, in Britain. That’s not the statue of liberty, it’s Big Ben sticking up out of the sand. And you – you are the maniacs who are about to blow it all up. And God damn you all to hell if you do.
In June, the British people will vote on whether to leave the EU in a national referendum.
According to the Telegraph’s poll tracker, the numbers right now are around 51% in favour of staying, 49% in favour of leaving. Just think about that for a minute. Half of all Britons favour undoing 30 years of economic progress to leave Europe. A political position that is essentially a xenophobic response to a feeling that Britain has too many Poles and Romanians and is afraid of hosting a few Syrian refugees. And all anyone seems to care about here are fluff news stories about the latest Donald Trump outrage, like that time he bragged about the size of his penis.
Your Prime Minister, David Cameron doesn’t talk about his penis (although he may have inserted it into a dead pig’s mouth). He comes across as a likeable chap who doesn’t say outrageous things, but one who holds some very right wing beliefs and policies, and he has already won a clear mandate in your last election. Now he’s put forward an anti-EU referendum to appease his far-right supporters – a vote that will happen just a few months from now. A large set of your country’s most popular and well-known politicians from every political stripe, have set aside their differences to form an alliance to advocate for Britain leaving the EU.
There are few rational or economic arguments to support leaving the EU, so the “Brexit” supporters rely on emotional ones. They talk about “freedom” from the “tyranny” of Brussels and they refer to the referendum’s date as “Independence Day,” as if Britain were some oppressed colony. They sound like, well… they sound like American Republicans.
I received a flier yesterday in my mailbox begging me to join the anti-EU movement. It talks about “making Britain stronger” but it doesn’t put forward a single argument about why Britain would be stronger outside the EU. I don’t mean I don’t agree with the arguments – I mean this document doesn’t even bother to make any. If you don’t believe me you can read it for yourself here. It’s the British equivalent of “they can have my gun when they pry it from my cold, dead hands.” No rational thought, just tribalistic, jingoistic, xenophobia.
Britain is a service-dominated economy with a huge financial sector. Leaving the EU could potentially devastate the economy, lose the country prestige and political power and lead to the dissolution of the UK (Scotland would again seek, and this time likely win the right to secede if the UK leaves the EU). But you’d rather talk about Donald Trump’s hair.
Donald Trump only gets 35% of the Republican vote in most primaries. A minority of a minority. There’s never been a poll that has put him in striking distance of Hilary Clinton or even Bernie Sanders. He has no chance, he’s a sideshow. You’re distracted and misdirected, and now you need to listen to me. I’m giving you the spoilers. I’m revealing the trick and showing you the plot twist. Britain, I’ve seen the big baddy, and he’s right behind you!
Read this sentence, and see if it changes your perception of Donald Trump:
Donald Trump is heralding the irrelevance and destruction of right wing politics in America, and has no chance at all of ever becoming President. But there is a very real possibility that, in just a few months, Britain will vote to leave the EU and the the UK will break apart.
Maybe like me, you should learn to love Donald Trump and learn to hate David Cameron, Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, George Galloway, Iain Duncan Smith, Michael Gove, Kate Hoey and all the rest of the Brexit advocates. Donald is doing good work. Your leaders are downright dangerous.