US polls: Trumping of reason

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In US, the billionaire presidential candidate Donald Trump looks set to get the Republican nomination. To everybody’s surprise, Trump has won one after another state.  On Super Tuesday, Trump and his main Democratic rival Hilllary Clinton won seven states apiece. He has won more primaries since. This has made it highly probable that the Trump will be the Republican presidential candidate despite the Republican top brass wishing otherwise.  Trump is not liked by 60 percent of Americans, most of them non-whites, who fear his election as the president will be to their detriment. Trump has earned this contempt  by pandering to the basest prejudices of the white Americans. But now his campaign has come to a point where he has emerged as the presidential front runner. And who knows he could be the new US president. This is the prospect that is making much of the world including a significant population of America apoplectic. To get a sense of what Trump as US president means for US and the world can be guaged from his abusive campaign. If elected president, he would bar all Muslims from entering America until further notice. He has proposed killing the families of terrorists in blatant violation of international law. This has outraged a former CIA director so much that he predicted that U.S. troops would refuse to carry out such an order. Trump has also  asserted that he would  reinstate waterboarding and the other  “much worse” forms of torture. He will seize and deport 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally.  He  vowed to set  “libel laws” upon the media organizations for writing critical stories.  What is more, he mocked a disabled person at a campaign rally.

All sounds like a crazy stuff. Trump has uninhibitedly aired views that even the radical right in America has refrained from uttering. His hate against Muslims and non-whites  is in-your-face and unreserved. As of now there is no knowing how much of this vitriol is shtick and how much real. But the very fact that the Trump is generating so much bile and hate and mobilizing enough popular support to make him a front-running presidential candidate should be a cause for serious concern.  Even now the massive public support for Trump’s candidature is deeply worrying.  What explains this? Why has supposedly one of the world’s most enlightened electorate fallen for a rabble rouser? How a people who elected an African-American as their president is now romancing a hate-mongerer? Many analysts have explained it away as the radicalization of the sections of American electorate as a result of the growing terrorism in Muslim world and also because of the attacks in Europe. If this be so, one can also similarly explain the radicalization of the Muslim world because of the recurrent US-led western invasions.

Having said that, Trump’s rise is eerily similar to that of Modi. What it reveals is that the anti-minority politics is on the ascendant in the world. And America which should have been a redeeming exception, is part of this trend. This has troubling dimensions. For it polarises the world along religious lines and also between whites and non-whites. But the bigger damage is being inflicted on the idea of America itself, the country that claims leadership of the world and projects itself as the embodiment of the democratic and egalitarian value.

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