With his forthright politics, Donald Trump has recently captivated not only citizens across the United States, but spectators the world over. As one of world’s most successful businessmen and an opinionated conservative, this is hardly surprising. His policies of closing United States borders towards Muslims, the restarting of controversial torture methods and extensive military rejuvenation have, as predicted, whetted Republican appetites. But haven’t we seen similar radical movements in other nations, and don’t they just fade away with time?
It doesn’t seem this way. Trump has become a huge threat to left-wing politics. As the gap in opinion polls narrows between himself and leading Democrat Hilary Clinton – and now this election’s wild card, Bernie Sanders, too – Donald Trump’s chances of striding into the Oval Office next January seem better than ever. Many of his policies, whilst sparking outrage on social media platforms, have suited the blend of patriotism, independence and superpower from which the Republican ethos feeds. However, this new Republican faction does indeed echo political feeling of other nations – most notably the EU’s recently emerged body of Euroscepticism.
Across several nations across the pond, right-wing populist parties have nothing but triumphed. America has, of course, had a long history of such impassioned right-of-centre politics which has fostered under strong patriotism and resulted in the creation of an unrivalled political force. But the US right-wing is running its campaigns this year on issues which are increasingly similar to those targeted in European right-wing bids. Not only low taxes, gun freedoms and lower immigration are on the cards for Republicans, but also military attacks on militant groups in Africa and the Middle East, strong border responses to surges in immigration and the implementation of controversial punishment methods.
In Europe, right-wing populist groups standing for policy similar to Trump’s have swelled in terms of their overall vote share, but their successes have come in only small doses at first-order elections. There is a broad trend showing that these groups seem less likely to lead their nations’ governments and are only ad-hoc, issue-based entities. But America seems different. Donald Trump is running a highly successful campaign, with recent polls showing that there is only 4% between he and Clinton, who was at one point said to be the only one likely to win in November.
So, why is Trump working in the States? It is clear that external issues must be coming into play. After increased attacks from various groups on the American people and in other states, it has become easy for Trump to argue in favour of increased security measures, including the development of extremely controversial policy to restrain various individuals from movement into the country.
It is clear that one of Trump’s most successful tactics is proclaiming controversial policy in order to get the electorate talking. When Trump announced his proposed shutdown of America towards Muslim immigrants, Facebook and Twitter were captivated and became nuclei of debate. Whilst many agree with Trump, the views of those in opposition have furthered conversation of his campaign. This tactic of being frank and ‘straight talking’ is a ploy seen in campaigns by the likes of the United Kindom Independence Party’s (UKIP) Nigel Farage. UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn rose to fame in the same way, presenting controversial left-wing policy and adopting a more outspoken stance than his predecessors did.
Like the strategy of the above two British campaigns, Trump has been successful in saying what the average citizen is scared to. And this similar straight-talking is something Americans are buying into in the same way that European parties, many of whom small in size, have fast appealed to mass numbers of voters. But in America, the political system does give a larger platform to such views. November’s election is not a parliamentary election, but a presidential election. In parliamentary elections, more controversial parties have been pushed to the side. But as a Presidential candidate, and representing such a large proportion of American voters, Trump possesses astonishingly wide scope of influence.
So, isn’t this just going to be another short lived campaign? No, America is different. This populist right-wing surge is being taken on by hordes of impassioned voters who are keen to protect their beloved nation. The cult of Donald Trump is working. Over the past couple of months, Trump has emerged as a very serious contender, and a serious threat to the Democrat Party’s liberal politics. Possibly, some opponents would be reluctant to use the term ‘politician,’ but the business tycoon who is now set to dominate decision making may well in fact storm the White House in a year’s time.