It is the first time global economy and geopolitical analysis firm the Economist Intelligence Unit has analysed a presidential candidate as a potential threat to global economy. Donald Trump, the current favorite in the Republican race for office, has been ranked sixth among top ten global risks. The possibility of the real estate mogul becoming the next president of the United States was laughed off by many early in the race, but not anymore. He has secured a tight grip on the nomination by sweeping off the primaries and is currently leading by 12 points, passing Senator Ted Cruz and Governor John Kasich and looking forward to a general election in November.
What made him so likable, one might ask?
There is a new wave of populism that has risen in American politics. This might be due to tired establishment politicians that have not brought about much change over the decade. Both parties have mobilised new electorates and driven them to the voting ballots, mainly out of the will to change the status quo. On the Democrat side, Senator Bernie Sanders has been challenging the establishment by his calls to get money out of politics that influence a wide range of other issues. He is leading the young vote and is very popular among millennials who are exposed to alternative sources of information besides mainstream media that is backing the establishment candidates. Trump, on the other hand, is gaining the popular vote by promoting radical views that seem to appeal to many Americans. According to Bloomberg Politics, there is 65% support among Republicans for a ban on Muslims in U.S., which is one of Trump’s most controversial proposals. This might have been caused by fear for a rise in terrorism threat in the West that Trump has been conveniently exploiting in his favor.
Trump is a talented populist
He shifts his policies in the same way the wind blows, which makes one question whether he is as radical as he portrays himself. He has gained the undivided media attention by proposing such ludicrous ideas as building a wall along the Mexican border and caused public outrage with his behavior in debates. He is the first presidential candidate who has discussed his manhood in a debate. He is certainly not presidential material. And that’s what his voters seem to like about him. Some might think that such candidness might drive away the typical conservative voters, and they might be right. Trump is not very conservative in his policies, in fact, he speaks of them so vaguely it is hard to determine what would be his stance in office. The ones he has been the most vocal about are the most disputed ones, which gets him a lot of votes that otherwise would not be cast at all. His unpredictability can rattle the economy, and it has caused great wary for the investors.
What we might essentially get is a cat in the bag
Despite his terrible remarks with regards to women and minorities that make many cringe, it has not hurt his race. Trump voters like him because he is believed to be like the common man, he speaks his mind, he doesn’t give two cents about political correctness, and he knows how to work the crowd. He does that at a great cost, though, by polarising the American society. He has incited violence in his rallies against protesters and caused more clashes between his supporters and opponents. He has even threatened to cause “big trouble” if he doesn’t get the nomination at the Republican National Convention.
But how likely is it that he will get it?
To secure the nomination, he still has to allocate as many delegates as he has now. According to many expert projections, it’s too close to call whether he will succeed to win enough delegates in the upcoming States. And even if he gets enough delegates, it’s still not a sealed deal, because Republican Party has delegates that are unbound to a candidate and can change their vote. Ultimately it will be up to the leadership to decide. A very likely scenario, if Trump cannot secure a majority vote, is that new candidates will be put forward at the pre-convention in June. Judging by the current discourse, Republican Party is trying to stop Trump in order to save the party, though failing miserably. All of the candidates have already vowed to support him if he were to get the nomination. Most of the race drop-outs have even endorsed him, hoping he would find them a position in his administration if he were to win the presidency. It shows that this is a fight for power, not values. The whole race on the Republican side has not been of much substance. It has mainly consisted of an exchange of personal attacks between candidates, with Trump being the biggest contributor.
If Trump were to participate in the general election, his most likely opponent would be Secretary Clinton. According to the latest match-up polls, she is beating him by 10 points on average, although Senator Sanders is beating him by a large 17 points. It would be a tight race between Clinton and Trump because the unfavorability ratings for both are high. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll indicates that 33% of Sanders supporters would not back Hillary when it came to the general election, although Sanders has suggested that he would support her nomination. There is a possibility that he could be offered to run as Clinton’s vice president, which would make a strong ticket to beat Trump. But if it came to Trump vs. Clinton, rest assured, Trump would be very tough on her in the debates, which might hurt her campaign to some extent. There are many issues within her candidacy that he could bring up, like the e-mail scandal, which she could still be indicted for, although it is unlikely to happen this year, her paid speeches to Wall Street that she refuses to release to the public, and the fact that Trump himself had donated to her presidential campaign when she ran against Obama and on other occasions in her political career.
We are certainly in for a wild race, but as Kevin Spacey said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year, one can only hope that “America will get it right.”