Trump and his Republican enemies

A national survey by CNN places Donald Trump two points above Hillary Clinton, 45 to 43. Given that the margin of error is 3 points, the two candidates are practically tied...

A national survey by CNN places Donald Trump two points above Hillary Clinton, 45 to 43. Given that the margin of error is 3 points, the two candidates are practically tied.

But there is another interesting fact. Half of the respondents perceive Trump as more honest and trustworthy; only 35 percent places Hillary in that morally superior category. There are 15 points of difference between them in this ethical judgment, although they are barely separated by 2 points in the preference of those same voters.

Evidently, that means that Americans don’t overly care which of the two candidates they believe to be more dishonest or suppose lies more frequently. Both have a very high degree of rejection by part of a society that mostly describes them as crooks and liars.

One, because she does not turn over the e-mails allegedly lost and brazenly displays all the symptoms of a conflict of interests between her status as (former) Secretary of State and her husband’s foundation.

The other, because he hides his tax returns and allegedly conned thousands of students in the pompously called Trump University. Meanwhile, in the business world, he is seen as an unscrupulous character who multiplied his large fortune by iniquitously trampling suppliers and collaborators.

So, it seems that the melancholy conclusion reached by Republican analyst Ana Navarro, a lighthearted and eloquent attorney who was insulted by Trump, was correct: “The Republicans chose the only candidate who could lose to Hillary Clinton, and the Democrats chose the only person capable of being defeated by Donald Trump.”

In the end, will Trump win or will Hillary? Probably, Hillary will triumph. The general election will be hard-fought but the United States’ convoluted electoral system relies on the state elections, where Mrs. Clinton has the winning edge.

It is a question of securing 270 electoral votes (half plus one of the 538 electors who choose the president and his running mate, as selected by the 50 states of the Union), and the Democratic candidate — according to the experts’ projections — would have 273.

The election, then, will be decided in nine “undecided” states, and Hillary is ahead in seven of them. She only needs to prevail in two or three states to reach the mythical 270 votes.

In turn, Trump must win in eight states to triumph in the contest, something very unlikely to happen, unless he literally destroys Mrs. Clinton in the three debates the two candidates will hold.

Why is it so difficult for Trump to win? Besides Trump’s confrontation with the Hispanics, the blacks, the gays, his rejection by educated whites and the understandable hostility of the Democrats, he must lose basically because of the resistance of many Republicans.

These perceive the multimillionaire as an opportunistic outsider who has destroyed the climate of internal collaboration and civic cordiality that existed in the Party until the candidacy of Mitt Romney. Deep in their hearts, they would prefer Trump to lose, lest he governs atrociously and brings down irreparable harm upon the nation, the Republicans and probably the planet.

This explains the public rejection by emblematic Republican figures in Florida, such as former governor Jeb Bush and representatives Mario Díaz-Balart, Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, plus the discreet distancing by Senator Marco Rubio, whose tepid support is a hypocritical concession that seems to him to be indispensable for his own re-election, as happens to John McCain in Arizona.

The letter signed and released in early August by 50 Republican strategists and policy makers about Trump’s incapacity to deal with international affairs — and apropos his voluble and dangerous nature, together with the criticism for his proclivity toward Vladimir Putin — was a shot fired directly at Trump’s waterline.

The support given to Hillary Clinton by Carlos Gutiérrez, former Commerce Secretary to George W. Bush, a lifelong Republican and former CEO of the Kellogg Company, had great impact.

A very competent person in the economic field, Gutiérrez described Trump’s economic ideas as harebrained. That is why, this time, he was supporting the Democrats. He was doing what he felt was best for the United States.

Trump’s tariff protectionism, the policy of imports substitution (a monstrosity endorsed by CEPAL/ECLAC in the 1950s) and the rejection of international free trade (typical of underdeveloped Communist-leaning nations such as Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador) were to Gutiérrez expressions of a backward Third-World ideology that is unseemly for the nation that leads the free-market countries.

Of course, there’s still eight weeks before the big date at the polls and it would be irresponsible to totally deny Trump the possibility of success. It’s all a matter of believing in miracles.

Published by el Blog de Montaner on September 10th, 2016