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Wednesday, 17 June 2015

A 2016 Bush-Clinton race - Trump's triumph

Yesterday, Donald Trump announced to run for U.S. President. The FT (link) clearly dislikes the guy and has already started to discredit him with subtle and less subtle comments. Hardly anybody thought that Professor Pim Fortuyn stood a chance in Dutch politics. Yet, most likely, Pim Fortuyn would have been the Dutch Prime Minister if he had not been assassinated by a left wing vegan.

Clearly, Donald Trump is not gay like Pim Fortuyn. Yet, they have some other striking similarities in dressing well and speaking in public. They both enjoy not being politically correct and say out loud and in the open what is on the mind of many. Pim Fortuyn won the hearts of many with an interesting cocktail of elements from the left and right political agenda. If Donald Trump would copy that approach then he could well be a far more threatening candidate than many now assume him to be.

In my view, the time has come to cherry pick on the left (pensioners, healthcare, jobs, minimum wages, environment) and the right (law & order, military, jobs, insourcing, taxation) and leave the traditional candidates speechless. It has to be a convincing cocktail to be able to absorb enough votes on the centre-right and the centre-left.

In many countries there is a significant undercurrent of dissatisfaction. One of my Republican friends in the USA recently said that the U.S. could really use one of its great former Presidents. He then mentioned JFK. I told him that he would never have voted for JFK today. He fully agreed. America is too polarised in left (Democrats) and right (Republicans). This however also allows an outspoken candidate with a brand new and clear message to become very appealing within a short while. Political correctness is a huge handicap against such a competitor.

The timing of Donald Trump’s announcement is remarkable. Only one day after Jeb Bush. This can hardly be a coincidence. I feel that he awaited the Bush announcement. I suppose that he feels that he's the only outsider who can prevent a “Clush” dynasty. The word Clush is a new – negative –abbreviation for a new Clinton-Bush Administration. Both Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton will use their usual rhetoric to appeal to the/their voters. Yet both give dull speeches that will not attract any opponent to their side. Donald Trump is the wild card, the joker, the clown like Pim Fortuyn once used to be. Yet any clown is deadly serious in his profession.

Sometimes I wonder how The Netherlands would have evolved, had Pim Fortuyn not been assassinated. Perhaps his cocktail of a left and right wing political agenda came too early. I am still looking forward to the day that the distinction between left and right will be considered as outdated. That distinction is even creating a deadlock in Dutch - and European - politics. From a U.S. perspective the differences between left and right in Europe must be marginal. Indeed they are.

From a European perspective the differences in U.S. politics are rather marginal. In essence, it should be rather easy for an outsider to bridge the main views of the Democrats and Republicans. The voters may well appreciate a candidate who offers them the best of both worlds.

Preventing a further U.S. political deadlock could be the reason why an outsider like Donald Trump may triumph in the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections.