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International 16 Sep, 2020 Follow News

Donald Trump, President of the United States

As America more moves inexorably towards the November 2020 election, with each passing day - or with each day being removed from the countdown - a feeling of foreboding for some, elation for others is weeping ac roos the land...and the world.

The level of expectation for this election is already surpassing 2016 when candidate Trump, the maverick outsider, was tearing up the rule book and reshaping US presidential campaigning to his own liking - and ultimately to his advantage. He won.

This time candidate Trump, who as president never ceased campaigning from the time he was sworn in, is on the proverbial warpath again.

It's just that now he has a record to defend. And he is on the defensive inasmuch as he is on the offensive...and many times just being offensive.

His critics - and there are hordes of them - oscillate between “not much of a record” and a “woeful record”.

His base - and there are hordes of them - hang on to his every utterance as if their lives depended on it. It does although to a lesser degree than their livelihoods.

Someone recently said that for Mr Trump's base what matters is not his record but that he disagrees with the people they don't like.

The Trump presidency has been to politics what new technology is to the established norm; a disruptor.

Those who want him out of office do so with a passion matched only by the devotion of those who yearn for a Trump second term with almost fanatical religious zeal.

Mr Trump’s presidency will do down in modern history has one of the most politically and socially divisive, propelled by a superlatives-laden rhetoric of a dizzying list of ‘achievements’.

A few are real, some of doubtful significance, others of questionable impact, several of worrying consequence, and the rest are simply headline-grabbing utterances and executive orders.

Then there are the scandals, accusations of wrongdoing, jailed accomplices and a seemingly interminably long list of character flaws.

Amidst all that, Mr Trump remains a microphone and camera magnet; never shy to volunteer a comment in which he has the last say, microphone-shy only when he doesn’t have his way, but a 'made-for-reality-tv' presidency with all dysfunctional character-flaws that make such programs “must-see-tv”.

A product of the genre, Mr Trump knows how to play the game. It is drama and entertainment.

And the world has been watching a presidency which at one time framed his COVID-19 public health briefings in terms of the TV and online viewing ratings.

The US economy, like the rest of the world, has been thrown into topsy-turvy by the coronavirus pandemic. In the process, it has thrown Mr Trumps oft-repeated and contentious claims of ‘creating’ the greatest American economy in history into a tailspin and quite possibly off the rails.

Understandably, he wants to lead that recovery effort to 'make America great again-again'.

His hints at needing a third term because his ‘MAGA’ campaign was disrupted by the coronavirus echoes more than just a bad joke that flies in the face of the US constitution which limits presidents to two consecutive terms.

Mr trump has more than once openly stated that the election process is already flawed a sign that he will challenge the outcome if he doesn’t win.

But what if he does win? Will he then accept victory from the process he claimed from the outset was flawed? Judging from previous situations he will most likely downplay it and claim that he won fairly, squarely and ‘bigly’.

When the narrative of an American political campaign is laden with inflammatory labels such as extremists, fascists, communists, and anarchists its clear that the body politics is deeply infected with a radicalism that has no place in American policy as a bastion of democracy.

The American society is riven with social divisions to an extent not seen in decades.

Some argue that it was there all along but subdued in the aftermath of the civil rights movement and that it took phone cameras and live streaming to bring it to the fore once more.

Mr Trump in particular has been accused of exploiting these divisions political mileage.

Rather than being a calming influence given his position, he is portrayed as inflaming and emboldening his adherents to the Trump gospel.

America is at a crossroads more than it has been in recent time and once again, as with 2016, Donald Trump is standing at that fork in the rod.

President Trump is up against former Obama-era Democrat vice-president Joe Biden.

It would appear that this election is less about Mr Biden’s challenge and all about Mr Trump’s record…or the lack thereof.

One to watch indeed. Mr Trump will revel in the ratings.

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