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July 21, 2016 5 Comments

View from America: can the rude outsider win?

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Flat. That’s not a word you often hear of a Convention. But Donald Trump’s four day Trumpethon has achieved it. The Cleveland arena ,which is capable of holding twenty thousand basketball fans, hasn’t seen half that number of Republican delegates. And there have been none surging outside begging to get in.

There haven’t even been any anti-Trump protests of any note outside the Convention complex. Between perhaps 50 anarchists have tried to gather to protest. But the more than 300 hundred bicycle police have held them at bay, using their bikes as handy road blocks. Many thousands more police have sat frustrated in the wings, unused. A far cry from the predictions of mass protests reminiscent of those at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.

The singular lack of big name Republican Speakers has made way for a cascade of young Trumps, pumped with primed prime time remarks about the wonder of having Trump as a Dad.

And yet it could work.

The rude outsider. The man who slandered the father of Texas Senator Ted Cruz for having been involved in the assassination of JFK. The man re-tweeted an unflattering picture of the wife that self-same senator. The Donald talks dirty of those who challenged him. He hardly needed to bother with Cruz — one of the most loathed legislators on Capitol Hill for his hand in the government shut down.

Yes, it could work.

Because Trump talks the way many feel — alienated, oppressed by working conditions and poor wages; cut off from the elite and their riches. Even though Trump himself is rich. But to them he’s an outsider bellowing in, and they feel outside. They may not rally to Cleveland. They may not even actually love him. But to them he, like them, is the outsider.

But the ‘they’ we have seen here are white, averaging between 50 and 75 in age, and vocal. The question is whether Trump’s at times caustic bad language and brash behaviour will reach out to the alienated masses beyond and provoke them to vote.  Or whether like so many TV reality shows, they will get angry, even have a laugh, and then fail to get round to voting – allowing  the old order to return to Washington.

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