Donald Trump has made the points, albeit in a way that invites misunderstanding, that 11 million illegal entrants from Mexico are not the socioeconomic cream of that nationality and that it is impossible to screen out terrorists among a large intake of immigrants from the Middle East. He has said that while many of the illegal Mexican migrants are doubtless good people, they came illegally and include many who have raised the crime rate and the welfare costs of the United States. He has been accused of calling them all rapists and this is a grotesque misstatement of what he said. He said that no Muslims should be admitted to the United States until they can be screened securely. He should have been more careful how he expressed these views, but to use these statements as the basis for likening him to someone who destroyed German democracy, murdered 12 million unoffending people in death camps (half of them Jews), and unleashed war across Europe, North Africa, and the Atlantic, is a monstrous abuse of the right of fair comment.
What Donald actually advocates is the deportation of 351,000 illegal immigrants convicted of crimes and now imprisoned; the end of illegal immigration by building an Israeli-like wall along the Mexican border; an (as yet unspecified) screening process to justify the deportation of some of the illegals and the normalization of the others; and although he advocates the suspension already mentioned of Muslim immigration (not the Christians who are almost half of the refugees), he at least acknowledges that the United States is partly responsible for the political chaos that generated this humanitarian tragedy in the first place. He wants only a small increase in defence spending, reallocated to more effective anti-terrorism; and universal health care through health savings accounts and by smashing the insurance cartel. He is for the gradual legalization of most drugs; is a militant anti-polluter, but correctly (on present evidence) regards climate change and cap-and-trade as hoaxes. He wants to leave education (and same-sex marriage) to the states and to give them the money now wasted in the federal Department of Education. He would ban only late-term abortions, and not when there were overriding circumstances. He would reform the corrupt shambles of campaign financing by abolishing super-PACs and soft money, and lift limits on individual contributions to political candidates. He is a moderate protectionist opposite cheap labour countries, and advocates marginal income tax reductions and the reconstitution of the bloated national debt as a sinking fund to be gradually reduced by spending restraint, implicitly involving an imprecise level of entitlement-reform.
Trump opposes foreign intervention in areas where the U.S. has no natural interest, including Ukraine and Syria, but wants a redefinition of the national security interest of the country, and wants to protect that interest, unlike Obama, but not over-extend it, unlike George W. Bush. This is not a radical program. He is fed up with those mealy-mouthed politicians and commentators who nibble around issues and show more concern for the sensibilities of Islam than the security of America, and who ignored every major issue that has arisen for decades — abortion, illegal immigration, wealth disparity, the corruption of campaign financing, and he is not wrong.
Donald Trump is paying for his own campaign, is not dependent on special interests or a sleazy, opinionated gaggle of Hollywood fund-raising philistines or a jaded electoral machine. He may not be the answer, but he is not a kook or a menace. Nor is he quite the phenomenon he seems; the United States has often had previously unelected people as presidential candidates, usually famous soldiers such as Washington, Jackson, W.H. Harrisons, Taylor, Grant, and Eisenhower (and unsuccessful nominees Cass, Scott, Fremont, McClellan, Hancock, and some non-military nominees also — Horace Greeley, Alton Parker, Wendell Willkie, and Herbert Hoover). Prominent military officers and other non-politicians ran a total of 30 times in the 43 presidential elections from 1788 to 1956.
The United States has had 20 years of incompetent government from presidents and Congresses of both parties, which are responsible for an immense and easily avoidable world-wide economic crisis, two absurd and tragic wars, the humiliation of the country with mindless interventionism, self-erasing “red lines,” a cave-in to a nuclear Iran, and a doubling of the national debt of 233 years of American history in eight years. It is little wonder that Americans are thinking of someone not complicit in any of this. America’s previous rise from colonial obscurity to world pre-eminence in three life-times (1783-1991) was without the slightest precedent or parallel in the history of the world. The people are right to be mad as hell. Canada has been more sensibly governed than the United States these last 20 years and is more equable.