Donald Trump has made a bigger splash than the talking heads expected. A bigger splash than you or I expected. A few months ago, I think you could have gotten even money that when the time arrived, he would not actually file.
But- here we are. He filed and is the leader in many polls. What is the appeal?.
He hits back. He has charisma. But some of his positions are clearly resonating with the Republican electorate in ways that seem out of sync with the positions of the “Establishment” voices.
What would we like to know about the fit between Trump’s assault on immigration and his positions on international affairs? Could we credit both the hostility to Mexicans, and his stance toward China, for example, to a racial identity that play with a large segment of white Republican white men. Is it accurate? Is it fair?
He has a lot of interesting and likeable characteristics: an extrovert, with a load of ambition but still, a sense of humor. He is a successful businessman but his characteristics make a good fit for a successful politician. You are curious about what he will say. .
Take these characteristics and put them in someone tall and white, and there is an immediate audience. We have seen those qualities travel with a different ideology. Think Bill Clinton.
But Bill Clinton appealed to blacks, as well as whites, because he had a different emotional tone. The characteristic that has identified the Trump campaign, a bristling hostility toward Mexican illegals, would have been unimaginable in Clinton. Or in any Democratic politician. For one thing, the Democrats need Mexican votes..
Now Trump sees what we all see. The blustery, aggressive approach has worked when dealing with domestic issues. Why not use it on foreign affairs?
I suspect that one would see an impressive consistency among Trump supporters on a certain few key issues across the domestic/international affairs divide. That is, the same white men who are most in favor of deporting 11 million Mexicans , would also support a more aggressive stance against Putin.
Why not extend the bluster template into the debates with Russia and China? Why not extend it into talks about nuclear controls?
Why not? Because nuclear weapon engender fear.
If the fundamental position of this blog is correct, bluster will not suffice. Threats will not suffice.
Nuclear weapons should be seen as IQ tests. Sooner or later the U.S. will have to reach an agreement with the other major players to limit the destructiveness of nuclear weapons.
As the election season moves along, the differences will become sharper. Debates and enough questions inevitably make delineations.
Right now his language is very much in sync with the language of the Establishment that has directed Nuclear Realities for three quarters of a century. He is direct. Build up a strong enough military and you will never have to use it. Weapons for peace as it were. The assumption that Trump makes is the same assumption that tall white American leaders have been making for three generations.
There is a “common sense” charm about it. It has been the common sense approach since time immemorial. The cave man knew; if your enemy has three stone axes and you have fifty stone axes you are safe. And so it is to the modern carrier fleet.
But in 1956, America could have destroyed both Russia and China with bombers and nuclear weapons and neither one could have destroyed America. A half century later, the U.S. could destroy Russia and China in minutes; but both Russia and China can also destroy America.
Common sense does not help. China and Russia still cannot match the American economy.
But they can match that American engineer. IQ tests predict that.