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Why Donald Trump Doesn't Stand A Chance

19/09/2015 8:25 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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SIMI VALLEY, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during the presidential debates at the Reagan Library on September 16, 2015 in Simi Valley, California. Fifteen Republican presidential candidates are participating in the second set of Republican presidential debates. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Donald Trump, the brash, blunt-speaking and extremely opinionated billionaire and a candidate for the 2016 Presidential election has surged ahead in all the opinion polls and stayed as a top contender. And even though he suffered quite a clobbering in this week's debate between Republican candidates, he seemed largely unfazed.

Trump's success and the fact that his message resonates with the people do not surprise me. Every few years, in presidential elections, angry, frustrated voters typically gravitate towards these tough-talking, anti-establishment candidates.

These candidates, who are well known in their fields, have name recognition and usually promise to transform the government, improve the economy and restore the country to its former glory and greatness. The rabble rousers turn American politics upside downside and grab headlines and attention but ultimately and historically, they just disappear.

Trump, a New York real estate magnate, skyrocketed to the top of the Republican presidential primary polls by testing the boundaries of political correctness by offering outrageous comments on illegal immigrants, insisting that are "bringing drugs, they're bringing crime" and "they are rapists."

He also believes that cracking down on foreign trade will make "America great again", which is the centrepiece of his campaign.

With his trademark comb-over, his flamboyant take-no-prisoners style, Trump has won over admirers, who delight in his spirited, aggressive exchanges with reporters and the fact that he blithely calls his opponents "morons" and "idiots".

Trump has won over a certain section of the public by telling CNN that "we have people that are incompetent in public office" and that "our country is going to hell. We have a problem and I want to make America great again."

But his rise has a historical precedent in US politics, literature and culture. Americans love to be entertained by anti-establishment candidates but, ultimately, they choose not to vote for them.

Trump will not succeed either. While I concede that he is a game-changer and his presence in the arena will affect the final outcome, I predict his fall and I stick my neck out by declaring that he will be a footnote in the history of this presidential election.

In one past election, the role that is being played by Trump was played by Texas billionaire Ross Perot. At another previous point in time, an Alabama Governor George Wallace was that candidate too. Both lost, ultimately. So will Trump.

It seems hard to believe now. But to illustrate my point: In 1992, Perot was leading then-President George H. W. Bush and then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton in the polls. Clinton had 25%, Bush and 31 and Perot was at 39 in the Gallup Poll.

Clinton won and Perot got 19% of the vote, taking away from Bush, who lost, historians say.

In the famous political movie Citizen Kane, the tough- talking, egotistical, anti-establishment candidate Charles Foster Kane, a newspaper publisher runs for governor of New York.

In his speech, Kane proclaims that the "decent, ordinary citizens know that I'll do everything in my power to protect the underprivileged, the underpaid and the underfed."

It's interesting that in film and in politics, Americans are enamoured by the "dark horse candidate" who comes seemingly out of nowhere and saves the country.

But in the end, voters realise that these candidates cannot really fix what is broken. And they pick the safer alternative. Always.

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