Rivers sets out the questions Americans may be asking of their leaders: might American choose Donald Trump as their next president?

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

July 25, 2016



Trump smirk July 24-16

Is this a smug over-confident man – or has he convinced America that he can and will protect them?

It’s a crazy, topsy-turvy world. And nothing is more upside down than what is happening south of the border. The Republican party has nominated the bombastic and seemingly racist, tycoon Donald Trump, to be their standard bearer for the most important job on the planet. Trump, who has never served in any public office delivered an acceptance speech which was more than a little scary – not as much by what he said but more for what was left unsaid.

Building a border wall with Mexico and banning Muslims from entering the USA are the closest things to policy statements he’s uttered, though he has also mulled about NATO being obsolete and tearing up international trade agreements. Trump calls it America First, a term that can be found in the dirty laundry of America’s troubled past.

American history has its very roots in isolationism. Founding fathers Washington and Jefferson were determined to leave Europe and European entanglements behind them as thy founded their new land. They even cancelled their military alliance with France once their independence-war was resolved.

Following a late and reluctant involvement in the First World War America’s right-wing politicians kept it out of the League of Nations, an American concept and the pre-cursor to today’s UN. The US’s decision to stay out of the League damned this early attempt at global governance and ultimately contributed to the advent of WW II.

America First was a popular early WWII movement which collapsed following the attack on Pearl Harbour. Membership included Charles Lindbergh, the Kennedys and other prominent Americans who inadvertently became apologists and supporters of Hitler’s destructive policies, much as Trump’s advisor’s are to Russia’s Putin today.

America First is a powerful sentiment but is it even possible? America has been the cop of the world since the middle of the last century. And it has also been policeman, judge and jury too often. So it’s not surprising that ISIS has sprung up – a political and social superbug intent on countering the medicine being doled out by an over-prescriptive and paternalistic USA.

It all makes sense to a nation tired of endless wars and unsure about its place in the world any more. And Trump is the iconic American conservative. Inward looking and largely disinterested in the rest of world. He may be better travelled than Bush and married to a foreign chick, but he is still that local fellow – not at all like the intellectual globe-trotting Kerrys or Clintons. And that is why he may well become America’s next president. He really is like so many of his supporters in that regard.

Almost everything that goes up comes down. Everything old looks new again given enough time. And we eventually get bored with everything. So change is a potion, transforming the mundane to magic – at least until we realize that ‘plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose’.

Change as a motto worked for Obama. And changing back from the future may very well work for Trump and his nostalgic view of the world, it’s just back to Happy Days.

Trump fist up

Gas Donald Trump managed to reach into the hearts of an unhappy American electorate.

If you lived in Nebraska, wouldn’t you be tempted to ask what the hell your leaders are doing meddling in the Middle East, or why the US is risking your child soldier’s life defending Europe from Russia or Japan from China? Wouldn’t you be tempted to ask why your leaders are allowing cheap foreign products to enter your markets duty free while your factories are shut down forcing their workers to line up for unemployment, welfare or Mac jobs?

And wouldn’t you be tempted to ask why you should be welcoming people, like immigrants from Muslim countries or Latin America, who bring their own culture and religion – changing the face of the America you once knew and loved? That was the most powerful question the British recently asked themselves. Their answer was Brexit. Down home America’s answer may well be Trump and America First.

Ray Rivers

Ray Rivers

Background links:

Ray Rivers is an economist and author who writes weekly on federal and provincial issues, applying his 25 years of involvement with federal and provincial ministries.  Rivers’ involvement in city matters led to his appointment as founding chair of Burlington’s Sustainable Development Committee.  He was also a candidate in the 1995 provincial election.


Publishers engage informed people to write which Ray Rives has been doing for the Gazette for more than three years.  We are proud to have Ray Rivers as an opinion writer however in this instance we do not agree with the views Rivers has put forward.

Isolationism –   America First –   League of Nations –   Republicans in Cleveland

Trump and Fear –     Obama on Trump –  Lies –   Trump the Dictator

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

6 comments to Rivers sets out the questions Americans may be asking of their leaders: might American choose Donald Trump as their next president?

  • Gary

    Trump is not a conservative which is why many Republican insiders shunned him.

  • Lonely Taxpayer

    If Trump wins – then he can try to implement his “Make America Great Again” program (whatever it is).

    If he’s successful, then that’s great!

    If it isn’t successful, oh well, he tried. No harm no foul.

    At least everyone learns his style is not effective.

    Should the US vote Hillary in, it will be 4 more years of the same thing which we know doesn’t work.

    PS – I am not sure how the US goes about banning a religion from entering the country. Passports don’t have a check box for religion.
    And terrorists don’t work on the honour system.

  • The scariest part about Trump is that we don’t know what will happen if he is elected. He switches positions so fast that like any vacuous businessman, he’ll do anything as long as it sells.
    The scariest part about Hillary is that we know what will happen if she is elected. She is a pro-corporate-insider (Walmart, Wall Street and GMOs) and that represents a case where big business continues to pull the strings of what is supposed to be a democracy.
    Remember that you read it here first: either, Trump or Hillary, as well as Trudeau will eventually boost the TPP, in one form or another. As such, all of the choices are scary!

  • Absolutely comprehensive and razor sharp insight. One of the best analyses yet published. The United States is again showing the paucity of its educational system and the nastiness of its reaction to the growing realization not of its greatness, but of its inadequacy.

    While Trump appears to be Putin’s agent in place, and should be carefully regarded as such, it is not so much the candidate who is worrisome as it is the un-elected shadows that would slither into positions of power and influence beyond the awareness and the power of the voters. As with Ford, the demented Reagan, and the pseudo-cowboy George W. Bush, a cadre of extremists is waiting in the wings for the current Punch & Judy show to deliver them into power.

  • doug

    The publisher doesn’t agree with this view, I guess you are happy having our good jobs go to Mexico and other low wage Countries. Walmart is flourishing because cheap Chinese products is all Canadians can afford, that is unless you are a Gov employee.
    Maybe our PM should worry less about selfies and get his act together and realize what the average Jane and Joe are up against.

  • James

    On one hand you have phoney Hillary Clinton, one of the elite government insiders, proven to be corrupt beyond belief. With her as President, Americans are assured more of the same, a continued downward spiral towards chaos. She tries to paint an optimistic picture, but most Americans know the truth: Their country is in trouble, and she and her insiders are a large part of the problem.

    On the other hand you have Donald Trump, and government outsider with deep pockets and a super inflated ego, and a seemingly unrealistic vision of how much power the President actually has to make changes happen. Whereas sitting in the throne of his Trump Tower yields him unquestioned power, sitting in the oval office does not. Somehow he’s going to need to work with the Senate and Congress, otherwise he’ll be just as useless as all those previous Presidents he speaks negatively towards. But he does have a degree of “what if” in his favour. What if he can do even a fraction of the things he claims he can do? Trump supporters are clinging on that “what if”.

    The NRA, lobbyists and special interest groups seem to be running America, not the elected government. Guns, violence, corruption, unemployment, racism, and poverty have become reality for far too large a population in the US. Whereas Clinton tries to mask reality with phoney optimism, Trump is facing it head on. Trumps speeches are dark, because he is reflecting the reality of where America is, and is heading. He speaks the truth (well, I use that term lightly), as scary as it is, and a lot of people disagree with him because they don’t want to believe that truth.

    Both Trump and Clinton would make horrific Presidents, but that’s what it’s come down to. I’ve never seen America so divided in my lifetime, and it’s very concerning. America is desperate, and Trump’s “what if” could be all they’ve got left. I predict a rough 4 years however this plays out. Me, well I’d prefer to toss all the candidates back into a Yahtzee cup, give it a shake, and see if the next roll is better than the first. Surely America can do better than this.