Volker Heun


    n autumn, the midterms are
    coming up in the USA, in
    which Congress and parts
of the Senate will be re-elected. At the same time, this means the mid-term between the 2020 and 2024 presidential elections.
What many did not think possible is the fact that Donald Trump will run again for the Republicans and that, despite all the scandals of the past, he is predicted to have a great chance of re-election. Let’s take an analysis on the man who polarises.

Many would not have thought that Donald Trump would become a presidential candidate again only one and a half years after his supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington. As a businessman he was always good for surprises and often came out of defeats stronger. Probably also as an ex-president in politics. The only alternative presidential candidate so far is Ron de Santis, governor of Florida, who can probably only make the race if Trump eventually does not run at all.

What many people are no longer aware of: Trump achieved the second-best result of all presidential candidates historically with 74 million votes (after receiving only 63 million votes in the 2016 election), Joe Biden achieved 81.3 million votes and then became president. What is interesting here is that Trump achieved significantly more votes in the process than he did when he was elected president. Remarkably, he increased the share of the black electorate to 18% compared to the previous election, in which only 13% blacks voted for him; among Hispanics, the number of Trump voters increased from 28 to 32%, which is almost a third of his electorate.

It is interesting to observe that Trump’s voters are not voters in the classical sense, but rather have fan character. When I met Donald Trump at the Mar a Lago Club during his presidency, thousands of fans stood at the side of the road, waving flags and cheering, whereas as a German I always thought that would never be possible in Germany. It almost seemed to me that it was a pop star and not a president.

Yet Trump has a broad voter base. It is wrong that Trump only gets votes from the white lower class, as was often read in the media. Many entrepreneurs voted for him because they believed that an entrepreneur can help the country economically. This competence will also decide the next election. The USA is currently in a big crisis. Inflation is hitting and life is hardly affordable even for a normal earner – prices for food, petrol as well as rents are rising massively.

Experts agree that Trump lost the last election mainly because he underestimated the dangers of Coronavirus pandemic. The Democrats knew how to exploit this perfectly and won the election. In the same way, the Republicans will set their theme and are likely to win the election precisely because of high inflation, probably even more clearly than many expect. Besides inflation, other reasons are obvious. The Biden administration has never really been convincing and Vice-President Kamala Harris, for many Democrats a beacon of hope and a woman of the future, has hardly made an appearance. Already an old name is appearing on the horizon, which is being traded for the presidential candidacy among the Democrats: Hillary Clinton. It is already a bold prediction: she would have no chance against Trump.

The Biden administration has dismantled itself, especially with the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. The hasty withdrawal of the military left behind seven billion US dollars worth of weapons and thus massively strengthened the military on the ground. Moreover, this was taxpayers’ money, which the USA would now urgently need. However, it should also be mentioned that the troop withdrawal had already been approved by the Trump administration and that the Biden administration was later responsible for its implementation.

I think the media all over the world would love to see Trump become president again. Not because they love him so much, but rather because there would be so much to write about again. I can still remember that it felt like the first 80 per cent of the press reports about Trump that appeared were all negative. After that, more reports came from Germany and the rest of the world. Germany was leading with the negative Trump news. My appeal to the media is balanced reporting – this also includes the positive things, such as the tax cuts under Trump, or the economic strength of the US along with full employment before the Corona era.

It is also worth mentioning that there were no new wars under his presidency, which was probably his greatest achievement. There are reports from the US that the Ukraine war might not have happened with Trump, because as a dealmaker he would probably have made a deal with Russia and Ukraine. Of course, it is always difficult to judge this in hindsight, but Putin saw Joe Biden as a weak president after the Afghanistan disaster and launched his long-planned war. This must be stopped, especially with a strong US and a strong NATO.

Back to the initial question: why is Trump so polarising? The main reason is surely his career as a businessman. Trump is tough as nails and has experienced all the ups and downs as an entrepreneur. Moreover, he does not fulfil the image that many have of a normal politician. Another plus for many is that he is not part of the political establishment like the Clintons, for example.

America first is important to him and so the tax revenues should first benefit the US taxpayer and not be invested worldwide. From the US point of view, the question is: what is so bad about that? An American president is first and foremost there for his own people.

Moreover, in retrospect he had been right with assessments that no one in Germany wanted to hear. He denounced Germany’s dependence on Russian energy and urged it to pay the agreed two percent of GDP to NATO in order to have a defensible alliance. Due to the Ukraine war, Germany has since relented and is paying the agreed percentage.

If the polls are right and Trump is re-elected, we as Germans or Europeans have to accept that, whether we like it or not. You don’t have to like Trump, but he deserves his second chance if that is the will of the American people.

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