The world deserves better than what Donald Trump has offered so far

Republican elders fear the nomination of Trump would gift the White House to the Democrats. But analysis of his support so far suggests it would be risky to write him off yet

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 March, 2016, 1:13am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 September, 2016, 3:08pm

Super Tuesday, when Republicans and Democrats in 11 states vote in primary polls, is the first big make-or-break day for candidates in the race to be the next US president. This time, however, the emergence of the bruisingly divisive real estate tycoon Donald Trump as Republican front runner has plunged his party into destructive infighting – a “stop trump” campaign by mainstream establishment Republicans. One former presidential candidate Mitt Romney has denounced Trump as a phony, a fraud and a con man of inherited wealth and a history of business failure. Another, Senator John McCain, raised concerns about Trump’s “dangerous statements on security issues”, which resonate in foreign capitals. Trump’s rivals, senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, demeaned and baited him to his face in a TV debate.

Republican elders fear the nomination of Trump would gift the White House to the Democrats. But analysis of his support so far suggests it would be risky to write him off yet. That is reason for the rest of us to worry, given his reckless foreign policy stance, such as controversial views on ending the Syrian civil war and over-the-top China-bashing, including a proposal for huge tariffs that would risk a trade war and damage Sino-US relations .

Trump has risen from political obscurity on the back of insults on migrants, Muslims, women and the disabled that have outraged many. To be sure, a lot of what candidates say to build popular momentum does not find its way into policy once they are endorsed. Indeed, by the end of Super Tuesday Trump had begun trying to soften his divisive image, claiming to be a “unifier” who would bring people together. He still has a lot of work to do, given that the electoral battlegrounds that lie ahead present greater ideological and racially diverse challenges.

Analysis of primary voting has Trump polling well in white blue-collar areas, reflecting Americans’ concerns about immigration and the economy. But the whole world has an interest in the leadership of its greatest economic and military power. It deserves better than what Trump has offered so far.