The United States of Trumperica

April 28, 2016 01:03 am | Updated November 17, 2021 01:51 am IST

The >march of Donald Trump towards securing the Republican presidential nomination has assumed an air of inevitability. The billionaire property mogul and Grand Old Party frontrunner scored a major victory in Tuesday’s primary elections in five northeastern States. His delegate count now soars at 949, compared to 544 for Senator Ted Cruz from Texas, and 153 for Ohio Governor John Kasich. The response of the panicked GOP mainstream has been feeble. The idea of holding a “contested convention” to thwart Mr. Trump and the plan for Mr. Cruz and Mr. Kasich to collude in the remaining primary races do not appear to be retarding Mr. Trump’s momentum. He is inching ever closer to securing the minimum number of 1,237 delegates required for the nomination. There is a good chance that if Democrat and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wins her party’s nomination, she may emerge as an insurmountable obstacle in Mr. Trump’s path to the White House. Yet her own campaign is not without risks — for example, the troubling questions surrounding the 2012 Benghazi attack and her use of a private email server while serving as Secretary. Thus it has come to a point where Democrats, the American people, and the rest of the world watching the spectacle of the election may have to ponder a question that most wouldn’t have dreamt of asking a year ago: What would the United States and the world look like under the >reign of President Donald Trump?

Consider his policies that would have the strongest ripple effect globally. On trade, Mr. Trump promises to negotiate better agreements by punishing companies that seek to offshore their operations with a 35 per cent tariff on goods they want to sell to the U.S. This flies in the face of the laissez-faire , free-trade model that Republicans generally support. It also risks price wars and spiralling trade disputes that would make their way to the WTO. Relatively low-cost economies such as India may be hit badly. Second, >Mr. Trump’s policies may produce instability vis-à-vis countries that are important to the Indian economy. His sabre-rattling towards China, including his promise to label it a “currency manipulator” and to force it to end “illegal export subsidies” could lead to volatility in the global markets that would exceed the turmoil witnessed at the Shanghai Stock Exchange in 2015. Similarly, his intention to tear up the nuclear treaty with Iran, bomb Syria and shake up ties with Saudi Arabia could send oil prices soaring. On domestic politics, Mr. Trump has sounded hateful about Muslims, Mexicans, women, the differently-abled and the media. Combine this with a vow to roll back health-care reforms, loosen gun control and reinstate torture, a Trump presidency poses the risk of heightening socioeconomic inequality and fuelling bigotry. Internationally, no nation would be more isolated than the United States of Trumperica.

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