13 October 2015

Dear America, please don’t choose Donald Trump


Like many bullies, Donald Trump has a dishing-it-out-but-not-taking-it problem. He has systematically insulted the other Republican presidential candidates, often in the crudest, most foul-mouthed way. But he goes ballistic at the slightest criticism. When, for example, Rich Lowry, the highly respected editor of the National Review, observed that Carly Fiorina had emasculated him with the precision of a surgeon – a pretty unarguable conclusion, by the way – he called on the regulators to fine Lowry and ban him from television. Lowry, he added rather lamely, was “a bad guy”.

And yet, incredibly, Trump continues to lead the Republican field by a significant margin. This vain, petulant narcissist, who owes his fame to a reality TV show, is even shown in some polls beating the Democrats. Apparently, lots of voters simply want someone to articulate their anger. It’s almost enough to make me doubt my faith in open primaries.

Almost. We should remember that it’ll be some time before the first ballots are cast in Iowa and New Hampshire. Primaries test candidates in all manner of situations: local radio, rallies, TV debates, front rooms, barbecues for party branches. In consequence, few crackpots get through.

So far, the system has worked. Not in the sense that every winning candidate is an Abraham Lincoln; but in the sense that it is better at weeding out duds than any alternative method. Is it really going to fail now, when we have the strongest Republican primary line-up since at least 1980?

These are serious times, and America is a serious country. There are plenty of outsiders in the Republican field who understand that you can be anti-Establishment without sounding like an online comment thread. Come on, America, don’t do this to us. You deserve better. And we expect better.

Daniel Hannan is a Conservative Member of the European Parliament and blogs at www.hannan.co.uk.