By: KWENDO OPANGA
I trace my interest in US presidential elections to 1972.
I was in primary school and in those days kids belonged strictly to goats, not humans!
For some reason, I was drawn to Democratic challenger George McGovern and not Republican incumbent Richard Nixon.
I heard the results one morning on Uncle Reuben’s radio.
As I walked, barefoot, of course, to school, I was itching to let my classmates know it. I wrote out the news on the blackboard.
When the Maths teacher walked in, he swiftly caned me for impersonating a teacher.
Four things stand out from these two paragraphs. One, I grew up to be a teacher and journalist.
Two, my politics remains left of centre and, three, my consumption of local and global news and politics remains voracious.
Last, this newspaper is a global blackboard.
But, I have never found much time for Republican primaries until now.
Yes, that’s because of a guy called Donald Trump. I like him.
He says what he wants to say and does not care how he says it!
HE HAS MONEY
He has money by the shipload and tells you loudly that “I am really rich!”
He is not a politician and boasts no political skills, but he is not going to be tutored – at least not now – to be politically correct and say the right things when to say them; smile when it is right; or, commission opinion polls to know what the people should be told.
He wants to set the agenda for the people.
Trump wants to be hired as President so he is telling Americans that their political leaders are dummies, incompetents and stupid.
He is laying into Republican rivals with a bluntness they have never known and they are cringing as the contest becomes all about Trump!
Trump is voicing issues ordinary Americans care about, but political correctness tells their leaders to talk about them only in certain sanitised ways.
He is saying illegal immigration is bad for America and is calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals.
Rivals would not dare!
LOST TO CHINA
Trump is telling Americans the US used to be a great manufacturer, but they have since lost out on manufacturing and jobs to China because their leaders in Washington do not know how to negotiate.
“I want to make America great again,” he says.
How? See for yourself! Trump is a builder of impressive buildings, businesses and brands.
He is a negotiator and deal-maker who keeps an eye on the purse and bottom line.
His pitch is simple: the US needs a businessman to reclaim its greatness because politics has failed it!
He arrives for meetings in his planes on which his name is emblazoned.
He is tall and big as he struts to his stretch limousines.
You can’t miss the man, his planes or limousines.
And he is shaming the media which dismissed him as a clown when he announced his bid.
The Huffington Post famously consigned news about him to the entertainment pages!
The man is not only topping national opinion polls, but he is also setting the news agenda.
When the Des Moines Register asked him to withdraw from the race, he hit it very hard: “The Des Moines Register has lost much circulation, advertising and power over the last number of years.
“They will do anything for a headline, and this poorly written “non-endorsement” got them some desperately needed ink.”
That cut and hurt!
Americans love to flaunt name recognition.
So Republicans want it known presidential hopeful John Ellis Bush (Jeb) was governor of Florida and his father George H W and brother, George W were 41st and 43rd US presidents respectively.
But Trump’s non-political name recognition trumps Jeb’s.
There are his high-end buildings and hotels in many US cities, Brazil, Canada, India, Panama, Philippines, Uruguay and Turkey and golf courses in the US, Dubai, Scotland and Ireland.
There is his mineral water, beauty pageants and, yes, Apprentice, the TV show!
Apprentice gave the world the catchphrase: You’re fired!
It made Trump world-famous as the ruthless businessman who hires only the very best.
The offshoot of this is the new campaign rally poster that declaims: Trump, you’re hired!
So, what can stop Trump’s march to the Republican nomination? One of the following: the Grand Old Party (GOP) establishment (wenyewe) which does not trust him; two, a scandal dug up from his past and or, three, Trump utters some scandalous nonsense.
Suffice to say that Trump is running against the GOP establishment, rivals and media!