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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Carlos Alberto Montaner: Donald Trump's Best Defense (VIDEO)
"What has made the United States great, and what has made it the first nation on the planet, the only superpower, is precisely the absence of radicalism in the leadership of the country," writes Latin American genius Carlos Alberto Montaner. "Trump is wrong when he says he will make America great. The USA is already great."

By Carlos Alberto Montaner

Tom Klingestein is the author of the most intelligent defense of Donald Trump I have ever seen. I am referring to his conference "Trump 2020: A Man vs a Movement", that can be found easily on the Internet.

TK lives in NY and is the Chairman of the Claremont Institute, a conservative think-tank, based in California, founded more than forty years ago. TK is a person dedicated to finance, an investor and, in addition to being a thinker, he is a playwright. He must be in his sixties, but I'm not very good at guessing how old people are.

Klingenstein (who is in my opinion thoroughly wrong) makes three statements at the beginning of his talk:
  1. Donald Trump is the perfect man for this juncture. Not for all, but for this one. He has plenty of his usual swagger. Sometimes he seems to be his own greatest enemy.
  2. Republicans are not doing their job well.
  3. The Democratic Party has been taken over by the more radical wing and is about to start a revolution. Proof of this are the looting, the fires and the statements of Antifa and Black Lives Matter. According to TK, this election is the most important since 1860.

In that year Lincoln became President and led one of the two Americas that ended up embroiled in a deadly civil war that cost the country more than 600,000 lives in just 4 years (from April 1861 to April 1865). At the end, it had an extraordinary consequence: the end of slavery in the country. (By the way, judging by the overwhelming anti-Trumpism in the black population, had he lived at that time, it is likely that Trump would have sympathized with the defeated South and not with the victorious North).

In any case, Donald Trump is not the man to preside over the most successful democracy on the planet. He is, as Republican Senator Marco Rubio called him, a “con man”, a rogue, a simulator, who failed as a university educator and as a gambling casino owner, but he is a great salesman of himself, capable of posing as a great businessman.

Republicans do what they can with Trump. In many cases the dilemma is to continue with him or not to be elected. It is known that the Bush family and those around John McCain and Mitt Romney reject him. But as a good authoritarian leader, Trump has taken hold of many Republican constituencies, although hundreds of generals, admirals and public servants, such as John Bolton and James Comey, loathe him and have stood up to him.

The most interesting part of TK's talk has to do with the Democratic Party. According to him, the most radical ones have taken over the institution. I don't believe it. Neither Biden nor Harris are radicals. Joe Biden spent several decades in Congress and was Obama's VP for eight years, while Kamala Harris has also been in public service for many years, as a lawyer and as a senator, and neither have ever crossed the limits of liberal democracy.

What TK thinks of as "radicalism" is not. Neither compliance with the rules of "political correctness" --essentially limitations in the use of language--, or "identity politics", or multiculturalism, threaten the "American way of life". That is the current "American way of life."

They are only samples of the natural evolution of a society that currently has 330 million inhabitants, and many of whom find it impossible to assume the white and pro-slavery story of the planters who founded the republic in 1776 and gave themselves a brilliant Constitution (for their time) in 1787. (In those years, the USA had less than 5 million inhabitants and occupied a territory infinitely smaller than the current one.)

The “identity politics” is the one expressed by the groups linked to the LGTBQ. Tired of being marginalized, persecuted (and sometimes killed or imprisoned), for supporting unconventional sexual urges. They claim a freedom that is not against the United States, but falls within the "liberal democracy" invented precisely by a society that has made a religion out of civilized dialogue.

Multiculturalism grew out of an obvious observation. There was no "melting pot" that mixed and equalized the newcomers to the country, but, really, a "paella" was created in which each group maintained their religion (or their non-religion), their customs, and sometimes their language , until subsequent generations partially assimilated the influences of the founding nucleus. All of them were united by "constitutional patriotism." The fact that everyone respected the same rules.

What has made the United States great, and what has made it the first nation of the world, the only superpower, is precisely the absence of radicalism in the leadership of the country. Trump is wrong when he says he will make America great. The USA is already great.

Almost everyone agrees that the market economy is the preferred economic system, and Democrats and Republicans agree on the virtues of democracy as a way to change government elites. Trump and TK are wrong when they say that this is a unique election.

They disagree, yes, on the amount of taxes and the powers of the government, but neither Senator Elizabeth Warren, nor the monomaniac Senator Bernie Sanders, with his ritornello of the 1%, are dangerous "radicals." They are not trying to change the essence of the system that has made the United States great.

Another thing is the marginal groups linked to the KKK, Antifa or BLM. If there is something foreign to the political beliefs of the United States, it is indiscriminate violence, even if it has a legitimate origin. In the end they will be overwhelmed by "constitutional patriotism." These groups will disappear for lack of a known structure and because 90% of American society, from conservatives to (so-called) liberals, viscerally reject barbarism. ©FIRMAS PRESS

Carlos Alberto Montaner is a journalist and writer. Born in 1943 in Cuba and exiled, Montaner is known for his more than 25 books and thousands of articles. PODER magazine estimates that more than six million readers have access to his weekly columns throughout Latin America. He is also a political analyst for CNN en Espanol. In 2012, Foreign Policy magazine named Montaner as one of the fifty most influential intellectuals in the Ibero-American world. His latest novel is A Time for Scoundrels. His latest essay is "The President: A Handbook for Voters and the Elected." His latest book is Sin ir más lejos (Memories), published by Debate, a label of Penguin-Random House.


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