Charlie Chaplin's most famous comic character, The Tramp has many things in common with his near namesake, Donald Trump. The antics of the little vagrant fellow in Chaplin's silent films are meant for social sarcasm, whereas Trump, the Republican candidate for the American presidential race is a real-life antic master. The country that takes pride in its most abiding democratic institutions and systems of electioneering has for the first time got a candidate for the White House, who more often than not proves to be an aberration to democracy. How a man of his calibre could snatch the candidacy from his more illustrious and knowledgeable rivals senator Ted Cruz and Senator Marco Rubio is what appears to be the surprise of the century. Of course people like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could be better candidates but they did not run for the top post in the United States of America.
On many of the issues -- both domestic and global --Trump's views are not just radical but ignorant. His and his camp's failure to distinguish between bearded persons of the Shikh community and the Muslims is simply unpardonable. Trump's campaign rally used Gurinder Singh Khalsa's picture in flyers distributed in Ohio as a Muslim to demonstrate the diversity of support he received. But the Sikh, a resident of Fishers City in Indiana, took serious exception to this for two valid reasons. First, he was wrongly shown as a Muslim and second, his picture was used in the flyers without his knowledge.
These are however only slips, frailties and frivolities when compared with his acerbic views of the Muslims, women and neighbouring Mexicans and migrants. Some of these are vermin to him, whom he would like either to push out of the United States of America or not allow to have access to the country by raising a concrete wall. On the contrary, his unreserved praise for North Korean President Kim Jong-Un and Vladimir Putin betrays the jingoism he has been harping on in order to woo American white voters who discover themselves at the receiving end because they have been idle, reluctant to take challenges and took affluence and US superiority for granted.
Trump has a following because the unqualified and aggrieved among the white Americans now find in him someone who would defend their untenable cause. There lies the mystery behind the support he receives. Why the Republican Party had to nominate a man like him is what looks so intriguing. Has the Jewish lobby, often the deciding factor, calculated his chances of becoming the next US president? But he has been comical like the little Tramp. Unaware that 'hate for people other than your own' when comes first, as Charles De Gaulle so succinctly put, is nationalism, Trump and his camp are cultivating a distorted spirit against American nationalism. It is far from De Gaulle's, 'Patriotism is when love for your own people comes first'.
That the man has no respect for women is more than evident. Many women have brought charges against him of indecent proposals and improper behaviour. Videos released concerning a few such incidents only confirm the man's attitudes towards women. For once at least he had to apologise for the nasty and derogatory comments he made against women. Even his wife and daughter took exception to his comments. His wife Melania Trump did not try to defend her husband but asked for forgiveness on his behalf. Daughter Ivanka, a sober girl unlike her father, was critical of him on the issue. How scandalous, Trump unabashedly states that he would have dated with Ivanka had she not been his daughter!
Trump is a man who has miserably failed to rise up to the trust his party and more particularly the American people repose in candidates for US president. He reminds for such dalliance an autocrat Bangladesh had to put up with. And then in terms of insanity Trump can very well claim a legacy left by a chief election commissioner here. When power enters into the head of someone poorly attributed for handling it, it gets expressed in queer forms -hubris leading the way. Or else, how can a man faulting on so many counts, can still be in the presidential race? A Democratic candidate Gary Hart was a front-runner in the 1988 primary but he had to quit on allegations of a romantic affair. A picture of a woman sitting on his lap devastated his chance of becoming a US president.
Evidently no more. Voices have been raised in isolation for Trump's resignation from candidacy or putting up an alternative candidate. House Speaker Paul Ryan declared he would not defend Trump when the nasty videos got released. But many Republican lawmakers openly made it known that they would not support the party candidate.
The dignity associated with a presidential candidate is missing altogether. It is nothing if not a farce. Once humour, wit and flashes of exceptional intelligence were the hallmarks of US presidential debate. Now it has turned into vitriolic exchanges. The slide is there for all to see. Yes, there comes the quality of candidates. This is not for the first time, though, that America has experienced the denigration of electioneering system. Al Gore's defeat came at a cost of democracy. Even Bill Clinton, despite his smartness and intelligence, did not help maintain the aura of the office of the US president. Trump has not done any favour to the 'word' in a game of cards where it clinches a round. Chaplin's Tramp would not have done any worse.