The American Dream: A Crucial Factor In The Presidential Elections

It remains a mystery to progressives like me and millions of others globally on why Donald Trump is still maintaining a respectable share of the polls ahead of the Presidential elections in November. His opponent, the formidable Hilary Clinton, turned in a super impressive showing at the first Presidential televised debate and has gained a 5 point lead over Trump but this still puts him at 42% according to a CNN poll. Is Trump really the American Dream?

Despite his buffoonish behavior, trivial answers and an obvious unsuitability for being a credible candidate for one of the highest jobs in the world Trump mania continues relatively unabated.

Although I live in the United Kingdom (UK) I have an avid interest in American politics. I first visited America in the 1980s. Suffering from jet lag I would watch TV into the early hours of the morning. Almost on a loop there would be advertisements that were almost documentaries in their own right featuring ordinary Americans who had achieved the ‘American dream’. These advertisements would feature people running their own companies and advertising their wares through a narrative that told viewers about their so-called humble beginnings and how they turned adversity into the ‘American dream’. For ‘American dream’ read ‘material wealth’ here. These entrepreneurs had big houses and drove flashy cars.

Fast forward to 2016 and I see the ‘American dream’ being sold by Trump to his voters who seem to perceive themselves as having been cut out of the dream through decades of, seemingly, witnessing ‘others’ steal the dream from them. Trump, like a snake oil salesman, arrives at rallies in his own jet emblazoned with his name across it. He is always flanked by his well-dressed children who personify White America’s ideal of loveliness. He talks about how he built up a fortune from almost nothing. His voters lap it all up and shut their ears to the rest of Trump’s personal history on how his father loaned him millions.

The ‘American dream’ zooms into focus as Trump prattles on about his personal loathings and other drivel. Never mind that the ‘American dream’ was meant to embody a set of ideals on democracy, rights, liberty opportunity and equality. The ‘American dream’ is enshrined in the Declaration of Independence which proclaims that ‘all men are created equal with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’. His supporters are blind to the full meaning of the dream because their prejudices against immigrants, people of color, women and disabled people have been legitimized by Trump. This is the new ‘American dream’.

Never mind that globalization is the new world method of doing politics and business which means that America cannot become an isolated nation. Poverty has grown, trickle down economics don’t work and Putin really is the bad guy. Trump wants to close America to outside influences, lower taxes for businesses and admires Putin. God help America and the world if Trump wins.

About the Author Jane Chelliah

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