A friend in Kenya asked me the following questions: Why is the Republican Party undermining its own front runner? Is that a democratic thing to do? Nothing comparable is happening in the Democratic Party. Is this because Hillary Clinton has been in the arena and is a known quantity whereas Mr. Trumpâ€™s positions on issues are unknown because he is new?
I attempted to answer by providing a context.
I asked my friend to imagine a small group of like-minded people which, armed with little besides sharp intellect and a demeanor of tolerance, has used the democratic process to enter and eventually control the institutions that make or sanction values in post-Second World War United States.
Over time, one by one â€“ the Parents and Teachers Association, the town council, the state legislatures and courts, and ultimately the national institutions such as Congress, the Judicial system and the Executive Branch â€“ all came to espouse and promote views that were once held by a small group of like-minded people. The religious institutions, the golf club, the text books, the boardrooms of companies, the voluntary organizations working on development overseas, and multilateral organizations based in the United States - all gradually adopted the values and passions that were held by a small group of people barely seventy years ago. This is the triumphant march of liberalism on its way to becoming the American Standard. Today, US liberalism is projected worldwide through institutions that are largely dominated by the liberal side of the US political arena. In the US political arena, liberalism is far more entrenched in the Democratic Party and less in the Republican Party.
Hillary Clinton is a true believer in liberalism, ready to receive the baton from the current standard bearer, Barack Obama. Her positions on current issues have been brought to Kenya, already stamped â€œapprovedâ€ by a media that is dominated by promoters of liberalism.
In contrast, the limited information on Mr. Trumpâ€™s positions that reaches Kenya depict him as a leader of irrational, ignorant, racist, xenophobic, nativist, reactionary and angry people. Setting aside the name calling, I encourage my Kenyan friend to ask: what is the cause of the anger? The short answer is that on its way to becoming the American Standard, liberalism has injured many politically, socially, and economically and it is these casualties that are flocking to Mr. Trump on the Right and to Mr. Sanders on the Left â€“ very angry.
Mr. Trumpâ€™s followers are angry because they feel that all too often their votes, their views, and their passions are routinely blocked by institutions that are driven by liberals. Feeling disenfranchised, Mr. Trumpâ€™s followers have taken refuge in a long list of small groups that have risen and disappeared over the last seventy years. The most recent refuge is the Tea Party which attempted to take over the Republican Party to reverse the diminishing contrast between the two Parties which reflects the triumph of liberalism.
And then Mr. Trump has emerged saying: I feel your pain. I will make your votes count again. I will reverse the decline of the United States. I will scuttle regional trade agreements and bring factories, industries and jobs back. I will restore good relations with critical allies abroad. Under President Trump the gentrification of hedonism and narcissism, Mr. Obamaâ€™s apparent calling, will slow down. On campuses students and their professors will express whatever views they wish without being insulted as intolerant, undemocratic or un-American by the elitist liberal thought police of political correctness.
Believers claim that liberalism expands freedom. Mr. Trumpâ€™s supporters say that the ever-growing list of political, social and economic activities that are forbidden by liberalism actually shrinks freedom. Furthermore, this list continues to expand because electoral, legislative and judicial processes are rigged to filter out any thought, view, or candidate that deviates from liberalism.
What is being done to Mr. Trump is a case in point. The Republican Party is under internal and external pressure to find a candidate who is more moderate and therefore acceptable to the liberals.
To my Kenyan friend I say that on the way to becoming the American Standard, liberalism has moved the political arena steadily to the Left. Mr. Trumpâ€™s supporters are pulling the arena to the Right.That effort is not new. However, this time there is a highly visible spokesperson: Mr. Trump.
This is only an attempt to explain, not to defend Mr. Trumpâ€™s supporters or liberalism.
By Mwangi Wachira | email@example.com