The appearance of former Ukip leader Nigel Farage at a Trump rally has spurred Guardian columnist Lucia Graves to equate “Donald Trump’s movement” with “that of a rightwing European party.”
Donald Trump’s movement has often been compared to that of a rightwing European party. Now, his union with Europe’s right is official. At a rally on Wednesday Trump presented himself as America’s Nigel Farage, holding the former Ukip leader up as his populist, nationalist twin.
The architects of Brexit like to frame the vote as a righteous backlash against powerful elites. As Farage put it on Wednesday: “You can beat the pollsters. You can beat the commentators … Anything is possible if enough decent people are prepared to stand up against the establishment.”
According to this oft trotted-out framing, Trump’s reviled Washington establishment is a parallel for Farage’s European Commission. But the hyper-focus on anti-elitism obscures the far less righteous xenophobia, racism and anti-immigrant sentiment that were also elements of the leave campaign.
Such uninspiring qualities are the core of Trump’s movement too, and that was apparent in no small number of crowd-pleasing lines. “Why do our leaders spend so much more time talking about how to help people [who are] here illegally than they spend trying to help American citizens?” Trump asked. “The media ignores the plight of Americans who have lost their children to illegal immigrants, but spends day after day pushing for amnesty for those here in violation of the law.”
The bigotry of Trump’s campaign is, if anything, more extreme. While leave campaign leaders such as Boris Johnson would at least distance themselves from the anti-immigrant rhetoric espoused by Farage and others, Trump has embraced it. And even Farage himself has suggested that some of Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric goes too far.
But here’s the thing. Trump is only saying what millions of Americans are thinking. That’s the reason for the traction he’s been getting.
The media have tried in vain to turn public opinion against Trump, and are even running out of fresh exaggerations — such as those we see above — with which to malign the man and his campaign.
That said, Trump can also be his own worst enemy; he absolutely must curb his proclivity to mouth off.
And he needs to understand that he’s very bad at making off-the-cuff speeches; when he does that, he rambles all over the place.
Teleprompters are there for that very reason.