Sit back and imagine a country where the economy is in decline. A country with energy reserves so big, it dwarfs Saudi Arabia. A country where people are apathetic about the political process and where vanities of fashion and entertainment take the front seat over serious policy arguments. Imagine a country where people are calling for the heads of the police on the streets, and where politicians would rather go on a late night comedy show over a serious newscast. Imagine a country so fed up with political parties that they are willing to elect a guy who they know nothing about, just because he says the right things, even though no one knows if it’s the truth or if he is sincere.
Now stop imagining. You are living in Venezuela, 1997. That was the year where a presidential election turned into a populist sweep for a man who changed the world, Hugo Chavez.
Now, in the United States, we face a similar rise to political prominence, the unlikely and bombastic rise of Donald Trump. Their stories are different — very different. But the mood of the country and the way they take advantage of the populace’s apathy is exactly the same. A loud, almost annoying message of “I.” “I” will get it done, “I” will make the politicians pay.
It’s still early, but I have not suffered through an election like this since Hugo. I had to sit and watch that man win an election by lying and pandering, and then had to watch him, not his policies, but his egotistical personality ruin what was once a world power. Now, every time I hear The Donald talk about politicians being stupid, or lash out at anyone who would dare criticize him, I get flashbacks of populist tyrant Hugo.
Populism is easy. It’s a tool used by politicians on the left and on the right, but it is as dangerous as Barack Obama’s inherent communist roots.
Populism is the biggest threat to the concept of a Republic. In fact, the “left vs. right” debate is widely used by populists to dismantle institutions. Barack Obama has done this like a pro, by barraging the Supreme Court when he doesn’t agree with their decision, or by belittling Congress, or simply by saying “the Cambridge police acted stupidly.” Hugo Chavez ruined the credibility of an entire country with his populist rants on Sunday mornings.
So ask yourself this: “What is Donald Trump going to do?” What is he going to do when his inaugural speech gets destroyed by the pundits and the Sunday talk shows? Is he going to go out and destroy the media? What will he do when Congress refuses to pass his initiatives? Will he use his executive authority to go around them? What will he do when the United Nations extends an invite to a leader the Donald doesn’t like? What will he do when Israel criticizes his Middle East peace plan? How much time will Donald Trump spend in the media briefing room of the White House? What will he do when protesters line up against him?
Donald Trump is dangerous for America and the world. Say what you will about the political establishment, and the political parties. But I will submit to you that there are plenty of candidates in the GOP field who have consistently taken on the establishment and taken on the party. So what is it you hope to accomplish by supporting Trump? If we nominate him, the best case scenario is we loose an election to a Democrat and get a third Obama term.
The worst case, well, just look at Venezuela 18 years later.
Joel Frewa immigrated to the United States from Venezuela and knows a thing or two about Latin American dictatorial socialists who obtained power via populism.