The Language of Republicanism

Who can fail to be struck by the rudimentary form of communication espoused by the presumptive republican candidate in the current US presidential race? In the New York Times‘ report of his reaction to the London Mayoral election we read, ‘Trump said he was pleased to see Khan elected’ – with further quotations from the candidate along these lines: “I was happy to see that [Khan’s election] … I think it’s a very good thing, and I hope he does a very good job because frankly that would be very, very good. You lead by example, always lead by example. If he does a good job … that would be a terrific thing.”

Donald Trump - US Presidential Candidate

Donald Trump – US Presidential Candidate

Leaving aside the artless note of condescension and the fudged conception of ethnic, religious, and civic identities behind it, the inanity of that attempt to drum up support for the last whisps of the America Dream considered as a political ideology fit for plutocrats and wanna-be plutocrats seems to reveal Trump’s conception of political office as a form of self-endorsement for the second-generation migrant. From that standpoint, it seems then that Khan and Trump have something in common and it is only fresh migrants that Trump disparages.

Trump’s racism is what racism always is, a paranoia about the incoming generation of success-hungry migrants whose talents and ambitions threaten to add another layer of inferiority to the blanket of self-doubt which has become the normal garb of lower-income white America – or else to steal the benefits of an egalitarian society which they perversely refuse to demand on their own account through the exercise of informed political choice. Trump’s appeal is that he permits the proverbial “loser” in the American economic race to believe he is still a victor in some sense, or at least that he will not lose out to an even less advantaged group in the future. This is the downside of the project of self-help and capitalist egalitarianism. Patriotism, violence (domestic and foreign) and an inability to see or to appraise the social and political framework in which they are actually living comes as standard for this mentality.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

It is possible to theorise about the sociology of contemporary Republicanism today – equally in American and Irish contexts – but what is manifest is that Trump’s rudimentary version of political eloquence is itself a selling-point for the Republican candidate. It’s actually a language thing. Those who voted for him and will vote for him again are at the disadvantage that they can’t understand what the other candidates are saying because it isn’t couched in the mono-syllabic idiom that they take to be their native tongue. Trump is probably too much the helpless victim of his own monosyllabism to manufacture this response in any machievellian way, but he understands it all the same.

.. Meanwhile, acccording to other sources, Khan is challenging the Left swing of Corbyn’s Labour Party to get back to the Centre .. .

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