While several European politicians seize on US President Donald Trump as a punching bag, at least three are pragmatic enough to copycat his tactics and slogans for boosting their chances to get elected.
The heat Trump is taking at home meanwhile goes from one crescendo to another. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic rival he defeated in 2016, continues to buck all forecasts by apparently shaping up for another bid for the White House in 2020 at the age of 74. This week, she went on about the many culprits responsible for her defeat – all external – until even loyal fans wearily urged her to “move on.”
Nonetheless, she is sticking to her guns. The president is somehow dodging a barrage of assaults on his “Russian connection” – and since Friday, his decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord – sluggish progress on his health, tax and immigration reforms, White House infighting and a Republican party divided against him. Clinton appears to be encouraged enough to pin her hopes on midterm elections next year, which she is counting on enabling Democrats to snatch the House majority. Weakened by the blitz against him, the president will fall under the axe of impeachment, she hopes, and Trump and family will be finally driven out of the White House and Washington.
However, impeachment legislation could drag on for years, as in the case of her husband, Bill Cllinton, and not necessarily end in firing the president. Hillay is not fazed by this, nor by the fact that Trump’s accusers, including former intelligence chiefs and Obama appointees, have failed so far to turn up a scintilla of proof that he is guilty of criminal wrongdoing.
But the months of relentless pressure are taking their toll – even on the president’s following in the House and the Senate. His administration faces major obstacles in pursuing its agenda and a shrinking number of foreign friends, especially in the West.
Now and then, an occasional cool headed observer sees through the anti-Trump tsunami to glimpse the grassroots popularity that brought him to the White House and still weathers the storm of disparagement.
One is former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an antagonist who Friday donated $15 million to the UN fund for combating climate change, to make up for the shortfall caused by Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord. Bloomberg predicted in a news interview that Trump would win a second term in the White House.
In Europe, the most articulate Trump-bashers are German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and the British opposition leader, Labor’s Jeremy Corbyn.
While campaigning for a fourth term in the Sept. 17 election, Merkel was dismayed to discover that having turned its back on Trump’s America and post-Brexit Britain, Germany is on its own: “The times when we could completely rely on others are, to an extent, over,” she commented.
There is more than a dash of cynicism in her comment. The United States began withdrawing from Europe and pivoting towards Asia when George W. Bush was in the White House. This process accelerated under the Obama administration. But now the chancellor faces an electorate which expects practical solutions to its problems, and she may not be able to avoid expanding German military strength. It is convenient for her to pin the blame for this undesirable situation on Trump, making him the symbol of the unreliable NATO order.
And then Macron, scion of the banking establishment and representative of the French elite classes which control it, won the presidency by posing as a non-politician and promising to sweep away “the establishment” and conduct reforms. (Remember Trump’s slogan: “Drain the swamp”?).
The most radical of the three is Britain’s Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has maintained that terrorists, like members of Hamas and Hizballah, whom he has called “friends,” should not be blamed for their violence, but the “establishments” which persecute them. Hence his membership of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and defense of is party’s refusal to expel former London Mayor Ken Livingstone for linking Zionism to Adolf Hitler, and other anti-Semitic members.
But since Corbyn dedicated his campaign for election on June 8, to overturning the “rigged” system which favors elites over ordinary working people, this hitherto veteran back-bencher who espoused leftist fringe causes, has suddenly shot up in the polls. Less than a week before voting, the ruling Conservative’s majority of 20 points is estimated to have shrunk to three. The far-left Corbyn is now in with a chance of replacing Prime Minister Theresa May at 10 Downing Street.