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Do we have a Trump card?

Posted By Chris Reay, Tuesday, 08 December 2015

I have been watching with interest the nomination process that is happening in the USA particularly with the Republican Party bun fight for their nominee. The debates are prolific with typical political innuendo and the desire to try to convince the public to accept each partys’ policies or attempts to have any. A rather grey bunch of the inevitable professional political candidates all seeking to make a living off the taxpayer by being elected to a nice paid position without ever really having to get any action to meet the word.

One exception has emerged in the person of Donald Trump. This has caused a great deal of anxiety in the ranks of the republicans and it seems Democratic Party as well. A number of reasons have caught the voters notice; he is not a politician being sponsored and influenced by election funding from future lobbyists and superPACs, he is self-funding his campaign, he has proven he is a successful businessman, he employs thousands of people including legal status Hispanics, and he is the only candidate who has raised the matter of illegal immigrants and bringing jobs back to the USA.   He has adopted a campaign message stated as “Make America Great Again”. What is striking is that his policies do not align with the traditional republican mandates. He is clearly showing the value of leadership and how desperate the people are for it. He is creating a movement.

The press has displayed its traditional biases but are finding it a challenge to have to accept his domination in the poll results so far. As Trump keeps pointing out in his speeches, the USA has a debt load of nineteen trillion dollars and growing as its trading partners keep having trade deals loaded in their favour. This seems to have missed the notice of all the other candidates. 

What if any message does this have on SA? It is not a trivial indication that the voters are fed up with political inaction and ineptitude. The real concern voters have is lack of jobs. Not too different from our situation. What is striking is that in the recent ANC’s national gathering to review progress and future action, the economy and jobs did not even get onto the 7 item “action” list. 

Daily we watch SA business shrinking into losses, projecting an uncertain future and now retrenching the skilled resources (largely engineering) that formed a major part of the scarce skills lists published (again) following the tabling of the stillborn National Development Plan. The most obvious question is how does SA handle the collapse of the resources and commodities bubble? It really did not effectively participate in the commodities boom since 2008, hamstrung by policy uncertainty, labour strikes and power shortages, so there was little if any funding stored away for the present rainy day. Where is a replacement strategy?

If one follows the logic outlined in RW Johnson’s recent book on “Can South Africa survive?”, it is going to require a very concerted and effective policy and strategy change to get us out of the declining trend which may inevitably go the way of Greece, and possibly going cap in hand to the IMF.

Does SA have a Trump who can get up and take a bold stance against our over politically mandated economy and lead SA out of our mess and into a promised land?

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