The Democratic Party convention, which is expected to choose Hillary Clinton as the party’s candidate for president, is taking place in Philadelphia this week. In an attempt to put some distance between her and her opponent, Clinton has chosen as her vice presidential running mate Tim Kaine, a lover of Hispanic culture, supporter of immigration reform, and president of the U.S.-Spain Council.*
One of the speakers at the convention will be Francisca Ortiz, an undocumented woman whose daughter is a U.S. citizen—an example of the contradictions in the immigration laws. Opposed to them is businessman Donald Trump, who is ready to pull his country out of all international organizations, including those led by the United States. So far, this “Trexit” would affect the World Trade Organization, NATO, and organizations on the United States’ own continent—and almost all of the rest of the world.
In statements that would be appropriate for a private individual, but not for someone who aspires to lead the world, Trump suggested on NBC that he will put France and Germany on the list of countries whose citizens will have problems traveling to the United States, owing to the fact that “they’ve been compromised by terrorism.” In his opinion, they are responsible for what happened in Nice and Munich because they have allowed a mass influx of people into their countries.
Trump is also a recent descendant of European immigrants. But it’s not a question of taking apart the Republican candidate’s arguments, but rather of calling attention to the dangers of populism; the lie that is gaining acceptance is the one about solving very complex problems in a very simple way. Trump wants to be an anti-system candidate from within the system, to ally himself with the popular feeling against the political class in Washington, of which Clinton is a distinguished member, and against institutions in general. It doesn’t matter that the United States has been the main beneficiary of, and one of the driving forces behind, globalization. He will be against everything that is unpopular.
The demonization of the opponent, which is typical of populism, leads to insults like those hurled at Hillary at the Republican Convention, from her being a murderer to being someone who should be thrown into jail. In the polls, 65 percent think that Clinton is dishonest; a disappointing result, even though it’s only three points higher than the numbers for Trump himself. At stake in the U.S. elections in November will be the taking of a step back from the political and business leadership of the world, just when other actors, for example, Russia, are starting to put an undeclared alliance of countries with dubious democratic behavior together around their borders.
*Editor’s note: The United States-Spain Council is an organization in which U.S. and Spanish corporate leaders, top government officials and leaders in education and culture promote stronger ties between the two countries.