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A week in America | 5 April 2024

By Martin Liptrot

By Martin Liptrot

This week Martin looks at the latest happenings in the US election campaign and how Trump is steadily gaining ground with key demographics and voter groups.

Nothing infuriates the ‘Left’ in America more than Donald Trump.

Not simply because he is an egotistical, self-promoting, boorish-blowhard, but because they didn’t think of him first.

Trump, for all his faults, shortcomings, and unpalatable connections, is a campaign force to be reckoned with.

This week, he finally found a dodgy-looking used car dealer and sub-prime loan finance shark to post his $175 million bond to stop the New York attorney from seizing and selling his assets, including his Florida bolt-hole resort Mar-a-Largo.

While those of us who are firmly planted on the ‘Left of Centre’ look on in dismay, it now appears that short of a new legal crisis or medical emergency, Donald Trump will be on the ticket as the Republican’s nomination for President in 7-months’ time.

The list of offences, challenges, and legal woes he is facing would have even the thickest-skinned Tory MP quaking at the gate of their country home as they read the prepared statement announcing their decision to ‘step down and spend more time with the family’.

Not our Donald. He could care less.

With legal decisions against him for defamation, court gagging orders in place, bankruptcy and fraud allegations, falsification of business records, hush money payments to a porn star, and the removal and destruction of classified documents hidden in his bathroom – you’d think anyone standing for the top job in the World would slide quietly out of sight.

But Donald doesn’t care. He isn’t even arguing that he isn’t guilty, his defence is that he, as a former President, should be immune from prosecution instead. Let that sink in.

But just as importantly, his supporters don’t care either.

He is their messiah, and they are eager for the second coming.

This Easter week a cringe-inducing AI photo-shop image of Trump at prayer in some stock photo chapel was released to coincide with the announcement that a business offshoot of Trump’s Make America Great Again campaign would be selling bibles.

The St Donald version no doubt.

For $59.95 – taxes, shipping and handling costs are extra – you too can have a copy of ‘God Bless America’ – country music star Lee Greenwood’s version of the Bible endorsed by Trump.

But for one voting group – Evangelicals – this is manna from heaven. They love Trump almost as much as they love Jesus.

And Donald knows it. He needs their support, and he needs it now. Payable in cash.

Trump’s campaign were quick to point out that this bible in question – which unlike boring orthodox versions includes copies of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the handwritten lyrics to the chorus of Greenwood’s Trump anthem -“God Bless the USA” – has absolutely nothing to do with Trump’s campaign.

The Website selling the book makes that abundantly clear: the Bible is “not owned, managed, or controlled by Donald J. Trump, The Trump Organization, CIC Ventures LLC, or any of their respective principals or affiliates.” Instead, Trump’s “name, likeness, and image” are being used “under paid license from CIC Ventures LLC.”

Who are CIC Ventures LLC?

In Donald Trump’s financial disclosure made public last year, he’s identified as the “manager, president, secretary and treasurer” of CIC Ventures LLC, and the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust is identified as a 100 percent owner of the business.

The principal address for CIC Ventures LLC is 3505 Summit Boulevard, West Palm Beach, Florida. That is a Trump-owned golf course.

See, nothing to do with Donald at all.

The reason so many Christian nationalists are being urged to buy this tome through this network of arm-length businesses is because that way the money can be funnelled back to Trump’s team to pay the interest he is amassing on that $175million loan without the pesky oversight of the Federal Election Commission or the various state bodies whose role it is to make sure elections are fair.

It is genius.

If you don’t care who votes for you, who donates to your cause, or what improbable conspiracy theory you are whipping up – elections are easy.

And it is making Democrats and Liberals crazy which is just the icing on the cake to Trump and his followers.

And the plan is working. While Biden is getting all tongue tied on issues of race, women and transgender rights, Donald’s team is now attracting growing support from Hispanics, African Americans, Blue Collar White Americans and God-fearing Christians in increasing numbers.

Even young people – the last bastion of liberal thinking – are now persuaded to back Donald.

A Harvard Youth Poll of Americans under 30-years of age revealed that of the two candidates Trump was trusted more on the economy, national security, immigration, the Israel-Hamas war, crime and the interests of the working class.

These are some of the big issues upon which elections are decided, and Trump it seems leads on many of those indicators.

While the US economy is not faring badly compared to its neighbours and global rivals, Trump and his team are surfing on a wave of pre-pandemic economic nostalgia – low taxes, cheap money, cheap gas, and easy credit – “I did that” says Trump.

It is smart politics. It feeds off the general concern about inflation, the economy and cost of living which all Americans are feeling – but are particularly pronounced amongst young folk, Black Americans, Hispanic communities and in rural working-class neighbourhoods.

Trump’s message is reaching the voters he knows he needs to win.

All this is occurring against a backdrop of national political indifference.

Recent polling showed that a record low number of 32% of Americans declared themselves as ‘following’ politics. Mainstream America has tuned out of politics, it doesn’t particularly care for either candidate or party, and the issues aren’t front and centre.

So, with little public interest, there is a corresponding reduction in media scrutiny.

Trump’s team recognise this and are feeding off it.

Donald didn’t attend, participate or engage in any of the Republican Presidential Debates. Instead he commanded a bigger audience through his own social media channels from his rallies and events timed to coincide with the GOP showcase political moments.

Other than his legal misfortunes, Trump is also out of the public’s eye and they and he seem to like it that way. The less we see of the former President, the more it appears we like him, and that ‘things were better’ narrative plays a role here.

The Republican elite don’t like him. The Democrats despise him. Liberals, Hollywood and the so-called ‘Wokerati’ find him repugnant.

In the eyes of everyday Joe and Jane Doe, with enemies like those – he must be doing something right.

That is Donald’s recipe for electoral success.

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Martin Liptrot

Martin Liptrot is a Public Affairs, PR and Marketing consultant working with UK, US and Global clients to try and ‘make good ideas happen’.

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