As US President Donald Trump celebrates his 74th birthday on 14 June, Dr Zalmay Gulzad, professor at Harold Washington College in Chicago, reflects on POTUS' chances of bringing unity to the American people amid ongoing protests against racial inequality and explains why the majority of US citizens support Trump.
Sputnik: We’re currently seeing this unrest in the country and the President just recently announced his plan to combat systemic racism. To what extent can the President unite the US right now? What would be the main stumbling blocks in his way?
Zalmay Gulzad: Well, the main problem is one that the Democratic Party has used all throughout its history, they've used the African Americans and Latinos as a bloc to vote for them.
And what they did is they made [these groups] more dependent on the state, to give them a very small amount of money and in the name of welfare and EBT cards, which they take to buy food and stuff. Let me put it this way, it's mostly a class issue. It's not a race issue. What the Democratic Party did - they made some people depend on these policies, created this class, which cannot really have a job or have a good house and more opportunities for education and stuff.
So the result is what you see in every election in the United States - the African-American and low-income people are voting for Democrats, and the others are voting for Republicans. So this election will decide, in a way, that if the economy picks up [again], Donald Trump is going to win because the economy is very good in the United States. Also, the stock market is doing very well. Whereas the Democratic Party, of which Biden is the leader right now, I don't think he will do very well (regarding the economy). So it's mostly a class issue.
This is not a race issue that much, because there are a lot of poor whites, poor Latinos, and poor African-Americans, and they are all suffering, in the same economic condition.
Sputnik: What does unite people around Donald Trump, in your view? Despite all the criticism the President is facing during his presidency, people still go along with him. How does he appeal to the public?
Zalmay Gulzad: Number one, people want a paycheck. If a worker has a job, his life is good, he can take care of the family, and everything is comfortable, then naturally that person is going to go with Donald Trump, because the economy was very good and unemployment was at its lowest in the history of the United States before this coronavirus. So that's why the people are rallying: the farmers, the working class. And also what he did is that he brought a lot of jobs from other states, from China and these places where many American companies had gone for cheaper labour overseas. So he encouraged them and gave them tax breaks to come back to the United States and create more jobs for American workers here.
So the result is that those people are going to support him. Plus, he helped the American farmers because he made a lot of deals with China and others to buy more agricultural goods from American farmers, so all this boosts Donald Trump's reputation.
Sputnik: We observe that the president has a very close-knit family, many of whom are involved in politics. What is your attitude towards this? How does this characterise the president himself?
Zalmay Gulzad: Well, Donald Trump's family, it's known they are very rich people that have a lot of money. He's in the building business and hotels. His family is involved in that process, his son-in-law and his daughter. So that gives him more opportunity to develop businesses and help businesses to develop because he is part of business. He's not a regular politician.
People like him because he is not a regular politician, he's a businessman. And he knows how to deal with this stuff. And that's why he tries to get away from these old treaties. If you notice, he's leaving all the treaties with Iran, and with climate and all, because he believes in a 'business' way to develop business, and he doesn't want to go to war.
If you've noticed, Donald Trump is the only president of the United States so far that has not attacked any other country. If you look at the history of that, he had the possibility to go to war in Venezuela, in Iran, in Syria, and in North Korea. But he didn't go because he wants peace, and very good relations with Russia, but unfortunately, the Democrats are blocking a lot of stuff. He doesn't want to have sanctions on Russia. So he wants good relations with China and Russia, which are two big powers.
But Democrats have a different policy. They want to use this boogeyman of Russia and China to divert the attention from the misery of the American people, American working-class people; mostly American-Americans and Latinos, as well as some white people.
Sputnik: Donald Trump in some respect tends to change that situation?
Zalmay Gulzad: Yeah, Trump doesn't want wars. And he is trying to focus mostly on the United States. And if you look around the world, the world is changing. Look at the European Union - it is collapsing. Look at all these leaders. This is a new nationalism. There is new patriotism around the world. We can see it in Poland, in China, in India, everywhere.
Donald Trump is one of those guys that focuses mostly on the United States. Everybody is focusing on their own country. So he doesn't believe, you know, much about NATO. He doesn't want to expand NATO to the east against Russia and against China. So it's a totally different policy, for the first time in the United States.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.