The story of Trump’s rise in popularity in the US is that grassroots Republicans and conservatives are turning their backs on the old Beltway shibboleths, like ‘American exceptionalism’, explains Ron Paul Institute executive director Daniel McAdams.
As protests raged outside the Republican National Convention, US Presidential candidate Donald Trump delivered his prime-time acceptance speech.
Anti-Trump demonstrators expressed their dislike for the presidential nominee and chanted “America was never great”playing on Trump’s campaign slogan.
Some people have accused the Republican candidate of downplaying exceptionalist sentiment in his recent statements. Trump said the US should not be lecturing other countries on civil rights and that he might move the United States away from the NATO military alliance if elected.
RT: Why has there been such a reaction in the mainstream media to Donald Trump’s remarks?
Daniel McAdams: It is because the US Empire is the religion of the elites in the US, whether they are left or right. And to do that, you have to have NATO; you have to have the US telling the rest of the world what to do. So, he is challenging a central tenet of the religious faith of the elites in the US. And they cannot abide this. They are in full panic mood over Donald Trump’s interview in the New York Times recently.
RT: Do you think people would have reacted differently if it had been someone else, not Trump, saying these things?
DM: I think they would have been able to ignore him like they were able to do with Ron Paul in 2012. The media ignored him. But Donald Trump is now in a position when he may actually become president of the US where he will have the power to look at things like US participation in NATO. The left is screaming: “Oh, it is a treaty. We have to stay in this treaty. We have to abide by our treaty obligations.” You can simply get out of a treaty. The Warsaw Pact disintegrated after the Cold War, why didn’t NATO?
RT: Will his words concerning civil liberty in the United States have a negative impact on his chances to be president – especially considering many of his supporters believe in American ‘exceptionalism’?
DM: I think the traditional Republicans believe in American exceptionalism, especially the Republican elite. But the whole story of the Trump rise to popularity in the US is that the grassroots Republicans and grassroots conservatives are turning their back on these old Beltway shibboleths. Like American exceptionalism after 15 years of war they’ve had enough of it. It is funny that it has now the left that is screaming. I was looking at Rachel Maddow’s blog and one of her writers said:“Trump is thrashing American exceptionalism. What do we do?” It is just hilarious to see this.
RT: What about his remarks on NATO (Trump said he would only aid countries that fulfill their obligations to the US). Will this cause instability among member states?
DM: I think when the Warsaw pact dissolved after the end of the Cold War it didn’t cause any instability at all. Just like if NATO were to dissolve as it should have, it wouldn’t cause instability at all. If the countries in Eastern Europe, if the Baltics truly felt an existential threat from Russia, you wouldn’t have to twist their arm to get them to spend money on defense. They will be spending from 2 to 20 percent of their GDP on defense if they felt absolutely threatened. What they are looking for is a free ride; they are looking to be as belligerent as they want toward Russia without having to pay any cost with having the US as their own personal army. And if Trump means, which I question, then it is an actual bonus for the US and the American people.
RT: No matter how much the media mocks Donald Trump, it doesn’t seem to hurt his support. Why is that?
DM: Because as I said the American people by and large are rising up and they are disgusted with the elites, they do not trust the media, and whether they were followers of Bernie Sanders which many were, or whether they are followers of Donald Trump. Four years ago they were followers of Ron Paul. But they still have the same sense that something is terribly wrong in the US. The elites are taking them for a ride, they are ripping them off. The US Empire is making a fortune for those that are well connected inside the Beltway and they are causing the rest of the US to become impoverished, they are destroying the middle class. People don’t trust the elites anymore, there is kind of an earthquake happening. And I think that no matter what Donald Trump says, people at least have hopes that he might change some things.