As the US election process approaches its endgame, there are growing fears that the candidate whom many see as the less attractive of the two available options will end up winning.
This is a legitimate fear. Nobody thought that Donald Trump would end up as the Republican presidential nominee when the whole process began. And given that Hillary Clinton is not exactly the most popular of Democrat nominees, the fears are even greater now that her opponent may end up being inaugurated on January 20.
But in the process, simple logic appears to have deserted the so-called thinking classes in the US and in many other countries. Journalists, politicians, community leaders, sportspeople – they all seem to think that if they speak out about the foibles they see as being the entirety of Trump, then they will be able to influence others to come over to their side and ensure a Clinton win.
They seem to be banking on information — data — winning the day, on convincing the undecided ones by using the media to out Trump as the worse of the two options.
This indicates a startling kind of naivety, an inability to understand why Trump is the candidate. People have been fed up with professional politicians for a long time; these are the classes who promise everything but the moon and only look after a certain class once they gain power.
This time, there are lots of people who have made up their minds that they are going to stick it to the establishment. After the war in Iraq, after the 2008 financial crisis, they are convinced that professional politicians can do them no good.
Backing Trump does not mean that they like him, or even any of his policies. He is just the Molotov cocktail that they throw at the rest of the political class.
The level of bigotry in the country is catered to by Trump, who has said some of the most xenophobic things that any politician has uttered. He knows that these sentiments represent the unhappiness that many in the US are feeling. He also knows that they cannot express these sentiments.
You cannot fight bigotry with information, You cannot fight something which exists in the heart through a process that is aimed at the brain. That is something those trying to swing the election must realise.
One can understand the fear among the educated classes and minorities whom Trump has spoken out against. If Trump did become the president, they know that they could be targeted, their country’s image would suffer, that he would undertake at least some actions which could cause the US to suffer economically. And, by extension, they would suffer too.
Hence their panicked reaction is not to be sneered at. But is it going to help defeat Trump? The type of people who support Trump are highly unlikely to be brought around by the arguments advanced by the mainstream media. These are the establishment sorts whom those who have fears about their livelihood, their jobs, hate with a passion.
In their eagerness to cast aspersions on Trump, they could well end up pushing people to give them the finger and cast a vote for someone whom they would not vote otherwise.