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When that great conservative Mel Bradford lay dieing in a hospital in Midland Texas of a heart condition he is alleged to have said “It was the cheeseburgers that got me in the end!” Well, it was “The Washington Post” that got Trump in the end. He was always a weak candidate, a candidate that carried too much baggage from the past, a candidate who was against too much, and for too little. A candidate, it is true, who was brave enough to tackle the issue of immigration that threatens to transform the United States in ways which are unpredictable, but almost certainly undesirable. Nevertheless Trump was not the candidate and not the man to make this point.
Many years ago I interviewed a woman accountant in Dublin about the future of women in business. To one of my questions she began to respond by saying that a women had to be just as good at her job as a man. But then she paused, and corrected herself, No she said a woman in business had “ to be maybe a little bit better than a man.” This may not now be true of women in business; but it is certainly true of conservatives in politics. Given the cultural context within which we live, conservatives have to be better than their liberal rivals- which was why of course that the liberals and especially the neo conservatives had it in so badly for Mel Bradford. Trump’s problem though was that he was a little bit worse even than Hilary Clinton- which is saying a good deal. Never can a major party in the United States have nominated someone who was less qualified, if only by temperament, for the great office which he has sought. It is no surprise then his campaign has ended, or will end in tears.
The agonising collapse of his campaign will not be pleasant to watch, and the hypocritical crowing of the liberals over his electoral defeat will be nauseating. But all is not lost. There is one way in which Donald Trump can rebuild his reputation and perhaps even increase his influence. His instinct not to abandon his supporters by withdrawing from the race is sound. He should stay the course. He needs now to devote himself in so far as he can to saving his party this fall even if he cannot himself hope to be elected. He must continue to campaign. He must urge his followers to vote, and to raise funds and to work for the return of Republicans to both Senate and House.
Above all though he must start to show some genuine remorse for the foolish things that he has done and said. This will not be easy for someone of his overarching ego. In the collapse of his political ambitions he needs to remember the truth that there is more rejoicing in heaven for the return of one sinner than there is for all righteous. But if then at this juncture Donald Trump were to prove that he is really sorry for the offence which he has caused by demonstrating that he has learnt a personal lesson about how to treat women, then the American people- great spirited as they are- might well take him to their hearts- although not as President- in the same way that the British people came ultimately to forgive John Profumo.
Were Donald Trump, now and in the years to come, to devote his obvious intelligence and his great wealth to the cause of a more a prudent immigration for the United States then his influence could eclipse that of Hilary Clinton. Who knows, perhaps it will be immigration which gets the Democrats in the end? v