‘Populists’ Unite: Trump and Farage Form Ironic Alliance

Just when you thought current politics couldn’t get more eventful, controversial Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump and retiring UKIP leader Nigel Farage have appeared on stage together at a rally for Donald Trump in Jackson, Mississippi. For those that have not seen the footage of the two right-wingers on stage together, it is truly a bizarre spectacle.

Although Nigel Farage stopped short of actually endorsing Donald Trump, he told the crowd of rowdy Trump supporters that if he was an American citizen, he wouldn’t vote for Hilary Clinton if you paid him. Farage then added that he wouldn’t vote for Mrs Clinton, even if she paid him. We’re still struggling to figure out why Farage thought Hilary Clinton would try to bribe him in such a way.

Trump and Farage appearing together might seem understandable as both Trump supporters and those who campaigned for Brexit, voiced nationalist views that were opposed to immigration, globalisation and ultimately, the establishment.

However, their apparent alliance is actually the very definition of political irony. For example, Farage ended his speech by telling the Trump supporters present at the rally, “Anything is possible if enough decent people stand up against the establishment”.

What Trump fans tragically failed to realise at that rally, is that whilst Nigel Farage made this attack on the establishment, Farage was standing right next to the very definition of the establishment himself: a right-wing billionaire who is in many ways the very personification of capitalism.

Although it is true to an extent that Trump does not belong to the mainstream political establishment, he is undoubtedly part of the richest 1% of Americans, a section of American society with enormous influence, whether that section be politically active or not.

What is also ironic is that Trump and Farage are being hailed as pioneers of ‘populism’. It is ironic because populism is built upon the unity of ordinary citizens but these so-called populist movements are actually being led by economic elites who are the exact opposite of ordinary citizens.

Farage said earlier in the speech that he had come from the UK with a message of ‘hope’ and ‘optimism’, explaining that the message was that “if the little people, if the real people, if the ordinary decent people are prepared to stand up and fight for what they believe in, we can overcome the big banks and the multinationals.”

In a case of incredible hypocrisy, Farage called on the” little, real, ordinary, decent” people to support Donald Trump but neither Mr Trump or Mr Farage fall into this category themselves.

Both men are wealthy businessmen from privileged backgrounds. Nigel Farage is the son of a stockbroker and was educated at a private school in his youth before working for various firms in London as a broker himself. Does that sound ordinary to you?

Donald Trump is certainly not ordinary himself. The billionaire built his business on the back of a million dollar loan from his father and the only business that Trump has truly built on his own was his long-running role in ‘The Apprentice’; a show that revolved around Trump insulting and firing potential businessmen and women.

If Donald Trump’s life were a movie, it would probably be called ‘Donald Trump vs The World’. The Republican nominee has made enemies at every turn, mainly due to his comments against Hispanics, Muslims and women. He even made fun of a disabled reporter to a crowd of supporters. Does Mr Trump sound like a decent person to you? Or someone who decent Americans should elect their President? Americans now have to come to those conclusions themselves.

In his speech, Nigel Farage also launched a scathing attack on US President Barack Obama for Obama’s public opinion that the UK would be better off in the European Union. He also insulted Hilary Clinton in her own country. His comments about these two major US politicians seem hypocritical, considering Farage felt so infuriated about Obama having a say in UK politics.

It is worth noting that Hilary Clinton brilliantly responded to Farage’s comments. The Democratic nominee slammed Farage’s attempts at stirring up American support for Trump by referring to Farage’s extreme immigration-related policies, his numerous appearances on Russian “propaganda programmes” and the fact that Farage once said according to Mrs Clinton “women [are] worth less than men”.

Mrs Clinton is currently leading the presidential polls, in some states by large margins, and appears to be on course to become the first female President of the United States. Trump’s trailing in the polls was referenced by Farage, who claimed to himself have beaten the pollsters in regard to the EU referendum.

Farage urged Trump’s supporters in Mississippi to go out and campaign, insisting that they too could beat the pollsters. Trump appears to be confident that he too will have a surprise victory and perhaps this is why he recently tweeted “They will soon be calling me MR BREXIT!”

Farage’s appearance beside Trump seems more like a sign of desperation from the Trump campaign, rather than the show of strength it is trying to present. After all, Paul Manafort resigned as the chairman of Trump’s campaign, just two months into the job, in what may be described as jumping a sinking ship.

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