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Source: The Conversation (Au and NZ) – By Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Next year’s American presidential election is shaping up to be extraordinary. Donald Trump is favoured to be the Republican candidate, despite facing multiple charges over removing classified documents. President Joe Biden has indicated he intends to run again, despite the fact he’ll be 82 at the time of the poll and 86 if he completed another four-year term.

In this podcast, author Bruce Wolpe – a senior fellow at the United States Centre at the University of Sydney, who previously worked with the Democratic Party in Congress, discusses his new book “Trump’s Australia”. Wolpe argues a second Trump term would have shocking consequences for Australia.

Wolpe says “as of now”, Biden is certain to run again. “The only thing that would upset that would be if there was a severe health issue that would prevent him from acting as president […] As far as Donald Trump is concerned, I see his chances of being the [Republican] nominee as over 50%. His chances of prevailing in the election is slightly under 50%.”

Wolpe paints a bleak outlook if Trump were to win a second term: “It would look like the first term, but only worse.”

“I talked to senior foreign policy officials, Americans and Australians, Liberal and Labor, Democrat and Republican, serving Republican and Democratic presidents and prime ministers from both parties. I asked them, what do you expect of Trump in a second term? And they said, he will never change.

“He is erratic, unhinged. He governs in chaos and that will continue, he is arrogant […] He is completely transactional. In other words, he’s not motivated by any moral considerations or ideological considerations.”

Wolpe believes that Australia is a “big echo chamber of US news”: “You get up early in the morning, turn on the news, and given the news cycle, what you hear on most days is from the United States, and that became really apparent with Trump […] There are some elements of the Australian political culture that really absorb it and really like it, and they’re animated about it.

“We have Trump attacking the media and saying fake news. And just guess what? Australian politicians, when they don’t want to answer a question, they say, Oh, that’s fake news. So these things leach into Australian society, the Australian dialogue.

“But then the question is, does Australia adopt Trump policies?

“We did not have stuff against transgender people, those candidates failed. We don’t have controls on books in libraries or attempts to do it, or teaching Indigenous history. Those culture war buttons that Trump and other Republicans push, they don’t have much prominence here, and that’s a really good thing.

“I think Australian democracy is extremely strong. Australia will continue to be an echo chamber, but I’m hopeful about how Australia can manage the incoming from the United States.”

Wolpe says if Trump were to win a second term, Australian democracy would survive, but questions whether the alliance between the two countries would. “America and Australia aligned because of the values they share. That means fidelity to democracy, human rights, rule of law. And if those things don’t exist in the United States, what are we to be aligned with?”

The Conversation

Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

ref. Politics with Michelle Grattan: Author Bruce Wolpe on the “shocking” consequences for Australia of a Trump 24 win –