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Fear & Greed, Fear and Greed

With Ron DeSantis pulling out, only Nikki Haley stands between Donald Trump and the Republican nomination for President. But Haley is trailing in the polls ahead of the New Hampshire primary this week, and all the momentum is behind Trump.

Sean Aylmer talks to Bruce Wolpe, Senior Fellow (non-resident) at the United States Studies Centre, about the New Hampshire primary, why Donald Trump remains so popular, and who will win if it comes down to Biden vs. Trump.

Find out more: https://fearandgreed.com.au

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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Sean Aylmer: Welcome to the Fear and Greed Business interview. I’m Sean Aylmer.

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Sean Aylmer: The withdrawal of Ron DeSantis means Donald Trump is a

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Sean Aylmer: big step closer to becoming the Republican candidate for this

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Sean Aylmer: year’s US Presidential election. The only person now standing between

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Sean Aylmer: Trump and the nomination is former United Nations Ambassador, Nikki

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Sean Aylmer: Haley. But with Haley well behind in the polls ahead

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Sean Aylmer: of the New Hampshire primary this week, it seems it’s

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Sean Aylmer: pretty much Donald Trump’s to lose. My guest today has

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Sean Aylmer: a pretty remarkable CV and knows this space very well.

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Sean Aylmer: Bruce Wolpe is a Senior Fellow ( non- resident) at the United States

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Sean Aylmer: Studies Center. He has worked with the Democrats in Congress

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Sean Aylmer: during President Barack Obama’s first term, and on the staff

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Sean Aylmer: of Prime Minister Julie Gillard. Last year, he published Trump’s

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Sean Aylmer: Australia, which looks at the potential for Donald Trump to

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Sean Aylmer: return to the presidency and what that means for us

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Sean Aylmer: here in Australia. Bruce Wolpe, welcome to Fear and Greed.

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Bruce Wolpe: Sean, great to be back with you. Thank you so much.

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Sean Aylmer: Bruce, upfront, does Nikki Haley have any chance of winning

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Sean Aylmer: in New Hampshire?

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Bruce Wolpe: She has a chance, but I don’t believe she will.

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Bruce Wolpe: I actually think she’ll fall short with Trump getting over

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Bruce Wolpe: 50% of the vote, that’s where the polls are. Ron

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Bruce Wolpe: DeSantis has pulled out of the race, and even before

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Bruce Wolpe: he did, there was polling on his supporters, and more

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Bruce Wolpe: than half of them would go to Trump. In other

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Bruce Wolpe: words, he was supposed to be Trump without the baggage,

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Bruce Wolpe: which meant that he was kind of Trump aligned. And

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Bruce Wolpe: so it’s natural to think that Trump would gain support

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Bruce Wolpe: from the former DeSantis voters. People were thinking after Iowa

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Bruce Wolpe: that this would be the opportunity for Nikki Haley to

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Bruce Wolpe: really come out, take Trump on, make a real mark,

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Bruce Wolpe: maybe even upset him in New Hampshire. But I think

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Bruce Wolpe: the polls have shown that Trump has been inching up

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Bruce Wolpe: day by day, and to where now he’s over 50%.

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Bruce Wolpe: If that holds, she’s finished. I think she’s finished anyway,

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Bruce Wolpe: but there’s no doubt that Trump is in a completely

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Bruce Wolpe: commanding position here.

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Sean Aylmer: Just explain, I mean, tell me why Ron DeSantis pulled

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Sean Aylmer: out. But it’s kind of broader than that, why is

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Sean Aylmer: Donald Trump such a dominant player? And certainly in my

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Sean Aylmer: memory, I don’t know a primary… I mean, can you

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Sean Aylmer: tell me someone who’s been as dominant in the race

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Sean Aylmer: to challenge a president as Trump has?

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Bruce Wolpe: Or just dominant as a candidate? Ronald Reagan was a

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Bruce Wolpe: very powerful force inside the Republican party. Bill Clinton came

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Bruce Wolpe: to be one in the Democratic Party, won two terms

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Bruce Wolpe: as president. Remember the crowds with Barack Obama when he

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Bruce Wolpe: was campaigning, there were hundreds of thousands, I remember in

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Bruce Wolpe: Portland, Oregon to hear him. He went to Berlin and

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Bruce Wolpe: addressed the city in Berlin. And so there have been

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Bruce Wolpe: charismatic candidates who have attracted things, but I haven’t seen

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Bruce Wolpe: anything… Well, sort of like Reagan, people say Reaganism and

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Bruce Wolpe: now Trumpism has emerged. But Trump has forged… It’s beyond transactional.

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Bruce Wolpe: Most elections you go into, I like your policies. I’m

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Bruce Wolpe: going to vote for you, you’ll do something for me.

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Bruce Wolpe: This is a movement. Now, so a lot of people

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Bruce Wolpe: say, this is a cult, and they see elements of

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Bruce Wolpe: that. If you look at video of Trump’s rallies, just

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Bruce Wolpe: go to C- SPAN and look at the Manchester New

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Bruce Wolpe: Hampshire rally from Saturday night.
Look at the faces of

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Bruce Wolpe: the crowd. They are so happy to be there. It’s

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Bruce Wolpe: sort of like a Taylor Swift concert. They know what’s

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Bruce Wolpe: coming. They know all the lyrics and they love it.

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Bruce Wolpe: And so they’re as engaged with him as Swifties are with her, and he

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Bruce Wolpe: delivers. He talks for an hour and 45 minutes like

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Bruce Wolpe: Fidel Castro, it’s really great. They’re getting what he wants

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Bruce Wolpe: and what he is, it’s not new Coke or Diet

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Bruce Wolpe: Coke. They want the real thing and they’re getting it

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Bruce Wolpe: with him. So most Republicans believe that Joe Biden is

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Bruce Wolpe: an illegitimate president. Most Republicans believe the 2020 election was

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Bruce Wolpe: stolen, and Trump is the embodiment of that. And they also

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Bruce Wolpe: believe what he says, ” When they come after me, they’re

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Bruce Wolpe: coming after you. You know what I do for you

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Bruce Wolpe: and I protect you, and I support policies that will

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Bruce Wolpe: benefit you, and they want to take me out because

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Bruce Wolpe: they don’t want to do anything for you. So you

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Bruce Wolpe: stick with me and I stick with you.” And it’s

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Bruce Wolpe: a grand bargain and it’s holding, and it is extremely powerful.

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Sean Aylmer: What I don’t understand about this, I have a son

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Sean Aylmer: who is going to college and to school in the

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Sean Aylmer: Midwest, so it’s the southern part of Illinois, and all

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Sean Aylmer: his friends from college, and he’s been to their family’s

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Sean Aylmer: places and spent Thanksgiving with them. They’re all Trump lovers.

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Sean Aylmer: These are smart people who have done very well for

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Sean Aylmer: themselves. It’s not just… I mean, they’re kind of anti-

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Sean Aylmer: Biden, they don’t like his age, but they are so pro-

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Sean Aylmer: Trump. What is it that Donald Trump has that the

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Sean Aylmer: rest of the world doesn’t quite understand? Doesn’t quite get

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Sean Aylmer: that really intelligent people in St. Louis and those sorts

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Sean Aylmer: of cities in the Midwest of the US just love him for?

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Bruce Wolpe: Actually according to polls, most college educated Americans do not

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Bruce Wolpe: like Trump, but it’s like 60/ 30. So I guess your

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Bruce Wolpe: son is coming across those who do like. What they

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Bruce Wolpe: like is… I mean, what phase is the world moving

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Bruce Wolpe: into? Trump represents America first. He wants to bring the

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Bruce Wolpe: troops home, stop involvement overseas, protect the southern border, have

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Bruce Wolpe: trade agreements that don’t backfire on working Americans. And so

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Bruce Wolpe: he’s a nationalist. And there are cycles in history, and

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Bruce Wolpe: this is a very populist anti- immigrant, pro- America, (inaudible)

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Bruce Wolpe: era, and Trump embodies that. They also think for

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Bruce Wolpe: a guy who lied 30,000 times during his presidency, according

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Bruce Wolpe: to the Washington Post fact- checker, he is the most

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Bruce Wolpe: relentlessly honest politician that we’ve seen in generations. In other

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Bruce Wolpe: words, he says, ” I’m going to build the wall and

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Bruce Wolpe: stop the immigrants. I’m going to get us out of

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Bruce Wolpe: foreign agreements, architecture like NATO. I’m going to take on

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Bruce Wolpe: China. I’m going to have trade wars. We’re going to

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Bruce Wolpe: protect the work.”
He delivers on what he says. And

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Bruce Wolpe: people really like that. So it’s a combination of things.

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Bruce Wolpe: The question is though, is this where a majority of

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Bruce Wolpe: the country is? Now, Trump lost the popular vote in

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Bruce Wolpe: 2016 to Hillary Clinton. Clearly he lost the popular vote

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Bruce Wolpe: to Joe Biden. So the whole country hasn’t gone ape

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Bruce Wolpe: for Trump, but it has worked out certainly in 2016

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Bruce Wolpe: with the electoral college. So he’s there. Will he ever

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Bruce Wolpe: crack 50% approval? I don’t think so. He’s a divider,

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Bruce Wolpe: not a uniter. But nevertheless, he has the power of

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Bruce Wolpe: all of his bases with him to the end, and

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Bruce Wolpe: they show up and the Biden camp is worried that

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Bruce Wolpe: his people will not show up.

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Sean Aylmer: Stay with me, Bruce, we’ll be back in a minute.

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Sean Aylmer: I am speaking to Bruce Wolpe, Senior Fellow ( non- resident)

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Sean Aylmer: at the United States Studies Center. What about these legal

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Sean Aylmer: problems for Trump? Two states have actually barred him from

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Sean Aylmer: their primary ballots, Colorado and Maine. That’s over the insurrection

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Sean Aylmer: clause in the constitution. Trump, of course, has challenged those

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Sean Aylmer: decisions. How does all this play out? Are these legalese,

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Sean Aylmer: I suppose, that Donald Trump is going to have to

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Sean Aylmer: go through for the next nine months, will it stop him?

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Bruce Wolpe: No, it won’t stop him. In fact, it’s helping him.

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Bruce Wolpe: On the Colorado main issues, Colorado ruling that Trump was

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Bruce Wolpe: engaged in an insurrection under the 14th Amendment and therefore

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Bruce Wolpe: cannot appear on the ballot, the Supreme Court will rule

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Bruce Wolpe: on that. But if the Supreme Court upholds Colorado, they

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Bruce Wolpe: won’t say, ” Well, every state has to follow what Colorado

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Bruce Wolpe: is doing.” In America, it’s 50 state elections. The states

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Bruce Wolpe: are very powerful as to what’s on their ballots, and

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Bruce Wolpe: so there won’t be uniform application. But the other class

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Bruce Wolpe: of legalisms is, well, did you try and overturn the

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Bruce Wolpe: election in the United States? And was that a criminal

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Bruce Wolpe: activity? Did you take classified documents with you? And was

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Bruce Wolpe: that a political activity?
And what Trump has done is

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Bruce Wolpe: politicized that and said, ” They’re coming after me because they’re

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Bruce Wolpe: coming after you. They take me out, that means you’ll

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Bruce Wolpe: be vulnerable.” And his base, they embrace that and they

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Bruce Wolpe: get it. So every time that something legal happens against

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Bruce Wolpe: Trump, it turns into a plus as far as solidifying

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Bruce Wolpe: his base. And he says, ” When I’m indicted, it’s the

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Bruce Wolpe: greatest case of interference in an American election in American

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Bruce Wolpe: history,” and his base buys it. So that is the

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Bruce Wolpe: power of something that would absolutely destroy any other mortal

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Bruce Wolpe: on earth if they were running for office.

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Sean Aylmer: Okay, so do you think it’ll be Trump v Biden,

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Sean Aylmer: and if so, who wins, Bruce Wolpe?

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Bruce Wolpe: Barring an act of God, Trump will be on the

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Bruce Wolpe: nominee and alive on November 5th. All things being equal,

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Bruce Wolpe: Biden should win because A, Trump has not secured a

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Bruce Wolpe: majority support of the American people. B, the economy is improving.

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Bruce Wolpe: The economic outlook is improving. Confidence is improving. Australians and

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Bruce Wolpe: Americans sort of in the same place. Very high interest

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Bruce Wolpe: rates, very tough cost of living pressures. It really hurts.

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Bruce Wolpe: You’re in government, you own it. And so it hurts

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Bruce Wolpe: politically, but people can see that interest rates will start

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Bruce Wolpe: coming down in the United States. But age is really

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Bruce Wolpe: dogging Biden and young people in particular have no enthusiasm

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Bruce Wolpe: for voting for him. And the war in Gaza is

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Bruce Wolpe: also stirring up great passions in the Democratic Party. And Arab-

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Bruce Wolpe: American voters are very important in certain key states like

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Bruce Wolpe: Michigan, and they’re furious and understandably so about what’s happening

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Bruce Wolpe: in Gaza.
And so that diminishes Biden’s support. On the

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Bruce Wolpe: other hand, if you look at Iowa and New Hampshire,

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Bruce Wolpe: okay, Trump got over 50% of the vote, but that

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Bruce Wolpe: means 40% of Republicans are not voting for him. And

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Bruce Wolpe: many of them do want to turn the page and

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Bruce Wolpe: wish that there was someone better. So when it really

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Bruce Wolpe: comes down to it, can Biden peel away some Republicans

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Bruce Wolpe: that are looking for more responsible government? If he can

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Bruce Wolpe: do that, that would be a significant block of votes.

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Bruce Wolpe: So again, I think Biden should win, but because of

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Bruce Wolpe: the lack of enthusiasm of voters behind him, it’s really…

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Bruce Wolpe: I don’t know.

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Sean Aylmer: You wrote the book Trump’s Australia last year, and it’s

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Sean Aylmer: available at the moment. What would a Trump win mean

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Sean Aylmer: for Australia?

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Bruce Wolpe: A Trump win would mean for Australia, first on foreign

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Bruce Wolpe: policy, Trump is going to go after the architecture established

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Bruce Wolpe: after World War II, around the world which Australia has

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Bruce Wolpe: invested in for the United Nations to NATO, to the

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Bruce Wolpe: World Trade Organization, the World Health Organization, and so forth.

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Bruce Wolpe: Secondly, Trump has an agenda with China, which is different

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Bruce Wolpe: than the Biden Albanese agenda with China, and we’ll see

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Bruce Wolpe: how that goes. Third, we have AUKUS. Well, does Trump

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Bruce Wolpe: want to continue with AUKUS? Is he worried that too

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Bruce Wolpe: much nuclear technology is going to be exported to Australia?

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Bruce Wolpe: Are those contracts good for the United States? I mean,

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Bruce Wolpe: where are the jobs going? Where’s the money going? And like

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Bruce Wolpe: any good businessman, and we know Donald Trump is a very

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Bruce Wolpe: good businessman. He’ll look at the contracts and see whether

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Bruce Wolpe: they’re working for Australia. So Australia may find itself more…

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Bruce Wolpe: Not isolated from the United States, but a bigger gap

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Bruce Wolpe: in the trajectory of the two countries in the region.

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Bruce Wolpe: So it’s something we got to look for. And we

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Bruce Wolpe: also got to look at, Trump makes noise in America

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Bruce Wolpe: and the echo chambers here. When we wake up in

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Bruce Wolpe: the morning, we hear US news, big massacre, big gun

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Bruce Wolpe: massacre. Well, is that going to happen here? Abortion rights

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Bruce Wolpe: taken away. Well, is that going to happen here? And

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Bruce Wolpe: so it will leach into the political culture. Now, I

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Bruce Wolpe: think Australia has an immensely stronger political culture as far

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Bruce Wolpe: as democracy is concerned, than the United States, starting with

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Bruce Wolpe: compulsory voting. But there will be pressures on Australia democracy

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Bruce Wolpe: because of the rhetoric that comes out of the Trump

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Bruce Wolpe: White House.

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Sean Aylmer: Bruce, it’s going to be a fascinating year, and if

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Sean Aylmer: you don’t mind, we’ll keep in touch. Thank you very

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Sean Aylmer: much for talking to Fear and Greed.

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Bruce Wolpe: No shortage of material, Sean. We’ll see you.

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Sean Aylmer: That’s for sure. That was Bruce Wolpe, Senior Fellow ( non-

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Sean Aylmer: resident) at the United States Studies Center. This is the

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Sean Aylmer: Fear and Greed Business interview. Join us every morning for

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Sean Aylmer: the full episode of Fear and Greed, Australia’s best business

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Sean Aylmer: podcast. I’m Sean Aylmer. Enjoy your day.