Jean-Jacques Cornish

Trump knows that fighting an election on the fact is a short road to defeat

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Watching Donald Trump accept the Republican Party’s nomination for November’s United States Presidential election gives one a chilly sense of deja vu.

His line is straight out of the National Party’s apartheid era playbook in South Africa.

He tells potential supporters that whatever they might think of him the alternative presented by his challenger Joe Biden is too ghastly to contemplate.

Having presided over more deaths of Americans this year than were killed in the First World War, one might well ask who those potential supporters are?

The resentful rednecks remain with him as strongly now as they did five years ago.

They are buttressed by unsophisticated young voters who see him as a maverick anti-establishment figure.

No point trying to persuade them that as President, Trump is now very much the man responsible for what is happening in Washington.

Their job as the youth is to reject the values espoused by their elders.They are drawn to Trump rejected qualities like honesty, modesty and honour in scores of cheap and mendacious tweets 

Picking a sturdy, reliable figure that might appeal to their parents would be anathema to them. Remember the ANC Youth League elevating Julius Malema?

The suburban housewives who made the difference in Trump’s initial victory are not a sure thing.

So it is at them that he levels the darkest, most frightening charges against his opponent Joe Biden.

Trump, like the apartheid regime, knows that fighting an election on the facts guarantees a very short road to defeat.

So he has to create an alternate reality. A place of fear.

The man that promised in 2016 to fix the cities has now abandoned them as places overrun by black and brown voters who oppose him.

He vows now to fix the suburbs in the mistaken belief that these are populated by the same white housewives who could be frightened seventy years ago.

One might have thought that Trump could boast that after four years of his rule, America is a relatively peaceful place.

He is forced to admit, however, that under his watch the streets have become dangerous, indeed terrifying. 

The alternative is to answer to charges that he has failed to show leadership in the fight against COVID 19 which is the gravest threat American has faced in this generation.

That is where Joe Biden has to keep the focus until November 3.

He has to use the figures to nail Tump’s lie, uttered at the Republican National Convention, that the pandemic is virtually over.

The medical emergency persists and the economic damage that Trump also minimizes takes a terrible toll on the lives of millions of voters who have lost jobs, health car and housings and are asking: “What are you doing for us?”

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.