TEHRAN, Oct. 17 (Press Shia) – A former deputy chief of counter-terrorism at the CIA has told Mehr News Donald Trump would not bring changes to the American scene which his supporters intend.
Professor Paul Pillar, a professor of George Washington University believes the US presidential election campaign would be uneventful in the 3rd direct debate where few new rhetoric by both candidates would emerge, unless Trump, pressed by a sense of imminent defeat, would touch not issues of public and foreign policy, but something from Hillary Clinton’s background. He also believe that media would wield little impact on distortion of Trump’s character in general, since his speech itself well exposes the character behind its gestures intended to sell himself to the public.
The short interview by Payman Yazdani, of Mehr News International Service is as follows:
A recent video about Trump’s remarks on women indicating his moral corruption has resulted in decline of his popularity. How would you see the future of the US presidential election?
The opinion polls, the betting markets, and just about everyone who is not firmly in Trump’s camp expect Hillary Clinton to win. I expect she will also, although one can never rule out some surprising development that would spoil her chances.
Why Trump remains as an undaunted competitor in US presidential election despite many pressures and scandals? What groups are going to vote for him?
Some of Trump’s supporters fully share the biases and prejudices that his campaign has expressed. But most of his supporters see him instead as a vehicle for change, without thinking through exactly what kind of change he would bring about. His supporters include many who feel that they are being left behind economically. Trump is not offering policies that would change that, and some of what he has offered, such as his tax policies, would make the economic situation of these people even worse. But Trump is presenting himself as an outsider, to attract votes of anyone who is dissatisfied with the status quo. Such dissatisfaction, and a desire to change the party in the White House, is a common thread through American history. It is not common for a non-incumbent candidate to win an election to succeed a president of his or her own party. The last time a Democrat did that was in 1856.
Trump blames the media for a coordinated action against himself. To what extent has the media been able to represent a distorted image of him? Trump makes that charge because he is losing. His personality is apparent from his own words and actions, in ways that cannot be distorted by media.
Considering the short time remaining to presidential election, is it possible to see some issues brought up by both candidates Clinton and Trump to significantly affect the result (likes of Trump’s remarks about women)?
Most of the rhetorical ammunition available to each campaign has already been fired; in the remaining time before the election we probably will be hearing mostly the same points over and over. As the candidate who is behind, Trump will try hard to come up with something new. But if he does present a new talking point, it probably will not be an issue of public policy but rather some other charge about Hillary Clinton’s background.
Paul R. Pillar is Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University and Nonresident Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution. He served as an intelligence officer in the CIA and National Intelligence Council for 28 years, and later was on the faculty of Georgetown University. His areas of expertise are US national security policy, Middle East affairs, and intelligence.
Interview by Payman Yazdani