China Times: 'Trump Phenomenon' killing U.S.-style democracy

Donald Trump is leading in the Republican primary in the United States, despite attempts by Republican veterans to block the real estate tycoon from winning the presidential nomination.

No matter whether Trump can eventually win his way to the White House, Taiwan should be aware of the rise of what the American media are calling the "Trump Phenomenon."

What Trump represents is people's discontent and feelings of frustration over U.S. economic policy. The dissatisfaction has evolved into support for Trump and is reflected by Senator Marco Rubio's dropping out of the race for the Republican nomination.

The phenomenon is also illustrated by the number of Democrats who have switched their support to Trump.

Democracy is representative politics, meaning that a political party has to be able to represent voters' interests and propose its own political policies for voters to choose in elections.

However, more and more American voters are losing trust in the political party to which they are affiliated, and no longer believe that the party fully represents their interests.

This shows that the American democratic system has malfunctioned. The Democratic Party suffers from the problem most seriously.

Many Democrats complain that white people and workers, who constitute the backbone of the party, are ignored, while the party embraces immigrants with all its heart.

As a result, white people and workers, or even those who consider themselves victims of free trade, have decided to leave and become an independent voter or even register as a member of the Republican Party so that they can vote for Trump.

One of the typical examples of the phenomenon is the 20,000 Democrats who left the party ahead of its primary in Michigan.

Even in the Republican Party, a CNN survey found that there are many Republicans who also choose to stand with Trump, because they feel the party has failed to take care of their interests.

A more important concern that the Trump Phenomenon raises is the impact on the international community that the man could cause.

No matter whether he can get into the White House, the influence Trump has in the campaign reflects one fact: American society has changed into being unwilling to shoulder more international responsibility and being more closed and conservative.

This can be verified by the fact that to solicit votes, both Trump and Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner in the Democratic primary, have declared their opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is a strategic deployment by the Barack Obama administration to resist the expansion of China's influence.

It is possible that the next inhabitant of the White House will revoke the TPP policy. If so, the free trade mechanism will be seriously impacted.

If Trump is elected, his stance against Muslims, against foreign immigrants and against Japan could possibly cause diplomatic conflicts for his administration.

With the formation of the Trump Phenomenon, it is worth watching how the international map will change and how Washington and Beijing will interact with each other. (Editorial abstract - March 17, 2016) (By Elizabeth Hsu)