Five Reasons Why Trump is Making America Look Like a Third World Country

Image for post
Image for post
President Donald Trump entertaining Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago. (White House)

I mentioned before, I lived in Nigeria for several years, so I have first-hand experience of living in a Third World country. Most Third World countries have certain traits that set them apart. The United States prides itself on being a “First World country,” but the advent of President Donald Trump is pushing it in the opposite direction.

Here are some of the ways Trump is making America look and feel like a Third World country.

  • Dysfunctional political system. One of the first things you notice about Third World countries is their political systems essentially don’t work. Many are dictatorships or one-party states. Some still hold elections, but the outcomes are usually known. A lot of the people don’t even bother voting because they know the election will be rigged. Some strongmen play along with the fact that the elections aren’t fair and fix it so they win 99 percent of the vote. America is not there yet, but the American electoral system is deeply flawed. Apart from the massive Russian cyberwarfare campaign tied to the Trump campaign, we’ve also seen evidence of voter suppression across the country. Georgia Sec. of State and gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp has removed more than 300,000 people from the rolls. Voter suppression also occurred in the 2016 election, according to investigative reporter Greg Palast. He tried to sound the alarm about the Republicans’ flawed Crosscheck system that removed people from the polls based on flimsy reasons. In a 2016 article, he said Crosscheck kicked more than 1 million minority voters off the rolls. Trump won Michigan by 13,000 voters, but Crosscheck kicked about 450,000 people off the voting list.
  • Cronyism and nepotism. In Third World dictatorships you often have one family running the country. People get hired to high-ranking government positions, based on familial connections, not on their talents. Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner are “political advisers.” Although, I question how you can advise the president when you don’t have any political experience. Before she entered the White House, Ivanka ran a handbag company and Kushner was mainly known for doing bad real estate deals. But Trump put him in charge of Middle East policy. It’s no wonder he’s been involved in so many scandals. Kushner advised him to fire FBI Director James Comey and also told him the political scandal over the Jamal Khashoggi murder would blow over. He was wrong both times.
  • Political dynasties/ruling families. According to Malcolm Nance’s “The Plot to Hack Democracy,” Trump would like to turn his clan into a permanent political dynasty. I dismissed this until I saw news stories of Ivanka touring the country, as if she was gearing up for a political run. During the 2016 campaign, both of Trump’s thick-headed sons said Ivanka would make a great running mate for her father. And I even saw a meme that suggested the Trumps could create a dynasty that went all the way to Barron!
  • Governmental chaos. It’s clear from reading Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury” and Bob Woodward’s “Fear,” that the Trump White House is in chaos. Trump doesn’t have a clue about how the government runs. He doesn’t listen to his advisors, refuses to read briefings and rejects government procedures. The president has access to the best intelligence in the world, but he gets his information from FOX News. They share his conspiratorial view of the world, and that’s why he often spreads bald-face lies such as California cities are rioting against sanctuary city laws and the migrant caravan was organized by Democrats. Trump is also known to take unilateral action and make incredibly unprofessional decisions. During the military government of Nigerian dictator Ibrahim Babangida, it was not uncommon for department heads to be summoned to cabinet meetings only to be told they had been “retired.” Trump fired former Sec. of State Rex Tillerson by tweet. According to “Fear,” he almost started a war with North Korea by tweet. Incensed by the cost of American soldiers stationed in South Korea, Trump wanted to send out a tweet saying that all American non-military personnel were pulling out of the country. The North Korea government got wind of this and took it as a prelude for a first strike. Fortunately, Trump advisors talked him out of it.

In Nigeria, if someone wants to bribe you, they show up at your office with a suitcase full of money. If someone wants to bribe you in America, they make a large campaign donation, buy your property at a grossly-inflated price, or hire one of your family members to a job they never have to show up to.

  • Massive corruption. This is the most glaring similarity between the Trump administration and Third World countries. Third World countries are infamous for their graft. Billions of dollars are transferred from government coffers to private foreign accounts. According to Quartz, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics estimates that in 2016 bribes cost Nigeria $4.6 billion. America likes to look down its nose at Third World corruption, but the same thing goes on here, it’s just more sophisticated. In Nigeria, if someone wants to bribe you, they show up at your office with a suitcase full of money. If someone wants to bribe you in America, they make a large campaign donation, buy your property at a grossly-inflated price, or hire one of your family members to a job they never have to show up to. But, it’s still bribery. Trump has used these tactics frequently. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance dropped a case against the Trump children after attorney Marc Kasowitz made a $50,000 donation to his campaign. Trump has continued his corruption in the White House. He’s not transferring government money into Trump accounts, but he’s getting really close to it. He bills the government every time he goes to one of his golf courses and his sons have billed the government for trips they took to promote Trump ventures. After he became president, he jacked up dues for his country club and used it as a selling point. Lana Marks, a Mar-a-Lago country club member, was nominated to be ambassador to South Africa, even though she has no diplomatic experience. And Trump tried to block the relocation of FBI headquarters because it would affect his business.

Obviously, America isn’t a Third World country, but under Trump it’s beginning to take on the traits of one.

Written by

Manny Otiko writes about race, politics and sports. He has been published in Salon and LA Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @mannyotiko.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store