Imran Khan and Donald Trump: Pride and Prejudice

Donald Trump has gotten plenty of press for rocking the boat and causing an uproar during his presidential campaign with his incendiary remarks about minorities and women, and certainly any comparison with him wouldn’t be very flattering. Nonetheless, an op-ed piece on Dawn.com argues that Pakistani lawmaker Imran Khan is a lot like Donald Trump, although another piece also on Dawn.com makes the opposite argument.

Imran Khan and Donald Trump: Pride and Prejudice

So which is it? Are Trump and Khan cut from the same cloth? At least one thing is clear: Khan can be considered the “Pride,” while Trump is the “Prejudice.” (Yes, I’ve just referenced a famous novel by a woman (Jane Austen to be precise) in an article about Donald Trump, who apparently doesn’t think much of women.

Donald Trump specializes in offending people

One thing that should be noted is that in Pakistan, recently women were barred from voting in the local elections in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). This is a distinct cultural difference in the way women are viewed in the U.S. versus in Pakistan. It certainly in no way excuses any offensive comments made toward women (or anyone else) in Pakistan, but it should be noted.

Pervez Hoodbhoy, who calls Khan “Pakistan’s Donald Trump,” compares an offensive comment Trump made toward Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, who had taken him to task in an interview on CNN. He said she had “Blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever.” He then goes on to compare this to a comment Khan made about Nawaz Sharif wetting his shalwar.

However, these two statements are entirely different. Trump’s statement strikes specifically at women. It certainly seems like the statement “blood coming out of her wherever” is a reference to a woman’s cycle. And then there are statements about minorities, like when he claimed most Mexican immigrants are rapists and criminals (no matter what you think on the immigration issue, this is clearly a racist remark). He also claimed that President Barack Obama is a Muslim born in another country, referring to a controversy from years ago when people demanded to see his birth certificate because foreign-born citizens are not eligible for the Oval Office.

Khan’s statement is more about embarrassing a political rival than about offending a particular group of people. Instead of making personal attacks against certain groups, it seems like he’s content to jeer at his political opponents. One problematic area is his soft spot for the Taliban, which poses a serious threat for most of the world and causes his opponents to speak out against him.

Cage-rattlers and narcissists

Although the nature of their comments might be different, there’s no denying that both Donald Trump and Imran Khan aren’t content unless they’re rattling the cage. Trump certainly comes across with a level of anger that’s as deep as the anger felt by many Americans. However, the nature of Trump’s anger is different than that of the average American, I believe, and it seems his ire is misplaced in many cases.

Trump seems happy to lash out any anyone and everyone in a way that’s designed to offend rather than just express disagreement with their views. It’s one thing to disagree and quite another to bash and tear down the groups you don’t like, although it seems like Americans have difficulty distinguishing between the two these days.

Khan and Trump both have an aggressiveness in their nature that does make them similar, however, which many people find attractive in spite of their incendiary remarks. The two men are both undeniably narcissistic, which oddly enough, also tends to attract people, according to a study published in the Harvard Business Review, because they have a contagious enthusiasm for their wild promises and schemes.

Where the similarities between Trump and Khan end

Michael Kugelman argues that Trump and Khan are nothing alike. For one thing, Khan is already a political success, while Trump has not made it there yet. It remains to be seen whether Trump will make it to the level of political success Khan has managed, although a recent poll indicated that he was heading for the GOP nomination going into the debate. If he does win the nomination, it certainly says a lot about my fellow Americans, however, and it’s not good.

Also Khan promised to end corruption in 19 days but then extended that to 90 days, which still is a tall order and seems unlikely to happen in such a short time. Nonetheless, apparently people expected him to be able to do it in such a short amount of time.

Kugelman also notes that Trump’s supporters are obviously far more accepting of prejudice. When he was asked about when the U.S. could “get rid of” Muslims, he just said, “We’re going to be looking at that.” Apparently no one in the crowd even responded to that. It was just accepted, and the meeting went on. I would argue that it’s possible some people were so shocked they just didn’t know what to say or how to react. When I hear something as prejudiced as this, I’m shocked speechless, but we just don’t know if that was the case here or not.

Khan’s followers, on the other hand, don’t appear to practice prejudice of this scale. They certainly cheer him on whenever he speaks, but his remarks tend to be more about embarrassing rivals than prejudice.