A Trump presidency could create a worrying scenario for Australia if just some of his policies are implemented, but policies are not the only issue, this is a highly emotional campaign, appealing to the anger and frustration of a people fed up with ‘normal’ politicians.

“I agree with a lot he says – a lot.” Adolf Hitler, played by Sarah Silverman on Conan

Trump is currently showing fierce nationalistic tendencies – talk of closing borders, deporting illegal immigrants and renegotiating trade agreements has many in the American business community nervous, including donors and primary supporters of the Republican Party. As the Cruz and Rubio publicity machine ramps up thanks in part to a flood of financial support from these suddenly motivated donors, it seems that the Trump momentum has a high chance of carrying him through. In fact his voter base is broad, scoring high with both black and white voters and the rich and poor alike.

“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.” Trump on Fox moderator Megyn Kelly after the first Republican debate

Even being caught out by both Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace in a recent Republican debate did nothing to dent his support –  Kelly showed Trump lied about Trump University and Wallace demonstrated, using projected images, that Trump’s policies simply do not add up – Trump is promising to eliminate the U.S. deficit  by cutting the Education Department and the Environmental Protection Agency. These two departments have overall costs of $86b and the deficit currently sits around $544b.

Trump has shown little to no understanding of, not only policies and numbers, but of the limitations of presidential power. He speaks of forcing Mexico to build a wall and bombing the newly declared ISIS Caliphate, targeting the woman and children of fighters. This is rhetoric from anyone chatting at a dinner party, but not from a potential republican candidate and certainly not from the front runner.

The media has sped up the war on Trump, with CNN no longer bothering to shield their contempt for the businessman, with headlines such as ‘Trump’s Frightening Islam Comments.’ Even right wing stalwart Fox News has been quick to condemn Trump of late, with their journalists quick to jump on any comment made that seems ‘un-presidential.’

But how would a Trump presidency impact on Australia? Well perhaps a more important question would be, how could Trump impact China?

“He’s the only one who can help us take the world back from China” Trump supporter

Australia’s biggest trade partner has had it’s fair share of diplomatic skirmishes over the last few years with the latest being the reclaimed islands in the South China Sea. Tensions with a Trump Government could reach new levels with Trump eager to demonstrate who the world’s greatest super power is once more. But the next war will likely not be physical, but rather a new cold war, using cyber-terrorism and this is an area where China are presumed to be far ahead, in fact a new RAND report says, “China’s cyber units have been in operation since the late 1990s and are closely tied or operated by the Chinese military.”

Australia may be forced to choose sides and as a country, economically tied to China there may be few choices. However this would involve severing our ties with the United States, which could create economic isolation from the global community.

Even without an outcome as extreme as cyber hostilities, Trump has already threatened China with a 45% tariff on imports, saying ,”The 45 percent is a threat that if they don’t behave, if they don’t follow the rules and regulations so that we can have it equal on both sides, we will tax you.” It’s comments like this that can spark a trade war and again having Australia being forced to take sides. It’s unlikely that China would allow countries that rely on them to continue on such friendly relations with a ‘trade enemy.’

“He’s playing the American public for suckers, he has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president.” Republican Mitt Romney

But where does that leave Australia? Seen as America’s good friend and China’s mineral shop, but with no real cards of it’s own to play. Perhaps Prime Minister Turnbull’s increased focus on defence is starting to make some sense. The government’s defence white paper will lay out detailed plans for defence spending of $260bn over the next 10 years, including 12 submarines. Far more vital however will be an increase in tech investment and the creation of a robust infrastructure to replace the dismantled manufacturing sector. If the next war is an economic one, the last thing smaller countries want to be is pawns in the larger game.