Democracy in the United States, 2016
52% of Americans described voter stress after the November 8 US Presidential election. Donald Trump, the populist candidate, was the cause and in particular the symptom of the political structure facilitating such a candidate.
Alexis de Toqueville, the 19th century French aristocrat described the US political system as lacking logic with an incoherent party system which fully resembled a jury system reflecting the mentality of the country at a given time. The success of Trump and Saunders represented the mainstream despite the resonance of the established Democratic Party.
Trump captured and used the Republican Party solely for his own purposes and without precedent. Trump sneered and demeaned his opponents in the Republican Party. Trump’s diatribe against Clinton that she is corrupt and should be in jail never faltered. Trump’s chosen people and his populist rants against Mexican immigrants, Muslims and the closing of Mosques ensured that ‘The important thing is the unification of the people, and the other people don’t matter’ confirmed Trump is an extremist ensuring he will be an extreme President and will ultimately surprise us all. We are reminded of the government shutdown led by Newt Gingrich, 1995-1996. US politics was so polarised that Senator John McCain was asked to mediate with President Clinton.
84% of Trump supporters wanted Hillary Clinton in prison and 40% thought her a Demon! Demonising Hillary Clinton was a common factor in this election. Elements of this election particularly, mobilising neighbourhoods and streets, to vote, resembled some Latin American country.
The genuine populism movement masked the fact that elected Republican Party members detested Trump. Early voting with, African Americans encouraged by ‘souls to polls’ did not help predictors of who would win. Trump, the reality TV star, built his support with builders and not with the Wall Street money makers.
Benito Mussolini swept to power with similar massive popular support in 1923, Silvio Berlusconi with his tax evasion strategies stayed in power too long, and, more recently, the comedian Beppo Grillo the leader of Italy’s Five Star Movement have parallels with Trump’s accession to power.
Politics in the US requires a sponsor with a seat in the US Senate demanding $14 million and a House of Representatives requiring $4.6 million. Trump with his ostentatious wealth did not need to fund raise, Trump the ‘everyman’ won with a varied electorate. Trump was recording opinion polls of 39 and 43% consistently with the ‘Trumpenproletariat’. That variety of voter responded to the rallying call that - the next generation will not do as well economically as the post- Second World War generation. The white trash, the aspirations of the white working class and the hillbillies of the Appalachians, ‘ignore them and you die’, Clinton’s Deplorables fought back and resoundingly defeated the elites of Washington, other groups such as the Old-Right and White Supremacists are more apparent post election.
Sanders a socialist challenged the Democratic establishment, and criticised the voting system thereby appealing to the ‘millenials’ those born since 1980. The New York Times identified that 49% of young Democrats had a positive attitude towards socialism. Sanders offered a political revolution. Obama’s victory in 2008 arose from a majority from the minority. US society is changing with Hispanics due to comprise one third of the US population by 2060. 40% of the US population has lost faith in the democratic process in America. The industry of politics is under stress.
Trump faces deteriorating Chinese-American relations; a resurgent Russia and a militarily disjoint EU along with Iran which is very active in the Middle East. The solution -co-evolution and not challenging China; provide Putin the regional power recognition he craves; ensure the EU develops a strong military back up to its undoubted economic power and make peace in Syria with Assad in power for one more year in his Mediterranean coastal strip and an exit route.
Trump, the bombast, will not fulfill his campaign rhetoric his ephemeral support is based on Facebook and 14 million email addresses and credit card numbers. Trump TV, Fox News are biased.