By Jack Rasmus
US real estate billionaire, Donald Trump, is president-elect. In an age when 97% of all GDP-national income gains since 2010 have accrued to the wealthiest 1% – of which Trump is one – how could American voters come to elect Trump? How could they vote for a candidate that they simultaneously were giving a ‘negative rating’ of 60% to 80%? That fundamental question will ever haunt this election.
What the election shows is that American voters in electing Trump wanted “anything but the above” Obama policies of the previous eight years, policies which were just extensions of the neoliberal regime established in the 1980s in the US since Reagan. And voters didn’t care about the political warts, past or present, of Trump. They just wanted something different. They wanted to “stick their thumb in the eye” of the ruling political elites (of both parties).
The voters’ message was: “you, the political elite, have hurt and harmed us these past eight years. You have ignored us and left us behind while ensuring your wealthy friends recovered quickly and well from the 2009 crash. We have experienced great anxiety and insecurity. Now have a taste of that yourself!”
Trump’s campaign gaffs, his personal character, his missteps and outrageous “off the cuff” statements, his lack of any government experience, only enhanced the view that he was not just another elite politician. His lack of TV ad spending, absence of a so-called “ground game” organisation to turn out the vote, his having lost all three TV debates according to pundits and the press, his lack of “field organisation” and a poorly run Republican Party convention – all that was irrelevant. What his win, in spite of all that conventional political wisdom of what it takes to win an election, reflects is that the equation of politics is changing in the US as the people, the “masses” to use jargon of prior times, are entering the political arena as a political force.
And that fact is not just revealed in Trump’s election. It was evident in Britain’s recent “Brexit” referendum to leave the European Union. It will next be reflected in Italy’s vote this coming December, in which political elite proposals for political reform to give them more power will also be rejected. It will reflect thereafter in the increasingly likely election of the far right “national front” in French elections next year. And could further reflect in German elections thereafter, in which that country’s long standing and presumably untouchable political leader, Angela Merkel, may also be over-turned.
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