A Perspective on the 2016 Election:
The elevation of an obscene charlatan and fascistic demagogue to the Oval Office parades to the world the terminal crisis that US democracy is. Under Trump, America will not be ‘great again;’ it will be driven into the dirt.
Why It Happened — Sentence Version:
Trump prevailed because as the working class said for generations, it has ZERO REPRESENTATION in the official United States political system.
Why It Happened — Paragraph Version:
As eight years of ‘hope’ and ‘change’ promises collapsed into war, and living standards eroded, the vast majority saw itself betrayed. It saw a Democratic Party that represents the most privileged, upper-middle class layer and otherwise appeals to identity politics [race, gender, etc.]. Trump voiced and therefore channeled mass public frustration/outrage at this societal decay/crisis into his campaign. That is what demagogues do.
Why It Happened — In Metaphor:
Email revelations, sexual indiscretions and palace intrigues didn’t effect this end. More important is that just weeks ago, we learned that Obama’s signature domestic program, the ‘Affordable Care Act’ faces double-digit cost increases in ’17. Far more than FBI Director, James Comey’s utterly stupid e-mail II scandal, this mattered. It mattered by underscoring in a very tangible way the alienation between the ruling and working classes.
Two other issues to consider. Since the 70s, trade unions have suppressed class struggle even as they channel support into the Democratic Party. This strategy is faltering. Rank and file committees are gaining popularity for independent leadership in existing unions.
Then Sen. Sanders’ craven capitulation to Sen. Clinton ensured that the political right would monopolize opposition to the status quo. It is no accident that Trump’s most significant upsets came in states where Sen. Sanders defeated Clinton by large majorities in the Democratic primaries.
The Last Word on Identity Politics:
The ultimate ‘identity politics’ irony may be that the Democrats lost not only in areas that are poor and white; they also saw lowered voter turn out in majority black regions. Youth and African Americans see no reason to support an obvious ‘status quo’ candidate who runs on ‘tough on Russia platform. They know this means more social misery. They know that it is they themselves who will be sacrificed in coming wars.
Trump has naught to offer but more wars and tax cuts for the super-wealthy. This ever increasing burden will shift onto the working class.
Working people, including those who voted for Trump, will soon discover what they have in a president Trump. Shock and outrage will follow. So will increasingly bitter struggles arising from the deep divisions that this election revealed. New and increasingly vicious state violence will be used more and more routinely against the people.
Political shock is being felt around the world. Germany is facing a massive rearmament in anticipation of an increasingly independent line in a post Obama world. This has potential to divide Germany. It also means less US political clout in Europe. The post-WW II system of alliances is finished. This puts everything up for grabs. Don’t be surprised if some European allies gravitate toward Russia. That would compromise the drive to global hegemony and create ever more instability. America, consider your ways.
Faith and State:
The church must find grace and strength to address class issues if it is to speak the truth about poverty and privilege. No less than the children of Israel who under Pharaoh’s hand cried out to Yahweh, the poor and needy in our own time and place cry out for deliverance. But Donald Trump is no deliverer. And by siding with power rather than with the wage slaves all around us, the church ensures that it also will be removed when the coming sociopolitical explosion purges this system from the earth.
The nation hasn’t lost its soul. But unless the wage-slave class unites and takes its place in society as the only true wealth producer, America is lost.