‘The old world is dying and the new world struggles to be born. Now is the time of monsters’, Antonio Gramsci.
Donald J. Trump, the outsider billionaire, defeated Hillary R. Clinton, the insider politician, in a stunning upset for the US presidency. All polls and all pundits assumed that Clinton would win in a landslide. Confidence ran so high that Clinton’s people in the Democratic Party felt that she might even win traditionally Republican states – even Texas, the bastion of American conservatism. It was suggested that Clinton could win the battleground states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, denying Trump any path to victory. As it turned out, Trump won each of these states, comfortable in his victory.
Not only did Trump win, but the Republican Party – in deep disarray about his candidacy – retained the US House of Representatives, the US Senate and the majority of the governorships. This means that the Republican Party will – from January 2017 – control every major branch of US government. The electorate has delivered, in other words, a mandate to the conservative political party.
Why is this so?
It has nothing to do with persona of Trump. After all, he is a billionaire who has made his career by squandering the livelihoods of his workers, and disregarding the well being of the people hurt by his real estate projects. In comments made during the race, Trump disparaged non-white people, calling Mexicans rapists and calling for a ban on Muslim immigration into the United States. His sharp and nasty comments about women amplified his remove from the discourse of polite society. He is ‘unfit to serve’, said the ruling class, which included not only stalwarts of the Democratic Party but also of the Republican Party. The Bush family – which has produced two Republican presidents – shunned Trump. So did many of the Republicans who ran for the Senate. High-minded society saw in Trump the worst instincts of humanity.
But the vote for Trump did not likely come because he was endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan, the oldest white supremacy group. Certainly Trump drew his support largely from White voters – White men in particular, but also White women. Did they vote for him because he disparaged Mexicans and women? My own reporting showed that Trump’s support came to a significant extent for two reasons: because he talked openly about a forgotten America and because he offered a robust denunciation of unequal globalization.