De glemte årsakene til Trumps seier
Globalisering og lønnssvikt er viktige årsaker til Trumps seier, men ingen forklaring på hvorfor støtten vokste seg sterk akkurat nå. Svaret ligger i to store elite-skapte kriser ingen er stilt til ansvar for.
En versjon av denne teksten ble først publisert hos NRK Ytring 18. november 2016.
Doug Rossinow er fra i høst førsteamanuensis i samtidshistorie ved Universitetet i Oslo. Teksten gjengis her i opprinnelig, engelsk versjon.
War and collapse:
The forgotten sources of American anger
Donald Trump’s victorious supporters want change – perhaps at any cost. To have chosen such a harsh medicine, they must think the body politic is gravely ill.
Why do they think the disease is so far advanced? We see many answers: good jobs lost through free trade; multiculturalism (i.e., they are racists); the relative decline of US standing in the world. These long-term trends are real. So is the American taste for politicians who promise change.
But why did the intensity of the thirst for change reach this high point now?
Policy disaster I
We must remember two traumas experienced by Americans in recent years. These traumas were worst for working-class Americans, many of them in areas where Trump did really well. These were policy disasters: failures of America’s elite. But America’s elite never paid a price for their failures.
First is the US invasion of Iraq. Because so many Iraqis have died, it may seem strange to talk of this as an example of American suffering. No matter. Many Americans did suffer: they were killed and maimed, they killed others, they did all the work of occupiers.
The United States has a volunteer army. Those serve who must, because of economic need. The poor, the working class, the immigrants: these are the ones sent across the sea to war. In America, I have taught many of them in the years since 2003. I know, as most of them know, that they were sent to a war based on lies, a war that failed for reasons they could not change.
Eventually George W. Bush was sent home to Texas, unloved and unmissed. But the foreign policy elite that cheered his invasion are still in Washington, still toasting each other’s wisdom.
Donald Trump made enemies of this foreign policy elite when he denounced Bush’s war as a war of deceit and a strategic disaster. This elite linked arms to support Hillary Clinton. The right-wing nationalist became the antiwar candidate.
Policy disaster II
The second trauma was the financial crisis of 2008. The big banks got bailed out; they still stand. No one rescued the mortgaged homeowners or the university graduates with crushing debt. Many lost their homes.
The banking elite are still in place. Many bureaucrats with close ties to them remain, in both major political parties. A reformist element of the Democratic Party, led by Elizabeth Warren, has blocked the rise of some of these tainted bureaucrats. But many in both parties have fought against this effort.
Trump did not speak to the financial collapse. He is too compromised to do so. But Obama and Clinton were compromised also. The anger at the financial elite lingers and festers.
Trump did run advertisements targeting this global financial elite. Some called this antisemitism. Maybe so. But this right-wing version of populism – the populism of fools – was the only variety available on Election Day. Bernie Sanders offered a left-wing version of populism, but the elite joined forces to stop him and chose Clinton as their champion.
Trump’s people hope for a restoration of greatness and prosperity. But their bitterness is deep, and it has many sources.