Now that Donald Trump has lost the presidential race to Joe Biden, the good citizens of the civilized world can breathe with relief. Donald Trump was going to destroy world order, they told us four years ago. Donald Trump was unfit to be President because he could start a nuclear war on a whim, they told us four years ago. Donald Trump was a threat to the liberal world order. Donald Trump was going to dismantle NATO. Donald Trump was a threat to American leadership. Donald Trump was a boor, unworthy to be the leader of free world. Donald Trump was a demagogue, a liar and a populist, and possibly a fascist too. They said Trump was divisive, while forgetting the entire construct of identity politics is divisive, and that it was Trump’s rival, the perfect candidate for our times, a woman, liberal, rich, shiny, successful that called Trump voters “deplorable”.
One did not expect of course that this election would be so tight. “Americans have fired Trump”, some have already written in opinion pieces that purport to express the epochal feeling of the end of an era and a change for the better, leaving out only slightly less than half of the American population voted for Trump. We had been told for many months now that this was going to be a landslide, that the people would stand up against the buffoonish Trump. Europe, in particular, appears to be very relieved to see Donald Trump go. All those years, (Western) European media, from German to France, from Spain to Sweden, did not even bother to hide their antipathy towards Donald Trump. But why did they find him so insufferable after all? What exactly did the European intelligentsia dislike so much about Donald Trump that they could barely keep their ever so impeccable composure? Was it because he opposed illegal, uncontrolled immigration, in a time where the migrant appears to have been raised to the new ideal of man?
The problem was Donald Trump seemed to be a reaction against all the most progressive trends of our most optimistic of times. He presented himself as an adversary to globalism and the paradise on earth on multiculturalism. He said he was more interested in caring about the internal problems of the country (“America First”), rather than for the US to pursue the role a world policeman. Clearly this could not go down too well with a class of people that are used to think “globally” and that regard themselves at the avant-garde of the whole of humanity (even if they will never openly say so because that could, well, sound a bit arrogant and racist).
The New York, Washington and Los Angeles elites were legitimately persuaded the world was their playground and humanity, from Peru to Russia, passing through Egypt and India, their audience. And the Europeans have always thought they were so much more sophisticated than the frankly dumb Americans. Interesting that very often the sophisticated Europeans in the end shut up and followed the American lead without asking too many questions. The world was in danger of losing the American leadership, we were said day in day out. The war without American leadership would be dominated by chaos? People conveniently seemed to forget that American leadership produced a lot of death and destruction in the last few decades: may only Iraq be mentioned. Now establishment experts tends to react very fastidiously to this kind of arguments: it apparently makes America look bad, it is just propaganda. That’s a nice way to dismiss direct responsibility for hundreds of thousands if not millions of deaths.
And how come Europe did not seem to be able to cope without American leadership? Did Europe feel lonely without it, like a middle-aged sophisticated and intellectual woman who has her youth past herself and is suddenly dumped by her man, whom she sometimes secretly despised but who in the end was then one in the family who took the most important decisions in the most important moments? A self-assured middle-aged lady who stopped caring about her physical appearance decades ago and suddenly felt abandoned, wondering how she would be able to maintain her lifestyle after the separation from her wealthy husband, whom she regarded as a bit uncouth sometimes, but on whom her livelihood depended.
Yes, Trump was unsophisticated and sometimes vulgar. But he was more genuine than the establishment politicians who are in the pay of corporations and this is why many people voted for him in 2016 while others were affecting not to take him seriously. The crisis in 2008 exposed all the problems of the American model that resulted in high income inequality: all these “unsophisticated” people voted for Trump because the establishment politicians had repeatedly and methodically shown that they did not give a damn about them. This was a show of democracy at work. This is how democracy should be if it wants to deserve the name democracy, the government of the people, not the government of a wealthy and well connected elite that gets rubber stamped by elections here and there. Trump wanted to focus on America first, but American superiority is founded on world leadership. And the establishment and their lackeys did everything in their power to have him kicked out. I’d rather have a vulgar President than an always perfectly well-mannered leader that in the name of lofty ideals (“democracy”, “freedom”, etc etc) would bring destruction to many parts of the globe because of the compelling need to hold on to US world leadership.
Stefano Di Lorenzo