Obviously, I am referring to Donald Trump’s victory in the US elections, which I risked suggesting back in July he would win. I refer not to the parts of the world that relied on the myth of pax americana. I mean the many parts of the world that have been bullied by the USA for too long. Trump’s turn will clearly be inward, retreating from US efforts to dominate many parts of the world where it had no business whatsoever. To be sure, declining empires never decline gracefully. They do so angrily, lashing out. But the decline is all the more clear.
So what to make of all this?
To begin with, the working class has expressed itself in an unexpected way. Given the narrow options within bourgeois democracy, this is one of the few paths open to the working class. Like Brexit.
Second, the old methods of opinion polling are no longer valid within bourgeois democracies. They are simply unable to track the way people actually feel. I discussed this with some fellow travellers on my recent journey by train across North America – the last of my trans-continental crossings that needed to be done. They were profoundly suspicious of what the polls were saying,
Third, Trump has reaped what Obama has sown. That may sound like a strange observation. But US politics has been predicated on a sense of decline. Think of Obama’s ‘hope’ campaign, with the implicit message of restoring a lost golden age. Trump simply claimed to ‘make America great again’, thereby signalling as clearly as possible that greatness was in the past. By contrast, Clinton’s claim that the USA is great but that it simply needs to be made ‘whole again’ did not cut it.
Fourth, Trump embodies the truth of US style bourgeois democracy. Anyone watching from outside is saying, ‘if that is bourgeois democracy, then no thanks’.
Do not get me wrong, I am not a supporter of Trump, nor of Clinton. In fact, I am not a supporter of bourgeois democracy. It is a terrible system. And Trump reveals how bad it really is.