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The drama of the 2020 US elections is coming to a close. The recent meeting of the electoral college has brought it almost to an end. Many Americans and indeed the world are breathing a sigh of relief. For without doubt the Trump presidency was, among other things, quite exhausting.
The main stream media which took a very hostile position to Trump and he to them may very well find it difficult to readjust after these last four years.
The questions that would now come to the fore and spoken about in the immediate future are, How and why did this come about? and secondly can it reoccur? These are important issues for the US and the entire international community.
How did this happen? Any why?
In the first place I think that the broad masses of people in the US have become tired with the status quo. From one elections to the other promises were made and hopes were risen just to be dashed.
The events leading up to the 2016 elections showed clearly that people were fed up with the establishment. They had lost hope that the traditional politicians could really make changes to benefit them.
That is why the Democratic Party Berni Sanders popularity grew greatly. Indeed it has
grown to a movement for change in favour of the poor working people.
The Sanders phenomena was halted by the Democratic Party’s establishment. Many said and the evidence seems to give it much credibility, that the system was rigged against him in the Party.
However, that movement has not disappeared. It continues to grow. The 2020 elections has elected more persons to the Congress who support a left agenda.
The Democratic Party is experiencing two opposite trends. The leaders represented by the Clintons and the Obamas have moved sharply to the right. They are more representing the Corporate America. On the other hand the working class base is pulling strongly to the left as seen by Sanders, Cortez and others.
At the Republican Party level, Donald Trump, coming from the right wing, but whose demagogy was/is superb, managed to grab the nomination for the Presidency from the more established Republican leaders. He went on to win the presidency, even though be lost the popular votes due to the US electoral system.
So began the era of Trump.
After his victory various analyses were made. One of which was the racial issue. Some saw it was a racist vote and branded those who voted Trump as white racists.
That is a very superficial analysis and cannot stand rigorous examination.
It is true that a large part of the white working class voted for Trump and contributed to his victory, but they were not primarily moved by racist sentiments.
After all it was those same voters who voted for Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Barack Obama. No real attempts were made to understand the change.
That had to do with the terrible frustration that these poor people had to face. It had to do with the lost of hope that their lives would change. After all even Obama’s election in a way was won by an anti-establishment vote.
Figures abound to show that the income of working people has stagnated since 1970. At the same time labour productivity has gone up by leaps and bounds. The fact is that all the gains went to the owners of Capital.
Today the United States has become one of the most unequal societies in the world. Some economists claim that the 0.1% of the richest people have more than 50% of the wealth of the country.
The inequality which began in the late 1960s/early 1970s was accelerated during the presidency of Ronald Reagan. That policy was never changed by Presidents that came from the Democratic Party.
Bill Clinton facilitated this by deregulating any control or oversight of the Financial sector. That eventually led to the crash of 2008 and the pauperization of millions.
Despite the crash and the favourable political conditions that Obama had, he did nothing to re-establish some regulations, to protect the vulnerable in the society.
Thus the working people were left to the mercy of the big corporations. As we know the Corporations are merciless.
The Democratic Party, in trying to hold on to its support paid far more attention to its minority base, the African Americans and the Latin Latino population.
They too seem to have assumed, as so many people abroad, that all white people were rich. That led to a neglect of the sufferings of the vast majority of the white working class.
Poverty is not a respector of colour and many white workers in mining lost their jobs. It was the white working class that suffered the most when factories were allowed to pack-up and leave for low income countries to maximise profits.
Frustrated and feeling abandoned they reacted by deviating sharply to the right. Their condition made them vulnerable to demagogy.
It is that frustrated group that moved to Trump. That was probably made easier for them by sidelining of Bernie Sanders. Had Sanders been the Presidential Candidate the results may have been very different.
In the US at the moment a growing polarization is taking place in its politics.
The mainstream Republican and Democratic parties are almost indistinguishable as to policies. Indeed they seem engrossed in the struggle to prove which is better for the big corporation.
While this is happening we see the far right wing gaining strength in the Republican Party – The Trump Phenomena The 74 million that voted for Trump is a very, very formidable force.
At the same time we see a resurgence of left politics represented by Bernie Sanders whose movement is growing. This is seen in the growing amount of left of centre representatives elected, even in these last elections. It is also evident in the quantity of social movement emerging such as the marches on Wall St and the Black Lives Matter movement.
All of this tell us that real fundamental changes are needed to bring about a more just and equitable society.
There needs to be a recognition that it is not only the minority ethnic groups that are suffering but a large section of the white community are hurting badly and policies and appeals must be made to them to prevent them from permanently supporting the far right.
The call must put more emphasis on better distribution of wealth for all low income people. Employment opportunities have to be found for all.
If no real and sustained efforts are made in that direction then Trumpism can return with a vengeance and the consequences could be too dire to contemplate.