The 2016 US Elections
And why we should all care
in couple of days the United States of America will have a new commander in chief, whoever it may be, will be of massive relevance to all peoples, not only Americans. However I will argue here, that we all missed something, something of great importance, something we should all be worried about.
Just to set the tone, you won't hear from me who should be the president of the US, this one is up to you.
"The times, they are a changin'"
The basis on which we lived our lives since the early 90's has been stable. The 90's saw the fall of the Soviet Union surprisingly and unexpectedly, what lead some researchers to state that we have arrived at the end of history (Francis Fukuyama "The End of History"). Liberal, market-liberal and social democracy, for the lack of a better term "won" over all existing ideologies. The turning of the millennium brought new challenges, that, at first, did not receive any political reaction what so ever. In the west, we continued to see the world as a direct continuation of the "End of History" basically events such as 9/11 attacks and rise of Islamic terrorism, the "Arab Spring", Global warming, the ever accelerating globalization, the economical crisis of 2008 seemed as problems to whom we have the necessary political tools needed to deal with. Today we know this not to be the case.
To put this in the words of Nobel prize award winner Bob Dylan- one of my favorite artists-: "the times are a changin' ", yeah the times changed and so did politics, that we can perfectly see through the 2016 US election candidates. Lets take a closer look:
Hillary Rodham Clinton represents what we think when we say politician, or at least our typical stereotype thereof. Her constant and open zigzagging between opinions- manly gay marriage and the invasion of Irak- embodies everything we hate about politicians. I believe she bested Bernie Sanders because Terrorists and Socialists give Americans the some connotations (and even so it wasn't easy for her!). I for one don't mind for her constant lying. Trump does the same. This is the reason she lies to keep herself ahead of the curve, which makes me see how all of this is dangerous, since people who would vote for her on an ideological basis, won't. Thus endangering democracy in the process.
Eventually it seems as if she can't really give an answer to whatever Trump is, she is too conventional, too established. In a sense Conventional politics are derived from finding solutions in available spectrum of possibilities. However Trump isn't something you will find a solution for just lying around waiting. I would just like to add, that I find Hillary Clinton conventional in every sense of the word. I find here charisma to be the charisma of a wet carrot and also the credibility of one. I find her branding her campaign on the premise of her being the first woman president and that "it's about time" as a poor overuse, utterly conventional, cliche of an excuse and still I wouldn't say that Donald Trump is in anyway better.
I'll say it up front, I don't believe Donald Trump believes half of what he says. I believe Donald trump is a well trained Guerilla fighter, lurking in the shadows. He may be poorly armed and ill- informed, yet holds the element of surprises and attacks without mercy, on his terms. Whenever he might seem to loose, he turns reality on itself and "wins" by retreating to his safe place where he can fight another day. Donald Trump is not unique for his racism or his audacity, rather for his embodiment of the notion that politics is a show. Trump understand that at some point we all want to be entertained, not much different in what democracy in old Greece was, there is a deep seeded notion, that politics is nothing but a stage and all politicians are mere actors.
That's all for Donald Trump the man, as for Donald Trump the political phenomenon, there is much less unique to begin with, but in no way is unremarkable. Today we can see many Donald Trumps all around us: Frauke Petry of the AFD (alternative for Germany),Norbert Hofer of the FPÖ (Austrian Freedom Party), Marine Le Pen - Front National (the national Front of France), Nigel Farage of the UKIP and Boris Johnson of the British conservative party and Geert Wilders of the Dutch Party for Freedom. All said names have in common that they are individuals of the far right, with wishes to challenge the status quo politics in general and deleting political correctness in particular. Donald Trump is here only unique because his use of words but not his message, in that sense, they are all the same.
...and they are not alone
However dear readers, by naming people on the basis of them wanting to change the status quo, I will also have to name Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama. The far right does not have a monopoly on attacking the status quo. Barack Obamas foreign policy has been nothing but revisionist, decisions like normalizing relations with nations such as Cuba and negotiating the Iran deal are in strong contrast to all US presidents before him, even the left oriented ones. Bernie Sander's approach on Wallstreet - "too big to fail" is also something that hasn't been heard of in history American politics. Another example would come in the form of the Greek politician Alexis Tsipras of the far left Syriza party. His management of the Greek debt crisis with Germany could have almost been led to the collapse of the European Union- what just might still happen thanks to the "Brexit" orchestrated by UKIP and British conservatives. We can see, that with the "Brexit", Barack Obama, the Syriza party, the FPÖ (getting just shy of 50% of the Austrian votes) and people like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump getting ahead of conventional conservative and liberal candidates: Political revisionism is on the rise and is here to stay.
So what does it all mean?
On evening of the 23rd of June- evening of the Brexit vote- I was getting ready for bed and checked up on the latest about the Brexit, saying farewell to 50€ I bet on with a friend about Britain leaving the EU. Many others just like myself around the world, went to sleep with the notion that the people of Britain are voting for the status quo. Little did I know that we would all wake up to the turmoil and surprise (wich to me wasn't much of a surprise, as I bet it's going to happen) of the Brexit.
In many ways I think that our surprise from the Brexit reflect our surprise that a person like Donald Trump got so ahead in the US election and just might be the next US president. One cannot be surprised that Trump the man has got this far. His TV reality mentality, his "can't stump the Trump" attitude is exactly what the board masses need when confronting with the old boring corrupt old-school dishonest status quo politician. However by tackling old undisturbed questions like: boarder control, emigration policies, the structure of our economy a far right populist can swindle the entire system. Or in other words: just by tackling a fundamental notion of our society, a revisionist politician becomes fundamental to our daily lives and thus wins our undivided attention, wich in turn translates itself into more media coverage, which stands for free advertisement/marketing, which is subsequently translated into more votes.
In a way Donald Trump is our way of letting someone else opening a can of worms, we didn't want to open ourselves, for us. Donald Trump embodies the www. age where we express our hardest thoughts online but so rarely in person (LOL!). This isn't bad, because no change is inherently bad or good, it is the consequences we should worry about- and also it is worrying that this election has been more about what Trump said or how corrupt Hillary is, than how they show that our society is broken and is in dire need of change.
To those of you who think, that the US 2016 elections have been so far pretty dark, and when it's over, everything is going to get brighter, I have the following to say:
"...It's not dark yet,
but it's getting there."
(Bob Dylan - "It's not dark yet" 1997)