The recent US election was an earthquake that totally re-shaped American politics. A billionaire outsider without any government experience has beaten the whole American establishment, not only of both parties but also of the press, academia and business. How was this possible?
How could a man who offended, during the campaign, women, latinos, blacks, muslims and many others win in the end? Political pundits will try to explain this huge surprise for many years to come, but some reasons all well known to us, and also present in Europe.
Firstly, fear. Fear of unchecked globalisation destroying jobs and undermining living standards. Fear of the other, whether he is Chinese, Mexican or Muslim. Fear of the future, of your children living worse than you and even than your parents.
Secondly, hate. Hate of the establishment, the 1%, who has profited while the rest was left behind and ignored. Hate of Wall Street brokers that created the terrible 2008 meltdown and are even richer today. Hate of Washington that let them get away with it unpunished.
Thirdly, decline. The rapidly disappearing American middle class. Stagnant wages for decades pushing people to pile up debt. Former industrial powerhouses that became ghost towns. The end of the American dream of social upward mobility. The end of US world supremacy.
Like in the Brexit vote, the people have said ENOUGH! We no longer trust our self-serving elites. America for the Americans, whatever that means…
This political revolution will change the face of America, make it more inward-looking, more nationalistic, less tolerant with the others, less open and generous.
The rest of world waits in fear, hoping that electoral promises will NOT become US government policy.
And the American people are deeply divided in two camps, the haves and the haves not. The liberal and the “deplorable”. New York and California against the rest. Let us hope things don’t turn up even uglier.