TRUMP WON! GET OVER IT METROPOLITAN LIBERALS by Youssef El-Gingihy
An avalanche of post-mortem election analysis is being unleashed. However, much of it seems to operate in a vacuum. There are various critiques of Trump. He may certainly be appalling and objectionable but there is a huge amount of hypocrisy at play here, which needs to be unmasked. Let’s take the points one by one.
- TRUMP IS A RACIST & A MISOGYNIST
Yes he clearly ran a divisive, xenophobic and sexist campaign. His conciliatory victory speech provides a ray of hope. He has stated that he will govern for all citizens. He was also generous towards Hillary – no suggestion of imprisoning his opponent for example.
And if we really want to discuss racism then it is worth recalling that the Bush and Obama War on Terror is responsible for 1.3 million deaths according to Physicians for Social Responsibility. Obama, so beloved of urbane cosmopolitans, is thus the black Nobel peace president, who has bombed seven Muslim countries.
- TRUMP IS A PROTO-FASCIST DEMAGOGUE
Segments of the Trump movement, including the alt-right, are deeply worrying and appear to be laying the foundations for a far-right mass movement. If Trump goes on to deport millions of immigrants, build a wall and bar Muslims from entering the country then we will have fascism in our time.
However, there is a one word response to all of this – Snowden. Trump did not create a big brother mass surveillance state. The NSA did. Post 9/11, there has been a steady erosion of civil liberties. Obama extended the Bush national security doctrine. Again, liberals might want to look themselves in the mirror when they acquiesced by rehashing arguments around “not worrying if you have nothing to hide”.
The Trump phenomenon did not just happen overnight. It is the product of decades of the decay of democracy – a dysfunctional neoliberal economic system only working for the elite and leaving millions of disenfranchised people behind. And a broken political system captured by vested interests embodied in the personage of Hillary. On the other hand, Trump presented himself as beholden to none of these interests. The Trump constituency did not have any progressive alternative and so were naturally drawn to him.
Let’s remember that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) made a cynical calculation when they chose to sabotage the democratic process and work against Bernie to ensure Clinton got the nomination. They were prepared to risk a Trump victory rather than have Bernie win. So the DNC are complicit.
Well let’s start with Clinton. She is a liberal war hawk and her record speaks for itself. She supported the Iraq war. And unforgivably she did not learn the lesson. As Secretary of State, she overrode the Pentagon’s warnings about the consequences of the NATO bombing of Libya. This has unleashed anarchic chaos in Libya and across Africa not to mention uncorking the migrant crisis.
She also pushed for the destabilisation of Syria by supporting Islamist groups against Assad. As her emails show, she was fully cognizant that Saudi Arabia and Qatar were arming ISIS specifically. At the same time that the Clinton foundation received donations from Saudi Arabia, the US State department negotiated arms deals to Saudi. In other words, Clinton is part of a global network elite of the military-industrial complex and Middle Eastern client states guaranteeing the geopolitical hegemony responsible for much of the current instability and chaos in the region. Frankly Trump’s isolationism is refreshing.
As the New York Times pointed out recently, Clinton is also a hawk on Russia. Yes Putin is an authoritarian ruler abusing human rights. But the current tit for tat escalation of war games is terrifying. Only last week, UK defence secretary Michael Fallon stated that the UK would be ready for war with Russia in 2 years. Turning the new cold war into a hot war would be apocalyptic.
Trump is in favour of rapprochement with Russia. As John Mearsheimer points out in the US foreign policy bible Foreign Affairs, NATO expansionism right up to the borders of Russia has provoked Putin. Clinton was also one of the architects of the Pivot to Asia policy, which aimed to surround China with US naval bases alongside the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement excluding China.
Clinton was previously in favour of free trade agreements but was forced to back down due to populist pressure.
Trump has stated that he is anti TTIP, TPP and may even reverse NAFTA. Perhaps metropolitans do not really get what these trade agreements would mean so let me spell out just how bad they are. They would open up public services to corporate takeover. They would likely make public or state ownership difficult. They would then lock in privatisation through Investor-State Dispute Settlement clauses. They would also enforce enclosure of the commons through intellectual property rights. So drug patents would be extended to combat cheap generic medicines. Patenting of the human genome would be enforced. Farmers would have to buy seeds from corporations. I don’t know about you but that sounds like a dystopian world to me.
Trump clearly connected with the millions left behind. His policy proposals gave them hope that neoliberal globalisation is not some irresistible force of nature. Protectionism may not exactly be progressive but it appears preferable to the unsustainable status quo of wage stagnation and decimation of well-paid manufacturing jobs.
Trump visited Flint, Michigan during the water crisis. He pointed out it used to be the case that water in Mexico was undrinkable and cars were made in Michigan but now it was the other way round. This was manna for the people of Michigan. No Washington politician would have dreamt of saying this. Clinton had not even bothered to visit Wisconsin since April. Such astonishing complacency helped hand the state to Trump.
That the wealthiest country in the world cannot even provide clean, drinking water to citizens in its aptly named rust belt is hard to compute. Metropolitans simply have no frame of reference. Clinton dismissed the same people as a “basket of deplorables” underlining just how out of touch she is. Towards the end of the campaign, she was hobnobbing with the super-rich in the Hamptons. Because the Clintons now prefer to be amongst their own. Bill Clinton has clearly forgotten about his modest background growing up in Arkansas. Together, the Clintons have made close to a quarter of a billion dollars since leaving the White House in 2001, according to the Financial Times.
Trump has promised public investment spending on infrastructure helping in the process to create jobs. The appalling state of national infrastructure is in desperate need of this. Here, he almost sounds Rooseveltian in promising some kind of New Deal.
However, he will come into conflict with the likes of Paul Ryan and the Republican party hell-bent on welfare cuts and deficit reduction fetishism. Confusingly, Trump plans to lower taxes. This is a hangover from neoliberal trickle-down economics that does not fit into the rest of the paradigm. It’s not at all clear how he will square this circle.
His plans to repeal Obamacare are also a regressive step unless he replaces it with universal healthcare, which seems highly unlikely. He has also previously called climate change a hoax, which is very concerning.
- TRUMP IS AN AFFRONT TO OUR VALUES
Is he? Or is he really the explicit, uncensored, unfiltered embodiment of those values, which makes him so unpalatable?
Well a brief history lesson may be in order for those with amnesia. The US is a settler state founded on the extermination of the indigenous natives. It was then built on slavery and a legacy of race war including mass lynchings and Jim Crow segregation right up to the present day with the mass incarceration of and police brutality against black males.
The US is the only country to drop the nuclear bomb. Not North Korea or Russia or Iran. Watch JFK and LBJ defence secretary Robert McNamara in The Fog of War explaining how mass atrocities were unnecessarily committed through the firebombing of Japanese cities during WW2. This is why the gung-ho US general Curtis Le May pointed out that, if the allies had lost the war, they would have been prosecuted for war crimes. The US war in Korea was responsible for a million deaths and Vietnam for a further 2-3 million. And now 1.3 million killed in the war on terror.
So is Trump really an affront to our values or are we all just in denial? Perhaps what the establishment and even liberals really cannot stomach is that Trump unpeels the mask to reveal the grotesque and dark reality beneath.
Youssef El-Gingihy is the author of How to Dismantle the NHS in 10 Easy Steps published by Zero books – http://www.zero-books.net/books/how-dismantle-nhs-10-easy-steps
Twitter handle @ElGingihy