by Ramin Mazaheri and crossposted with PressTV
For Americans who believe that their system is actually capable of reform it would be nice if Trumpism was merely a cult of personality, but the 2020 non-presidential election results prove it truly is more than that. I think non-Americans grasp this even if Americans do not, as they are so effectively propagandised by an intensely corrupt Washington elite and their media sycophants.
That last declaration was my attempt to sum up the true motivation of roughly 50% of the American population: Trump was elected by addressing not White supremacists who feel they have lost out in a new world they are (it is derisively implied) too stupid to compete in, but by addressing those who feel scammed and disgusted by the decisions of the political and cultural elite over the past 30 years.
There’s a huge, huge national problem when such a feeling motivates half a nation inside the polling booth, no?
And the biggest problem is something PressTV tried to address in our coverage of the election from the start: the refusal of the world’s oldest and strongest duopoly to allow third party, alternative voices to be heard, much less have some political or cultural power.
The duopoly will never enact the one change which would immediately improve American political culture for the better – ending their hugely divisive “winner take all/first past the post” system. Far more than their Electoral College, this explains the intense division and animosity over here.
The “only one or the other has a real chance” duopoly means roughly 50% of Americans will soon feel that their vote was worthless… which it will be. But moving to a coalition-type system would instantly mean a reduction in the power and privileges of the duopoly, which is why they so shamelessly enact obstacles for third parties that it renders the US election system not free nor fair.
“Democracy with American characteristics” in the 21st century means a never-ending duopoly, where citizens go to boarded up polling places on streets emptied of civilians but full of security forces, as if they are going to war and not just to vote like a normal person.
Because Trump posed a threat to the duopoly, they and their 1% allies absolutely freaked out in 2016 and spent four years throwing everything they had at him to boot him out by any means necessary. The cost was absolutely enormous on a cultural level.
Trump used and joined the duopoly – Trumpism inherently resists it
Part 1 described the basic ideology of Trumpism, but to recap: not mere White supremacism but anti-globalism, pro-national sovereignty, anti-censorship and anti-foreign wars, but also being hysterically anti-government and anti-social safety net.
But more time was spent relain how the MSM’s so-called “Blue Wave” was a huge failure – it’s like American conservatives fended off the Tet Offensive. Trump the man seems on course to lose, yet Trumpism helped the new so-called “Trumpian Republicans” sweep to dominance.
Call it the Flatworm Phenomenon: Democrats may succeed in chopping off the head but the body will undoubtedly live, election results prove.
Mother nature is a mad scientist, but realise that we are examining a phenomenon which exists in the world’s most effective duopoly: What has been verified this week is that the Republican Swamp has so very effectively absorbed the blow of Trumpism, which should have been enough to create a new third party.
This will allow the Republican elite and establishment to eventually dilute and soften “Trumpism”, rather than giving America a truly new start and somewhat revolutionary clean break. This is how extremely effective the duopoly is when confronted with any grassroots movement. The only winners in the American duopoly are the richest 1%, of course, not ever a grassroots anything.
The Republican side of the duopoly did this with the post-Great Recession Tea Party, and they have long co-opted Libertarian ideas while still keeping that party perpetually under the key 5% vote mark, but neither ever had the widespread appeal of Donald Trump.
On the other side, this absorption allows the other side of the duopoly to not be shaken by the end of the duopoly. A Trump presidential loss will mean the Clintonista faction (the far right) of the Democratic Party – which has ruled since 1992, the end of the Soviet Union – has cover to not make any changes either. They lost everything else, but they beat Trump – they can crow about this endlessly, as the duopoly controls the media here.
So the greatest domestic significance of a loss by Trump the man is the victory of the duopoly. Personally, I find a “victory for the duopoly” nothing to celebrate.
I think Trumpers may not voice these views specifically with great regularity, these analyses would be accepted by them? However, even pro-Trump forces are nominally pro-duopoly in their essential conservatism. Trumpism is not revolutionary – I am not asserting that, but I am asserting it is fundamentally anti-duopoly (without really knowing it, because “duopoly” is so rarely spoken aloud here) because Trumpism is so anti-Washington Swamp corruption.
Of course, Trump himself is not Lenin – Trump has not the intellectual capacity nor the ideological rigour to form a new party. Trump the man has no ideology except “I am the best”, but that doesn’t mean his followers are all pure narcissists as well. This is another reason a Trumpist third party did not emerge to stop the duopoly’s destruction of their charismatic, essentially apolitical leader.
Trump changed his party affiliation five times – if anything he fits in another duopoly-suppressed category of American voter: the independent. We must remember that the Republican half of the duopoly resisted Trump until as late as possible: it was not until May of 2016, when he was voted in via the grassroots Republican primaries, that the Republican establishment finally accepted him. But that’s the party elite – 2020’s widespread victories of “Trumpian Republicans” proves that Trumpism won despite an unprecedented four-year mobilisation of the massive forces of 1% and the Democratic Party.
Trump might have been able to take on the duopoly, but not in 1 term
Trump might have been able to take on the duopoly in 2016, but the most common thing I’ve heard from pro-Trumpers is that, “They didn’t let him drain the swamp”. And that’s true: from the immediate Department of Justice’s veritable entrapment (they dropped the original charges) of his original National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, to a “Mueller Report” which did not even indict (much less convict) a single American on charges of election conspiracy or collusion, to a three-year Russophobia campaign, to a totally partisan impeachment campaign – Trump spent four years obstructed and hobbled by nonsense.
Of course, Trump was obstructed by his own nonsense: his desire to be loved by all, and that included a duopoly which hates him, and his lack of any real political ideology beyond narcissism. That is why Trump was always a mere figurehead. If Trump finagles a second term the widespread hope in America and beyond is that he would finally ignore the duopoly’s efforts and really do something which breaks from 30 years of Washington’s anti-99% corruption.
But back in 2016 despite his undeniably immense appeal the US duopoly was so strong that Trump simply could not have been elected without joining one of them – he used the duopoly, and has rather significantly transformed both sides. The Republican elite hated him, and then merely tolerated him, but Trump had astoundingly high approval ratings among Republican Party members, and they have responded: Trumpism has changed the Republican Party at the grassroots. The short-term vision of future America must include this new reality, but also combine it with the Democrat’s near-total 2020 failure, which makes them now hobbled to achieve much-needed and much-wanted improvements in the social safety net, health care, the environment etc. and etc. and etc. The Democrats will shift to the right, yet again.
As I wrote: the duopoly’s rabid anti-Trumpism has cost this country’s 99% a great deal, sadly.
I am not writing in favor of Trumpism nor in condemnation of it – I am trying to do something rare: give objective journalism about America in November 2020. Trumpism was, like the Yellow Vests, slandered and distorted because it reflected the political ideas of so-called “White Trash”, but class analysis insists that they are not trash, and good reporting of the election results prove that a racial analyst is woefully inadequate (as usual).
You can dislike it all you want, but Trumpism is obviously a genuine, authentic movement, and 2020 confirms it was even a successful one.
But we should expect that the duopoly swamp has done what it always does: swallow up, dilute and suck out any of the ideas which could create actual reforms to the nation’s aristocratic, privilege-protecting, 18th century-based, hysterically evangelical, capitalist-imperialist duopoly.
It’s hard for me to say, “Yay Trumpism!” but it’s also hard to say, “Yay, the duopoly survived Trump!”
The latter is what the global corporate media is insisting we do, certainly, but many Trumpers are going to be inflamed that the duopoly combined its forces to defeat their candidate at only one level – the chief executive.
This feeling will only increase as long as people continue to arrogantly demonise Trumpism and refuse to look at this political movement with logic, dispassion and a feeling of patriotism or human warmth. The only thing I will absolutely promise is that the cultural division wreaked to suppress Trumpism will continue to have have hugely debilitating and polarising domestic affects for the rest of this decade.
If Trump loses the American duopoly stands – shakier than in recent memory, yes, but it stands. I think many Trumpers understood that and that helps explain their vote, but rabid anti-Trumpers are too propagandised to allow Trump to continue his insolent and inherent questioning of the integrity of the US system.
Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.