The Republican came as the restorer of a lost greatness. But his administration dynamited the image of the US The half that voted for him is his greatest legacy.
Whoever thinks we are attending Trump’s political funeral is wrong. Rather, as Latinos would like, the hour of his response has come. This word, like the Moon, has two faces: in one it means answer, reply. In the other, it represents the legal consultation with which the Romans went to court. At the present time, it does not seem a simple linguistic chance what this etymology offers.
The answer alludes to the fact that, although Donald Trump lost the election, half a country that follows him anxiously awaits what his next move will be and if, in truth, he will carry out his threat to report an alleged fraud to the Court. Whatever the case, that simple fact reveals that its four-year cycle has upset two centuries of American political history like no other.
Trump came to power as a restorer. “America great again” is the war song of a project that, in the 2016 campaign, flew to the beat of the flags of the supremacist Confederacy at the Republican rallies. In history, restorations have generally been the expression of economic and social contradictions whose resolution called for the return of a supposedly glorious mythical past. The truth is that, when these projects are exhausted, the contrasts of the present resurface with force, consolidating the picture of the status quo.
Contrary to popular belief, Trump is not an accident in history. Its appearance must be linked to the anti-system and sovereign phenomenon that devastated Europe after the financial crash of 2008 that Wall Street spread over the planet, leaving a lacerating trail of social exclusion.
The Republican was the most successful exponent of those leaders who had mounted a nationalist ideology, which invited us to return to the happy past by destroying globalism and detonating the multilateral institutions that had sustained it since the end of the Second World War. The ram of that leadership was the lie as an instrument of political construction.
Already at the inauguration ceremony, on January 20, 2017, Trump gave a sample of that sloppy ideal. The rain had soaked the notes of the journalists who followed the event.
At the evening gala, Trump said: “The crowd has been incredible today. There was not even rain. We went in and only then did it fall ”. It was the official debut of the doctrine of “alternative facts”, the lying story adapted to the needs of power. Until August 27, The Washington Post –Which tells the lies and misrepresentations of the president- reported 22,247 false or unverifiable episodes.
That initial incident was the harbinger of a political cycle which included the denigration of the adversary, rudeness to the White House staff (32 high-ranking officials left in his term, according to The New York Times), a massive claim for cases of racial injustice in the face of the indifference of the president, thousands of despised immigrants ( “Rapists”, he disqualified the Mexicans) and a polarization not seen since the Civil War.
“Seduce or hit,” said Henry Kissinger of Trump, with surgeon precision. Even today it is surprising the degree of erosion in manners and practices that he has impressed on the White House with the gestures of the big man in the neighborhood, sober and fearful at times, which brings him closer to the sewers of magical realism like no other politician in his country.
But it is in the world where the trace of his footprint is also clearly visible. As soon as he took office, by withdrawing his country from the climate agreement, he demonstrated to his allies that they could no longer count on the United States.Then, he deactivated the doctrine of the Asian pivot with which Obama had brought economic and military power to the Chinese area to contain to Beijing. But everything turned out to be a failure because China, despite the trade war, continues to grow and increases its technological dominance. Then, Trump abandoned the nuclear deal with Iran, to European fright, and tilted his country’s favoritism towards Israel like never before. During his term, the Republican also buried the thaw with Cuba, denigrated the UN and disparaged the European Union, encouraging Brexit like no one else.
Yet even though half his country has said they don’t want more of the same soup, Trump still has 70 million votes from those who prefer his recipe. And that is the point of his legacy that deserves primary attention.
The Republican boasts of a “tremendous” growth in his mandate, only wounded by the Covid together with a terrible management of the pandemic. It is true that the economy increased in the first part of his term and declined in the last (2.9% in 2018 against 2.1% in 2019).
But independent analysts have shown that it relied on Obama’s stimulus after the 2008 crisis and on a massive tax cut that fattened the deficit, forcing program cuts that end up consolidating inequalities.
Anyway, his figure stands as a model for half his country, but also for millions of citizens who follow him from abroadOr, like a mass of irreducible Trumpists. In the current stage of chaos in the world, his figure, with its strong chiaroscuro, filled voids left by a traditional leadership that had plunged millions of voters into helplessness.
That Trump continues to influence after these four years reveals the need for a strong shift. A few days ago, in a column in Financial Times, Martin Wolf expressed it forcefully: “Democracy will fail if it does not think like its citizens. Without a stable middle class, the state risks succumbing to plutocracy ”. Trump’s tenure, even outside the White House, speaks volumes about the responsibility of the ruling class that made his emergence possible.