Glob­al­iza­tion takes it on the chin

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE -

The an­gri­est and most pes­simistic peo­ple in Amer­ica aren’t the hip­ster pro­test­ers who flit­ted in and out of Oc­cupy Wall Street. They aren’t the res­o­nance of Black Lives Mat­ter. They aren’t the rem­nants of the Amer­i­can la­bor move­ment or the savvy young dream­ers who con­front politi­cians with their Amer­i­can ac­cents and unAmer­i­can le­gal sta­tus.

The an­gri­est and most pes­simistic peo­ple in Amer­ica are the peo­ple we used to call mid­dle Amer­i­cans. Mid­dle class and mid­dle-aged, not rich and not poor peo­ple, who are irked when asked to press 1 for English, and who won­der how white male be­came an ac­cu­sa­tion rather than a de­scrip­tion.

You can mea­sure their pes­simism in polls that ask about their ex­pec­ta­tions for their lives and for those of their chil­dren. On both counts, whites with­out a col­lege de­gree ex­press the bleak­est view. You can see the ef­fects of their de­spair in the new sta­tis­tics de­scrib­ing hor­ri­fy­ing rates of sui­cide and sub­stance abuse fa­tal­ity among this same group, in mid­dle age.

White mid­dle Amer­i­cans ex­press heavy mis­trust of ev­ery in­sti­tu­tion in Amer­i­can so­ci­ety not only gov­ern­ment, but cor­po­ra­tions, unions, even the po­lit­i­cal party they typ­i­cally vote for, the Repub­li­can Party of Mitt Rom­ney, Paul Ryan, and Mitch McCon­nell, which they de­spise as a sad crew of weak­lings and sell­outs.

They are pissed off. And when Don­ald Trump came along, they were the peo­ple who told the poll­sters, “That’s my guy.” Well we all asked for some­thing dif­fer­ent and now we have it.

Let’s make Amer­ica great again.

— Pres­i­den­t­elect Don­ald Trump’s elec­tion is a ma­jor blow to glob­al­iza­tion, and will prob­a­bly lead to a pe­riod of U.S. na­tion­al­ist pop­ulism.

Judg­ing from what he has said pub­licly in re­cent months, Trump wants to take a step back from some of Amer­ica’s ma­jor trade, cli­mate, and po­lit­i­cal com­mit­ments with the rest of the world. He prob­a­bly won’t be able to do it all, even if he con­trols both houses of Congress, but he will owe it to his base to move in that di­rec­tion.

“Amer­i­can­ism, not glob­al­ism, will be our credo,” Trump said in his July 21 ac­cep­tance speech as party nom­i­nee at the Repub­li­can Na­tional Con­ven­tion. He said then that “the most im­por­tant dif­fer­ence” be­tween his plan and that of his op­po­nent, Demo­cratic can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton, was that “our plan will put Amer­ica first.”

On im­mi­gra­tion, Trump is un­likely to make a se­ri­ous ef­fort to de­port the es­ti­mated 11 mil­lion un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants liv­ing in the United States. It’s too costly and would raise too many le­gal is­sues.

Rather, Trump is likely to in­crease de­por­ta­tions, which al­ready reached record num­bers un­der Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, and pub­li­cize them more than his pre­de­ces­sor. Trump may also ter­mi­nate or scale down Obama’s ex­ec­u­tive ac­tion to give tem­po­rary visas to about 800,000 un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants who came to the coun­try as in­fants.

On his pro­posal to build a wall along the en­tire U.S.Mex­i­can bor­der, Trump will prob­a­bly ex­pand the ex­ist­ing wall, and talk a lot about that. But he won’t get Congress to give him any­where near the $12 bil­lion to $25 bil­lion that would be needed to com­plete it.

He will prob­a­bly ask for the funds, and then blame Congress for the next four years for not au­tho­riz­ing them. Be­sides, Trump will need to avoid a na­tion­al­ist back­lash in Mex­ico, which could re­sult in Mex­ico elect­ing left­ist can­di­date An­dres Manuel Lopez Obrador in the 2018 elec­tions.

On trade, Trump has threat­ened to with­draw from or rene­go­ti­ate the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment with Mex­ico and Canada. But it will be hard for him to rene­go­ti­ate NAFTA, be­cause Mex­ico and Canada will op­pose it, and his own Repub­li­can Party law­mak­ers are not likely to ap­prove a uni­lat­eral U.S. withdrawal.

His pro­posed 35 per­cent tariff on Mex­i­can im­ports would mean that the price of a Mex­ico-as­sem­bled Ford Fu­sion car bought in the United States would go up from $24,000 to $32,000 dol­lars. I doubt Trump will want that to see that hap­pen to U.S. con­sumers. More likely, he will im­pose some im­port fees to ap­pease his anti-trade sup­port­ers.

On the other hand, Trump’s vic­tory will most likely kill Pres­i­dent Obama’s Trans Pa­cific Part­ner­ship free trade deal be­tween the United States and 11 Asian and Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries, as well as Obama’s pro­posed Transat­lantic Trade and In­vest­ment Part­ner­ship with the Euro­pean Union.

On cli­mate change, Trump has said he does not be­lieve in hu­man-caused cli­mate change, and has promised to can­cel the 2015 Paris Agree­ment signed by Obama with nearly 200 coun­tries to cut car­bon diox­ide emis­sions. While Trump can­not with­draw from that deal in the short term, he will prob­a­bly drag his feet in im­ple­ment­ing it, pos­si­bly driv­ing China and In­dia to do the same.

Where I see the big­gest im­pact of Trump’s na­tion­al­ist pop­ulism will be in the ar­eas of na­tion-build­ing, hu­man rights and democ­racy.

Trump has sug­gested that he will try to im­prove U.S. ties with au­to­crats such as Rus­sia’s Vladimir Putin, de­spite Putin’s hor­ri­ble hu­man rights record. “I don’t think we have a right to lec­ture” other coun­tries, Trump told The New York Times on June 20.

My opin­ion: Trump’s na­tion­al­ist pop­ulism, along­side Bri­tain’s re­cent de­ci­sion to leave the Euro­pean Union, seems to be lead­ing us to a less glob­al­ized, more frag­mented world. We are likely to see a lesser U.S. ef­fort to strike diplo­matic al­liances with like-minded demo­cratic coun­tries, and a U.S. re­trench­ment from its role as a global cham­pion of democ­racy and hu­man rights.

Yes, we should give Trump a chance to suc­ceed be­fore crit­i­ciz­ing him. But some of us will re­main ner­vous about the pos­si­bil­ity that his “Amer­ica first” credo will lead to iso­la­tion­ism and to a dan­ger­ous era of short-sighted uni­lat­er­al­ism.

— In the end, the evening’s un­fold­ing Ican’t-be­lieve-what-I’m-see­ing sur­prise mag­ni­fied Don­ald Trump’s elec­tion vic­tory. But it shouldn’t have. The anger in Amer­ica’s trou­bled heart­land at the po­lit­i­cal estab­lish­ment has been brew­ing for years, be­gin­ning with the tea party in 2009. It boiled over in the 2010 midterms, when vot­ers took the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s Demo­cratic Party.

It boiled over again in 2014, when vot­ers en­larged that Repub­li­can ma­jor­ity and gave the Sen­ate to the GOP to stall Obama’s far-reach­ing ini­tia­tives.

And in 2016 it emerged again in both par­ties. Bernie San­ders’ pri­mary crowds, votes and vic­to­ries re­flected in­tense dis­sat­is­fac­tion with Democrats’ anointed nom­i­nee, Hil­lary Clin­ton.

Don­ald Trump will be the na­tion’s 19th Repub­li­can pres­i­dent. But he is only the sixth man elected to the U.S. pres­i­dency as his first pub­lic of­fice, all of them Repub­li­cans or Whigs. Trump de­feated 16 other ex­pe­ri­enced, re­spected Repub­li­can men and a woman.

Trump boasted he was not a politi­cian, though in hind­sight the po­lit­i­cal rookie was bet­ter than all the vet­eran pols. In­deed, be­ing seen as the anti-politi­cian was ar­guably Trump’s strong suit in this hate-Wash­ing­ton era.

Not hard to dis­cern the out­sider be­tween the bil­lion­aire and the for­mer state first lady, na­tional first lady, se­na­tor, sec­re­tary of state and two-time pres­i­den­tial wannabe.

Trump be­came the de­fault change agent, vow­ing to drain the Wash­ing­ton swamp, which is ac­tu­ally what part of the na­tion’s cap­i­tal was in 1790 when Mary­land do­nated the sod­den land to the new coun­try.

Clin­ton was the sta­tus quo, only more so, with her close ties to Wall Street and po­lit­i­cal and fi­nan­cial cronies, as un­cloaked in daily Wik­iLeaks emails.

Amer­i­can vot­ers have re­fused to give Democrats three con­sec­u­tive White House terms since World War II.

In 1976 ex-Demo­crat, then-Repub­li­can Ron­ald Rea­gan vowed to cre­ate a new po­lit­i­cal coali­tion by con­vinc­ing mil­lions of blue-col­lar Democrats they re­ally were con­ser­va­tives. It worked for two Rea­gan terms plus one for his vice pres­i­dent, Ge­orge H.W. Bush.

Trump’s vic­tory is sim­i­lar. His pub­lic com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills were honed through the mass medium of TV, like Rea­gan, then fun­neled through so­cial me­dia and mass ral­lies. At age 70, Trump will su­per­sede Rea­gan as the old­est in­com­ing pres­i­dent.

De­spite de­ri­sion among po­lit­i­cal cognoscenti, the New Yorker fol­lowed his gut in­stincts to go after the for­saken Rust Belt with his Wash­ing­ton-is-bro­ken, the sys­tem-is­rigged, restore-Amer­i­can-great­ness mes­sage.

“The for­got­ten men and women of this coun­try,” Trump re­peated, “will be for­got­ten no longer.” He won Ohio, In­di­ana and Penn­syl­va­nia, which the GOP had lost since 1988. Trump likely won Michi­gan which — don’t for­get — San­ders shoplifted from Clin­ton last spring.

And Trump won Wis­con­sin, which Repub­li­cans haven’t cap­tured since — wait for it — the 1984 Rea­gan land­slide. Clin­ton’s in­ex­pli­ca­ble de­ci­sion not to cam­paign there at all will form part of Democrats’ painful po­lit­i­cal au­topsy these next few years.

“Peo­ple,” said Brian Bal­lard, a Trump state fi­nance chair, “en­tirely un­der­es­ti­mated the hunger for change and a true out­sider.” Fur­ther proof of a main Trump point — that both par­ties and the me­dia in the na­tion’s cap­i­tal have be­come woe­fully out of touch with Amer­i­cans in flyover coun­try.

Trump driv­ing the staid GOP into pop­ulism may or may not out­last his larger-than-life per­son­al­ity. How­ever, House Speaker Paul Ryan of­fered praise for the new party leader. “Don­ald Trump heard a voice out in this coun­try that no one else heard,” he said.

The win cer­tainly cre­ates a com­pelling 2017 po­lit­i­cal dy­namic to see whether the im­per­a­tive for con­ser­va­tive Supreme Court jus­tices, Oba­macare re­peal or re­place­ment, and other agenda items makes co­op­er­a­tive bed­fel­lows of starkly dif­fer­ing Repub­li­can fac­tions and the new com­man­der in chief.

In the end, it turns out, this elec­tion was in­deed rigged, rigged for change not by Eastern elites but by nearly 59 mil­lion scat­tered, un­happy vot­ers. That’s fewer than Clin­ton got, fewer even than Mitt Rom­ney got in 2012.

As has hap­pened 44 pre­vi­ous times in the past 240 years, vot­ers’ col­lec­tive wis­dom pro­duced an­other im­per­fect but vi­able so­lu­tion to run the na­tion through the next leap year.

Vot­ers craved White House change more than they wanted the sta­tus quo of a third Obama term with Clin­ton. They wanted change so much they were will­ing to dis­re­gard out­ra­geous Trump re­marks and be­hav­iors.

In Congress, how­ever, more than sweep­ing change, vot­ers clearly wanted a sta­tus quo, though a nar­row one, warn­ing lead­ers there to pro­duce change, for a change.

Well played, Found­ing Fathers, well played.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.