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Wednesday 09 November 2016

Moaning in America

Posted in: Comment
By Craig Young - 27th October 2016

Although Donald Trump looks like losing the imminent US federal elections, his insurgent movement of "Trumpists" may still present a long term problem when it comes to the stability of US politics.

What is "Trumpism?" It is a populist philosophy that combines nativist racism, misogyny, anti-Muslim religious sectarianism, Cold War anti-Chinese rhetoric and anti-Mexican anti-immigrant racism, economic protectionism and foreign policy isolationism. Its opponents include mainstream Republicans, some conservative evangelical Christians, and the Democrat Party, as well as the centre-left. It has been compared to the anti-European "Brexit" phenomenon in the United Kingdom, albeit hamstrung by its rabid anti-intellectualism and its self-sabotaging narrow-spectrum appeal to a particular sliver of political opinion. Unfortunately, while Donald Trump has served as the catalyst for such a retrograde philosophy, much as Nigel Farage and the United Kingdom Independence Party have done in the United Kingdom, his political survival or otherwise is not essential to the survival of this particular political philosophy.

Yes, Trumpism can survive without Trump. This political current may prove a headache for Hillary Clinton if she tries to move forward on issues like the Trans Pacific Trade Partnership and free trade, or commit further US troops to the Middle East to resolve the Syrian crisis, especially if it becomes organised around a particular political figure. Whether it will be good for the Republican Party either is a moot point. As with the British Conservative Party and its modernist/troglodyte schism in the nineties and noughties, the Trumpist insurgency may prove the trigger for severe internal antagonisms within the organisation and congressional party, particularly if the anti-Trump backlash is severe enough after November 9. If that happens and costs Republicans the Senate and the House of Representatives, then the hand of anti-Trump 'establishment' Republicans will be strengthened against their internal adversaries.

And what about LGBT individuals? As I've noted in past Politics and Religion columns, the chief problem that more principled religious social conservatives have with Trump is his espousal of open racism, hampering their own efforts to build a conservative multicultural religious voting bloc. Having already lost African-Americans over their anti-Obama rhetoric, they now face the alienation of the growing Hispanic voter bloc due to the Trumpist animus against Mexican immigration and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Nor is China sufficiently communist any more to warrant their condemnation. While Trump's running mate Mike Pence has been insisting that Trump will junkObergefelter v Hodges,which allowed marriage equality across the United States in 2015, as well as Trump's own third presidential debate acknowledgement that he would appoint antiabortion and antigay US Supreme Court judges in 2016, Trump himself has otherwise largely ignored questions of religious social conservative interest. If Trump loses, Hillary Clinton will have the chance to re-engineer the US Supreme Court along liberal parameters and finally pass the Equality Act, proposed federal US LGBT-inclusive anti-discrimination laws- if she has a large enough bicameral Congressional majority. Much depends on the scale of Trump's projected loss and the contagion effect that his candidacy will bring to bear on marginal Congressional seats in the House of Representatives and/or the Senate. If it's severe enough, Clinton may avoid the mid-term dip in voter satisfaction with her early policy agenda and have the opportunity to do so. Certainly, one imagines that will be exercising the minds of Democrat strategists over the next two years until her midterms have passed.


Prashanth Parameswaran: "Can Trumpism survive Trump?"The Diplomat:20.10.2016: 10/can-trumpism-survive- without-trump/

Gary Legum: "Desperate Denial: Paul Ryan, oblivious to the meaning of Trumpism, fiddles while the GOP burns"Salon: 17.10.2016: com/2016/10/17/desperate- denial-paul-ryan-oblivious-to- meaning-of-donald-trump-and- trumpism-fiddles-while-the- gop-burns/

Graham Vyse: "Donald Trump will need an awful lot of missing white voters to save him now"New Republic:19.10.2016:https:// 137922/donald-trump-will-need- awful-lot-missing-white- voters-save-now

Kerry Elevald: "Will the GOP even exist after 2016?"Daily Kos: 18.10.2016:http://www. 1583683/-Will-the-GOP-even- exist-after-2016

Kerry Costa: "Trump-driven divide will continue to consume GOP long after the election"Washington Post:20.10.2016:https://www. trump-driven-divide-will- consume-gop-long-after- election/2016/10/20/1698188c- 9610-11e6-bc79-af1cd3d2984b_ story.html

Noah Rothman: "Repudiating and Rehabilitating Trump"Commentary: 17.10.2016:https://www. politics-ideas/trump-lost-man- message/

Rich Lowry: "Trump is becoming the wedge that is splitting the Republican Party apart" National Review: 11.10.2016:http://www. 440939/donald-trump- republican-party-trump-train- running-down-gop?target=topic& tid=

Craig Young - 27th October 2016

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