Trumpism, beyond election

November 6, 2020 - 21:40

TEHRAN – With the Trump campaign teetering on the edge of an election loss, analysts ponder over the possibility that Trumpism would outlast the presidency of a man who is unlikely to leave the public debate even after leaving office.

An expert on the United States tells the Tehran Times that President Donald Trump’s years in office were so deeply divisive that they equally divided American society into two opposing sides. The expert, Mehdi Khanalizadeh, said the popular votes of Trump, which were more than his votes in 2016, were a clear sign that the U.S., after four years of Trump presidency, has become more divided than ever.

Khanalizadeh pointed to the recent reports that were published by American publications such as the New York Times and Christian Science Monitor, saying that Trumpism – or the way Trump ran the U.S. over the past four years – would likely last far beyond Trump’s presidency.

In an opinion piece on November 4, the New York Times said that regardless of who will win the November 3 presidential election, “Trump will remain a powerful and disruptive force.”

“If President Trump loses his bid for re-election, as looked increasingly likely on Wednesday, it would be the first defeat of an incumbent president in 28 years. But one thing seemed certain: Win or lose, he will not go quietly away,” wrote the New York Times, as battleground states continued to count votes.

According to the American publication, Trump almost surely will remain a powerful and disruptive force in American life.

“He received at least 68 million votes, or five million more than he did in 2016, and commanded about 48 percent of the popular vote, meaning he retained the support of nearly half of the public despite four years of scandal, setbacks, impeachment and the brutal coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 233,000 Americans,” said the New York Times, adding, “That gives him a power base to play a role that other defeated one-term presidents like Jimmy Carter and George Bush have not played. Mr. Trump has long toyed with starting his own television network to compete with Fox News, and in private lately he has broached the idea of running again in 2024, although he would be 78 by then. Even if his own days as a candidate are over, his 88-million-strong Twitter following gives him a bullhorn to be an influential voice on the right, potentially making him a kingmaker among rising Republicans.”

The Christian Science Monitor also ran a similar story, saying “Trumpism is here to stay” even if he loses the November election.

“Win or lose, President Trump has established a political legacy that has captured the Republican Party. Why both he and ‘Trumpism’ will remain fixtures for years to come,” said the Christian Science Monitor. “President Donald Trump may lose reelection, but if the nail-biter contest of 2020 has shown anything, it’s that ‘Trumpism’ is here to stay.”

The Christian Science Monitor defined Trumpism as part of Reagan Republicanism – lower taxes, less government regulation, cultural conservatism – plus a pivot toward a hard line on immigration and an “America First” approach to foreign policy.

According to the American newspaper, Trump has greatly influenced the Republican Party and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The newspaper also said, “The president’s continuing popularity within the Republican base means that he still holds the party in his thrall, regardless of how GOP leaders feel.”

Trump is still fighting legally to remain in office for four more years. It remains to be seen whether he would succeed in clinching victory. But regardless of who will win the election, Trumpism will continue to influence GOP and in general American politics. Trump has reportedly been planning to launch a television channel to compete with Fox News. In addition, as the election results showed Trump trailing Joe Biden in many battleground states, some news media outlets broke the news that Trump is considering the idea to run for president in 2024, a move that no one-term American presidents have ever taken in American history. Aside from his plans for the 2024 election, analysts believe that Trump will continue to play a crucial role in American politics even if he is forced to vacate the White House. It is possible that no Republicans will be able to run for office without Trump’s endorsement in the coming years. The next midterms will be a stark test for Trump in terms of the continuation of his popularity among the Republican voters.

But Trump’s popularity has been seen as deeply divisive factor inside the U.S. Khanalizadeh described Trump as the president of the “Divided States”, referring to a phrase used by the Time magazine in 2016, when the magazine chose Trump as Person of the Year.

Khanlaizaded said Trump has deeply divided American society over the past four years while adding more people to his supporters, who are more infatuated with his ideas than his personality.

“Trump’s ideas, not his personality, has certainly taken hold among 50% of American people. Half of the American people do want to expel the immigrants and separate children from their immigrant parents. On the other hand, half of American people oppose the ideas of Trump,” Khanalizadeh told the Tehran Times.

He was referring to a Trump controversial immigration policy that led to the separation of children from their immigrant parents at the borders during Trump’s immigration crackdown at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The expert also pointed to a recent Foreign Affairs article written by Francis Fukuyama. According to Khanalizadeh, in the article, Fukuyama has said that liberal democracy has been brought to its knees.

“This article is important because 30 years ago, Fukuyama expounded the End of History theory but now he is saying that liberal democracy has been brought to its knees,” the expert said.

PA/PA

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