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Sadly, I was right

11 November 2016

Back in June, I predicted that Trump might end up winning because, among other factors, of the damage done to Clinton’s campaign by Bernie Sanders. I was right, even though I will admit that Sanders’s quixotic quest for the nomination was not the only factor. Hillary was clearly a flawed candidate, and the Democratic party should have done a better job of choosing its nominee. And most importantly, once again we see, as with Brexit, a collective failure of the commentariat and the pollsters to predict the outcome. As I write this, I listen to a Danish politician admitting that “we (meaning the established political class) communicate on a completely different frequency” that simply does not reach the people who voted for Trump. A lot of people–the Democratic and Republican establishments, the leading commentators, the pollsters and analysts–all of them have a very rotten egg on their faces.

But this slight sense of Schadenfreude cannot hide the deep depression I feel as I write this. The election of Trump is an even greater disaster than Brexit. It will affect the most powerful country in the world deeply and steer it in the wrong direction, even if Trump only delivers on a fraction of his election promises. He may only be President for four years, but even then the damage will be lasting. The damage to international relations; the misery at home; the reactionary Supreme Court justices he will appoint–those will endure.

The irony is of course that the people who elected Trump will be among those who will suffer the most from policies like the upcoming abolition of the Affordable Care Act. That they voted for him is an expression of the same nihilism that led to Brexit: a feeling among wide segments of the population that the established political system has let them down, that they have been left behind by globalisation, and that they have nothing to lose by “shaking things up.” This is related to my previous post. Unless the issues identified there are addressed, there will be many more Trump-like results in 2017. I wonder how President Le Pen will get along with President Trump…

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