The Trump phenomenon says pretty much everything about America today. He quintessentially represents the American Dream in the early 21st century – fame, a lot of debt, infinitely narcissistic, and as big a numskull as he wants to be. Most amazing about Trump is not the man, but the reaction of the American establishment upon his ascension to the pinnacle of American political power. America’s elite saw in Trump an unappealing, too true reflection of themselves. America’s political class, completely self-absorbed and lacking all self-awareness, were not simply befuddled, but frightened of Trump’s ascendancy.
Until Trump, America’s bipartisan political class ignored the preceding decades destruction rained across large swathes of the American landscape by deindustrialization. In the popular victim politics of America’s cultural revolution there were far older transgressions to be reckoned with and righted. Deindustrialization’s victims were just complaining losers. In the infamous words of one of America’s preeminent bottom of the barrel scraping politicians, they were a “basket of deplorables.”
Trump however saw opportunity. By acknowledging to this great mass of non-university educated unwashed, “You’ve been fucked,” he won. Trump pointed to decades of deindustrialization and then pointed at the Chinese. Just like that, decades of uncontested economic inevitability was overturned with revived old fears of a “Yellow Peril.”
Blaming the Chinese was always scapegoating. They did not come across the ocean and dismantle American manufacturing, on the contrary, this was done voluntarily by America’s banks and leviathan corporations scouring the globe for labor arbitrage. Laying in wait was a powerful if muted force of opposition, the American National Security State, they sought to take full advantage of the opportunity offered.
Categories: Science and Technology