The future of America is Trump. He might not win tomorrow, but him or someone like him will win in 2020 or 2024. That is unless the mainstream liberals and moderates wake up and see what Trump sees, and begin to address the underlying fissures that exist in American society.
Trump the man is a charlatan. He is a shyster of the worst kind, wilfully bankrupting his own businesses to walk away from liabilities and ruining many small businesses in the process, recking livelihoods along the way, all the while claiming "well, that's business".
He's a tax dodger, a draft dodger, a groper, a misogynist, a racist, an ignoramus and a chancer but, and it's a big but, he has tapped into a rich vein of discontent and like it or loath, he "gets" why millions of Americans are angry and disillusioned with the status quo. That could just be enough to get him into the White House.
Trump says things that the mainstream won't. He sometimes says things that they probably don't even think. He is the antithesis of political correctness. But that doesn't mean that all of his supports are racists, or bigots or half as unpleasant as him. To cast them all as such is too convenient, an easy out for the rest of us.
In fact to do so would be the biggest failing of all. It would invariably mean that the future of America would almost certainly be Trump. In fact the future of a lot of western states might well end up being Trump.
Trump has set himself up as the anti establishment candidate. Ironically, given that he is an architypal creation of it. A spoilt little rich boy who used daddy's money and connections to set himself up. All of that is irrelevant. He has tapped into a simmering discontent that has been bubbling below the surface for years.
The economic system that the USA and for that matter the UK is built on is failing. It is failing to deliver what society needs. It is because of this that Trump and the likes UKIP are enjoying such success. They shouldn't even be in with a sniff, but the mainstream, the metropolitan elite that dominate politics in the US and here in the UK took there eyes off the ball for too long.
Trump has pulled off exactly the same stroke that UKIP have perfected in England. He has by-passed the liberal agenda and gone straight to the disaffected, the dispossessed and the hopeless. Trumps core is based in the rustbelt. The post industrial wastelands that were once the proud industrial centres of the world biggest economy.
The rustbelt used to be the home of the aspiring blue collar worker. It was solid Democrat. Steady jobs, strong unions, the chance of a decent standard of living, and the hope that your children would better off than you were. Sound familiar? It's the same situation that exists in the post industrial north and the midlands in England. Remember how they used to be solidly Labour?
These are fertile grounds for populist politicians who are happy to talk of radical changes and returns to the good old days. "Make America great again" and "Take back control" are classic slogans that appeal directly to those left behind by globalisation. Yet the mainstream liberal and moderate parties have been painfully slow to catch on.
For decades they ignored or took these communities for granted. The Democrats under Clinton, like New Labour in the UK pushed increasingly metropolitan socially liberal agendas, focused on the "third way" and neoliberalism they simultaneously abandoned the traditional heartlands. Industries and communities withered allowing cultural fractures set in. From these seeds grew the populist trees.
Whilst the major cities boomed off the back of financialisation, the industrial hinterlands slowly suffocated. Before the financial crisis, they were just about getting away with it. Once unemployment really ballooned and wages stagnated, the floodgates were open. Exactly the same happened here in the UK.
Neoliberalism with its free trade, together with the metropolitan socially liberal agenda just doesn't cut it anymore. Not for large swathes of society. If you have nothing, and little hope of a better life then why approve the status quo?!
If you see your standard of living going down the drain, jobs disappearing and no prospect of any change, why wouldn't you vote for a candidate telling you that it'll be different, better, like the good old days!
Until the mainstream, the liberal elite, the moderate metropolitans or whatever you want to call them, wake up to the fact that neoliberalism isn't working as traditional industrial communities are dying, and that political correctness and a socially liberal agenda aren't priorities when you're worried about feeding your family, the future of America is Trump.
There are signs that the Democrats and even the Republicans are waking to this. Labour in the UK too, but they need to move more quickly. Redistribution, protection of industry, reinvigorating communities, acceptance of civic pride and a respect for traditional values are all part of it. Let's hope that it's not too late.Suggest a correction