Today, November 4th: Don Trump said this morning he won the election. He is right. I think his objective is to be disruptive and he has achieved that and more. The news media reports the result of the election is ‘too close to call.’ They are wrong. The American public are very clearly evenly divided.
We news and politics junkies who have been obsessed with Trump and the election have been distracted. Watching the congressional soap opera in the US has diverted our attention from what is structurally and fundamentally going on.
Let’s step back and look at what the election means, without our ideological hopes or fears, or short term speculations. I think we are seeing a struggle in America for maintaining entitled power while global forces are forcing American capitalism to change. In a way, the election yesterday was a referendum on globalization and who will benefit from it in America.
Look at who voted for the two main parties.
Republican: old capital (landed, manufacturing, resource based), classic unionized workers, rural and small town, small business people. Minorities and the middle class who believe in the American dream but feel it is not for them. Basically those who most directly have paid for but not gained from globalization.
Democrat: finance capital (new money, corporate, international), young workers (gig, IT, entertainment), urbanites, educated women. Minorities and the middle class who believe in the American dream and still think they can get a piece of it. Basically those who have seen some benefits of ‘free trade’ but aren’t sure how to stay in the game.
What I don’t know, is whether this election is part of a revolutionary shift, or merely another adjustment in the historic sharing of power among America’s elite? Wade Davis and others have written about the fundamental loss of American power and influence, cultural unity and the fear of addressing the energy and environmental crisis. All this could indicate a deep crisis of capitalism and western democracy a mere alignment will not save. It will be messy and many people will be hurt, but we could be seeing a tectonic shift, a transformational opportunity. What do you think?