In the United States these last few weeks, the race for the nominations has reached peak media hype and looks to be in crisis. From the dynastic candidate to the Democratic dissenter, by way of the Republican defenders of the American dream and the extremist troublemaker of a billionaire, all are rebelling against the Obama era.
Despite the absence of any European issues in the American primary race, the election of Barack Obama’s successor is increasingly looking like a vote that concerns us. This proves that beneath the highly publicized clash of personalities, the candidates’ intense campaigning will not be able to obscure the underlying debate that has captured the nation.
In the Democratic camp, Hillary Clinton is struggling to escape the dynastic phenomenon that she embodies while remaining among the ranks of the right-minded elite: Bill, Hillary and soon, Chelsea — if she isn’t already. It is tempting to see a tendency like that of the Kennedys. This is surely not something the average voter appreciates the most. There is already a second aspect of continuity in Hillary’s candidacy — that of the Obama era, from which she must also differentiate herself by proposing a new revival. However, on this front, she is suffering an offensive “from the left” that her rival, Bernie Sanders, has carried to a sufficiently high level, such that the former secretary of state has been obliged to give him a small position in her final program.
The Anti-establishment Sanders against the Indecent Trump
Even if Sanders loses, he will leave his mark, which can be summarized by one of his own sentences, “The reality is that for the last 40 years the great middle class of this country has been in decline and faith in our political system is now extremely low.” The primary campaign has allowed him to expose another fact, which seems to increasingly resonate in the United States, “The rich get much richer. Almost everyone else gets poorer”: a theme that joins European anti-establishment movements.
This reality is what — in an almost homothetic manner — has in large part made the billionaire Donald Trump’s candidacy successful. Not only has he exploited his financial success with rare indecency, by offering its own example as a model — which frankly is hardly to be recommended — but he also proposes to make it an outright political line. This places him directly in opposition to the classic meritocracy of the American dream illustrated by his two main Republican adversaries, Marco Rubio, whose parents were Catholic Cubans who immigrated to the United States in 1956, and Ted Cruz, whose Cuban father is a Protestant pastor. Neither of these two candidates for the Republican nomination shows the least inclination to be “Social Democrats,” so they must be fought differently.
Republicans in Full Identity Crisis
It could be said that Trump’s flagship proposal, the construction of a Mexico-financed (if you believe his promises, although Mexico has said it will not pay) wall between Mexico and the United States, has not ceased to cause a stir.
This subject, along with many others, has caused a serious identity crisis at the heart of the Republican Party. On the other hand, through the illusion of collective pride, his simplistic slogan “Make America great again” is supposed to respond to the frustrations of voters panicked by their country’s loss of influence in the world — which is reminiscent of certain populist leaders in Europe.
For both parties, the 2016 presidential election appears to be a deep-seated reaction to a post-Obama era society. Democrats admit impoverishment; Republicans propose enrichment. The model is clearly in crisis, a bit like in Europe.
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L'Express, France's first weekly news magazine, was modelled on the American magazine Time. Its first editor was Francoise Giroud, who had earlier edited Elle and went on to become France's first Minister of Women's Affairs in 1974 and Minister of Culture in 1976. The magazine has a right-of-centre orientation.