Is America going through a political crisis?
This question is frequently posed by political analysts in the United States and Europe when examining the presidential race, in which Donald Trump has reached the forefront by becoming the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party. This has happened despite the unanimous agreement about his lack of political experience and the threat that his nomination will tear the party apart.
Additionally, it is likely that his victory could get at the heart of the traditional rules of the two-party system in the United States, especially when it comes to the Republican Party.
We are now seeing the signs of the times: the surrender of the Republican Party, Trump's victories in the state primaries, and the fear that Hillary Clinton will leave the race for the Democratic nomination. So now it has become likely that Trump will become the official nominee for the Republican Party once the primaries are held in California, the largest state in America.*
The surrender of the Republican Party means that the party has begun to lose control over the candidates who get elected, especially when it comes to the presidential nomination. The tradition of just having two candidates from the Democratic and Republican parties compete against each other is ending. The two parties are no different in political ideology, an ideology that is essentially an expression of the basic principles of American political theory. But this doesn't apply to Trump.
In the past, the election results in America, whether for the presidency or for Congress, could usually be predicted, and the two parties would continue for successive generations, falling within the framework of like-minded principles.
It's true that there appears to be differences regarding foreign policy when compared to the rule of a president's predecessor or rival, but these differences were always within the framework of the two basic schools of foreign policy.
These two schools are the school of idealism and the school of reality. The first holds to a doctrine of imposing absolute American supremacy on the world, and if necessary, by force. The second believes in relative supremacy, by partnering with others in the world on the basis of reciprocity, mutual interests, persuasion, and the influence of soft power.
The second school of thought harkens back to one of the elements of American power in foreign policy: the presence of what is known as "consensus" among Americans. But what's happening in Trump's campaign, as well as with the reaction of the elite and the American public, may reveal deep divisions at least by showing the presence of a movement enthusiastically supporting Trump, and another movement refusing him with the same level of enthusiasm. This, of course, is in addition to the divisions that have cropped up within the Republican Party itself, which have been expressed by the party leadership as well as by most of Trump's rivals and by prominent writers, who think that Trump is an abnormal phenomenon, or is at least outside the fray of historically stable American politics, representing a crossroads for the nature of the U.S. political system.
But these reasons have caused concern for many of the elite leaders in American politics, who fear that it reveals a fatal flaw in the political system that has been the status quo for hundreds of years in the United States, characterized by a special nature and features that set it apart. If this fatal flaw turns out to be true, then many of the basic foundations of the political system could change, chiefly involving the foreign and domestic political administration. It seems that the final results in the presidential election, and whether it will end in favor of Trump or Hillary Clinton, will carry with it concrete answers to these questions.
* Editor's Note: California has the largest population of all the U.S. states, but is not in fact the largest state.