Hillary Clinton saw him as the candidate for “deplorables.” Tragic mistake. What if the liberal elite has turned our world into a post-democratic system without real popular participation?
The new age of darkness that Jonathan Freedland predicted in The Guardian begins today. We expected America to reach a new frontier, to elect a woman, perhaps not very well liked, but ultra-competent and well-educated, in a final jolt of reason. But it is an obscene leader with an orange hairpiece and offensive tone who will become the president of the world’s leading democracy.
Everything about America—its ill democracy, its blocked institutions, its cast-out middle class—has been written about. So why is this so staggering? Because Trump is in fact the incarnation of this illness, of this crisis in global political representation, of this divorce between the elite and the people, the electoral manifestations of which we have seen spread, Brexit being the most recent case to date.
The Outcasts of the Peripheral World
Once the grieving stage is over, the elites, including the press, will have to examine their conscience. They will have to look at what we didn’t want to see from the height of our contempt for these voters belonging to the “basket of deplorables,” as Hillary Clinton described them, or the outcasts of the peripheral world, to use the terminology of Christophe Guilluy. Those in France provide the bulk of the voting base for the National Front since the Left lost them. We must stop confusing them with people who withhold their voice for lack of a political proposition.
And what if the election of Trump led us to rethink our idea of populism? Could it be that he is a useful correction to a liberal democracy taken hostage by its ultra-liberal, non-democratic elements? Have the liberal elite, whether in Brussels or in Washington, moved our world into a post-democratic system without any real popular participation?
The fact remains that populists are generally anti-pluralists, or as Habermas reminds us, that the people only manifests in plural. Trump may be the symptom of a democratic deficit, but he is not democratic. The fortuitous man that the social outcasts of the American Dream have chosen can only cruelly disappoint them. We must recognize that the paradox is supreme: a billionaire speculator who took advantage of the system by rescuing the underprivileged!
Trump, Capitalism’s Blow-Up Doll, Says Michel Onfray…
Finally, the big question is, how are we going to live under President Trump? Is “Trumpism” soluble in a democracy? Will the challenge of power polish his speaking? Unfortunately, from Victor Orban to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, along with Vladimir Putin, there are enough examples of populists in power nowadays to let us see that their actions are generally aligned with their initial programmatic demands.
The World According to Trump
We cannot deny reality by entertaining the vain hope that Trump’s election will transform him. The thought that he will moderate himself in the exercise of supreme responsibility, that he will fail because his plan is inept or that his voters will turn away from him because, by definition, protesters in power can no longer protest and are falling in line is a fantasy…
Donald Trump, because he has the majority of Congress at his disposal, will probably continue to divide American society, to rob the people of their voice and to bring his internal and external enemies to trial. The world according to Trump is only just beginning to threaten our values.