The storm around Donald Trump will not blow over. The U.S. researcher Frida Stranne now sees a risk that the situation is overly dramatized. It has always been part of the game that every administration tries to undermine opponents. At the same time, the U.S. Constitution is very robust through its distribution of power, she says.
Donald Trump drew new catastrophic headlines after The Washington Post published more details about Jeff Sessions' possible discussions with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. about election-related matters during last year’s presidential campaign.
There is also speculation that Trump wants to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, whose job it is to investigate possible illegal Russian contacts rumored to have taken place during the presidential campaign, specifically to get information to blacken the reputation of opponent Hillary Clinton.
To make matters worse, Trump once again ended up on the firing line over the weekend by reshuffling his press office. As a consequence, his former faithful partner-in-crime, Sean Spicer, known for fighting with prominent journalists about "fake news,” finally had enough and resigned.
Frida Stranne, a former guest scientist in Washington and currently a U.S. researcher at the Institute for North American Studies at Uppsala University and Halmstad University, warns that the media drama around Trump may be misleading. She agrees that there are several Trump-related issues that need to be taken seriously. Not the least of which is his contempt for the media and the legal investigation of his firing of the FBI director, despite the fact the director’s role did not change between administrations.
However, when you say that the Trump campaign tried to find damaging information on Hillary Clinton, you should also mention that other candidates’ campaign teams also collect facts with the aim to smear. Otherwise, it looks like Trump is a complete anomaly, when it is closer to the truth that he is rather unsophisticated and seemingly doesn’t care what information is made public.
Political scientist and rhetoric expert Peter Adler, on the other hand, describes Trump as a “test for American society and U.S. state institutions without comparison in the country’s modern history.” In a side comment to Svenska Dagbladet earlier in the week, he reminded us that several internationally famous political commentators including Masha Gessen, Anne Applebaum, Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman all see Trump as a "threat to the Western world order.”
Frida Stranne believes that despite Trump’s behavior, including mocking the media and challenging fundamental legal pillars of society, the American democratic state is strong enough through its separation of powers to withstand a great deal.
It is only in the long term, if Trump supporters help him win yet another presidential election and perceive that their candidate has been persecuted and has been treated unfairly in the investigations – investigations that from their world view are unjustified – only in such a situation could the U.S. face an authoritarian change.
The theory is that Trump the businessman doesn’t like to follow orders, but instead would rather do as he pleases. However, in the short term, the American system is robust, with its powers divided up equally to ensure that one of the centers of power doesn’t fall under the command of another.