It’s a well-known story: Last year, Donald Trump became the 45th president of the United States after crushing Hillary Clinton. The tycoon’s victory had seemed unthinkable to most people. The Democrat had been everyone’s predicted winner, but something went wrong. Something went wrong, but what? Put simply, there was one underestimated factor. That factor was the people of the United States of America, those United States that today seem more divided than anything else— almost on the brink of a civil war.
The rise of Trump, the Republican Party’s outsider, allowed for the growth of the "alternative-right"* movement, labeled as “irredeemable” by Clinton. The point — and that’s exactly what the analysts did not understand — is that those “irredeemable” people represent a large segment of Americans.
The people of the United States are tired of more than 15 years of war, which began in the wake of the attack on the twin towers. Paradoxically Clinton, on the left, had become a promoter of warmongering. Meanwhile, Trump, driven by movements on the right, had become the spokesman for more of a soft line, at least in the electoral campaign. An example: When the American president gave orders to attack Syria with 59 Tomahawk missiles, the "alt-right" movement condemned this action, which, in fact, contradicted the tycoon’s entire electoral campaign.
Under Obama, the issue of racism exploded. The most horrible clashes between the police and the African-American community occurred during the final years of the presidency of the first president of color in American history. On more than one occasion, a state of emergency was declared. As Il Giornale reported a year ago: “With the election of Barack Obama, 2008 should have been the start of the post-racial era, the realization of the dream of Martin Luther King [Jr]. For the 13 percent of the population that is descended from slaves, it meant having a guarantor of racial justice in the White House. Instead, the racial issue in the United States reached levels of civil war under President Obama — jumping back almost 50 years.”
According to Peniel Joseph, director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at the University of Texas,** “America is more divided than eight years ago. Blacks are poorer and the only ones not to have benefitted from the post-recession recovery, with an unemployment rate triple that of whites.”***
But not only that. In recent years, more and more immigrants have come to America dreaming of a new El Dorado. Their dream, however, has been shattered. They often end up on the street, swelling the size of the population of the poor class (which now represents a third of the national population of the ailing state).
Today, America is living through one of the darkest periods in its history. It doesn’t know where to go. It has lost its universal calling. But new movements are arising, which is what we want to convey with Edoardo Cigolini’s report on the American "alt-right." Maybe they will give a new face to the United States, for better or worse. Today, that’s an unknown. It will either become stronger or split up, though only time will tell.
*Editor's Note: The Associated Press defines "alternative-right" or "alt-right" as "an offshoot of conservatism mixing racism, white nationalism, anti-Semitism and populism, or, more simply, a white nationalist movement."
**Editor's Note: Peniel Joseph is the founding director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at Tufts University, not the University of Texas.
***Editor's Note: While correctly translated, this quote could not be verified.