The president needs to learn that the United States is a government of laws and not people.
In a time of strong leaders and right-wing populism, we run the risk of confusing countries with their leaders. Countries stay and leaders change. The recent legislative elections in the first world power highlight our error. The United States is something more – much more – than Donald Trump, just as Brazil is much more than Jair Bolsonaro and Russia is more than Vladimir Putin.
On Nov. 6, the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, winning the legislative counterweight to the control of the presidency, and ending two years of Trump’s monopoly. Republicans, however, consolidated their control of the Senate, illuminating a divided government and an America split in two. The constitutional counterpower returns to the legislature and brings with it the possibility of limiting the outlandishness of a bizarre president. Trump, however excessive his right-wing populism may be, cannot lead the world’s largest democracy to autocracy.
The result proves that the 2016 election of the construction magnate was no accident. Trump retains a solid electoral base, covering predominantly the entire center of the country: a breadbasket of votes fed by his racist defense of the increasingly dwindling white majority, with “America First” as a heritage of a singular identity. His support is further strengthened by an excessive anti-immigration policy.
The Democrats get better results with a number of identities and a return to the multicolored patchwork quilt, which better represents the numerous identities of today’s America. Presidential historian Joseph J. Ellis describes this when talking about the United States’ biggest issue, stating that the U.S. is trying to do what no country has ever done before: create a truly multiracial society in a huge nation of 325 million people. The Democratic Party has become strong in the metropolises of urban America and in its suburbs, which doesn’t mean people just like them, but neighborhoods that welcome middle and upper-class professionals.
Without a huge rejection of Trump, which hasn’t happened, it’s difficult to imagine that the polarizer-in-chief will change his tone or policies. But he needs to learn that the United States is a government of laws and not people. And that the U.S. and its Constitution are so much more than Trump. Yesterday, he attended the centenary of the armistice of World War I in France, and along with European leaders, he received his first lesson in history: that nationalism is war.