Harsh Words but True: The Rise of Populism in the US

Donald Trump’s easy victory in the Iowa Republican presidential caucuses is richly ironic in that a political loudmouth facing 91 criminal charges should meet with little opposition from within his own party. This doesn’t just reflect the waywardness of American-style democracy; it also exposes the dearth of talent in the United States’ political arena. While the 77-year-old Trump admittedly has no rivals within the Republican Party, the 81-year-old Joe Biden appears to be unchallenged in the Democratic Party, too, so it is alarming to see two old-timers controlling American destiny and influencing world affairs. Isn’t it sad that this is what American democracy has come to?

The support Trump has gained today would be understandable if it could be said he governed well during his presidency, with political achievements to be proud of — but the facts beg to differ: His presidential term was characterized by recklessness and uninterrupted lying, causing an unholy mess both at home and abroad. He even instigated a riot at the Capitol on his departure from office. That he enjoys such high levels of support today only goes to show how utterly weird that country is. There is no such thing in the world as love or hatred without cause or reason, and the reason for Trump’s broad support among his party as much as American society’s increasing populism and emotionality is how mediocre his political rival Biden has proven to be. If the election really pits these two old men against each other, then the writing is on the wall about the outcome; the sleepyhead will be no match for the loudmouth.

Of course, a day is a long time in politics. After all, Trump is facing 91 criminal charges, and if he is convicted even of only some of them, it is highly doubtful he will be able to continue his bid for office. Trump has consistently portrayed himself as a victim, claiming that all the charges filed against him are a matter of political persecution, and some even think that the more indictments that are filed, the more helpful they will be to him. In reality, we all know what kind of person Trump is, and his political integrity has long been questionable — it is impossible that so many criminal charges are “political persecution.” The recently disclosed details of the Jeffrey Epstein case lifted the lid on the ugly behavior of many politicians, businessmen and celebrities, Trump included. Even the British royal family is involved, which goes to show how utterly sordid Western high society is. Does anyone believe Trump is innocent?

It’s not for nothing that Trump’s niece wrote a book exposing her uncle’s character flaws, which include bullying, racism, sexism, xenophobia, among others. The worst part is that this loudmouth with a catalogue of personality issues is likely to become the most powerful person in the world — again — so how can the world know peace?

According to a recent report by an American political risk consultancy, the U.S. will pose the greatest political risk to the world this year irrespective of who wins the presidential election. And they have a point: Elections in the U.S., the source of world turmoil, are unlikely to be peaceful in the first place, let alone be a debate between two bad apples. American society will become more divided and world affairs will become more chaotic regardless of who wins the election. Trump has been threatening to “Make America Great Again.” Will he, or won’t he? Time will tell; we might as well wait and see.

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About Matthew McKay 107 Articles
Matthew is a British citizen who grew up and is based in Switzerland. He received his honors degree in Chinese Studies from the University of Oxford and, after 15 years in the private sector, went on to earn an MA in Chinese Languages, Literature and Civilization from the University of Geneva. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists and an associate of both the UK's Institute of Translation and Interpreting and the Swiss Association of Translation, Terminology and Interpreting. Apart from Switzerland, he has lived in the UK, Taiwan and Germany, and his translation specialties include arts & culture, international cooperation, and neurodivergence.

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