Dear Partners in thought,
We live in odd times, especially in America (ok, in Britain for sure and maybe Italy too). America has the worst President on record in terms of style, values, principles and leadership – to keep the list short. In a world upside down, a TV reality star with great property development “marketing” acumen won the biggest job in the world, with impacts on us all, simply as he had known how to gamble for years (sometimes literally) and the stars were aligned in a few states, all with the help of an electoral system whose potential flaws, however their historical merits, had not been so clear before 2016. To make matters weirder he is also supported by a strong economy in spite of everything he has led, trade wars especially, that risk upsetting the apple cart (the red ones too) though perhaps after 2020. Again all that background, there is a majority of Americans not happy with Trump though they do not think alike on many matters in spite of their dislike or hatred of the President. America never ceases to amaze.
The Democrats have embarked on an impeachment process which is right as any President needs to be accountable when they cross some lines. However this process as we see it daily is a way for Trump to victimise himself and strengthen his core base even though he unleashes vile Twitter attacks on sober and respectable foreign policy professionals who testify in the House about the matter of his likely Ukraine-related abuse of power. One would imagine, like during Watergate, that some bipartisanship could be struck based on facts but the lines hold strongly. The outcome of the impeachment process, which had to be launched this time (even if the House Leader knew the obvious risks) is foretold in that Trump will be impeached by the House and likely rescued on the Senate floor as GOP senators are not yet ready to dump the President to save their seats and dignity for now.
Trump voters do not mind about facts, they do mind about outcome and their inner beliefs, combined with a drive to fight the other side and finding a culprit for their unease or anger, be it the Deep State, globalisation, the two-coastal Liberals or even for some the minorities. Trump could indeed shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose many votes as he said in the last campaign – all of that while having no real historical “proximity”, social or otherwise, to his core base, having actually been more at home in the elite segments of society since he was born. Women supporters, even among evangelicals, who would shoot their husbands if they adopted Trump’s behaviours, think that the President’s attitude towards women is a personal matter – the next Supreme Court Judge being more key to them. We live in a world of unconditional love for Trump among its core base, something that is actually a “fact” today. There is a bit of a Faustian pact among Trump’s supporters, red cap or not (without the horns).
It is interesting to notice that, even with a very “favourable” environment, the Democrats have failed so far to find the right candidate with the strong attributes to win in 2020 even if polls give them winners for now. Two are radical left wingers and risk alienating the strong moderate base with policies that may be seen as running against the American way (Warren, Sanders), one may be too old for some in “many ways” (Biden) and one may be too young and unusual (Mayor Pete). The Dems have not found their saviour, being constrained by their own candidate selection process and perhaps a lack of new talent. The state of play has led many good individuals to enter the fray to offer a “more suitable choice” and to maximise victory. The recent arrival (to be confirmed but his moves in many states and ad campaign make him a candidate) is Michael Bloomberg, another New Yorker, though one well loved for his achievements and work for the city. Yet we find someone who is also factually old, inexperienced in campaigning and with a background that may be welcome on Wall Street but less digestible in other parts. His decision to skip the early primaries may also not be smart even if his legendary mastery of the numbers tell him so (Who wins New Hampshire wins the primary. OK, but only if you take part maybe). The late arrival of Bloomberg and Patrick says it all about where the Dems are – some saying a repeat of the 1988 race leading to the esteemed Mike Dukakis winning the nomination – even if in the end Biden should prevail in spite of all his shortcomings, also as he would definitely beat Trump, fulfilling what matters most in 2020, and go for one mandate (making the VP selection absolutely key).
America never ceases to amaze but it is a also “the” country of hopes, even if in a current state of flux, so let’s not despair.