On January 20th the United States enters a period of uncertainty with the new President elect Donald Trump. His erratic behavior in the past has caused genuine concern for some and given hope to others.
The country is split in its assessment of president Trump. Most are just waiting to “see” what he will do. So far his cabinet picks point to a very conservative, pro capitalistic, pro business approach, with little concern for the environment, the poor, and former geo political relations. For instance, a possible rapprochement with Russia, a potential trade war with China and Mexico, and a confrontation with the United Nations. As for Israel, the US will continue to be its staunchest ally, but this time risking relations with the Arab world with the pick of an ambassador who wants to move the embassy to Jerusalem among other controversial policies.
This amidst polls (should we ever believe in them again) that Americans are more confident about the economy than they have been in more than a decade. A new Gallup poll says half of Americans are more confident in Trump since the election. That is 51% more confident.
Can President Trump win over most Americans? It depends on what he does. There appears to be a difference between what he says and what he does at times, so it is hard to say.
What is certain is that we seem to be living a different type of democracy. One shaken by globalization and technology. Most people around the world feel insecure.
Before, we could trust that more democracy would bring greater abundance, jobs, and economic growth, but that is changing.
Political scientist Colin Crouch wrote Post Democracy in 2000. His view is that an elite is taking over our democratic institutions and moving towards aristocratic regimes. Here are some of the points he makes.
- Globalization makes it difficult for nations to set their own economic policy and multinational corporations have more leverage to avoid federal regulations than ever before.
- Privatization of public services is hard to control in a democracy because private entities have no allegiance to human communities, unlike government. Private firms have the incentive to create profit rather than concern for the welfare of the public.
- Government and business are now too entangled, and so the needs of the people are forgotten.
The fact is, many Americans felt unrepresented by the political elite or the actual political class and an economic system that created greater levels of inequality. Is President Trump the answer to this conundrum? What is certain is that we just don’t know. Half of Americans seem to believe so, the other half is just waiting.