Within the broad context of generalised anti-government ideas and entrenched populist sentiments outlined in Chapter 2 , other ideas and frames were brought to the forefront by the Trump campaign during the course of 2015 and 2016.
At first sight, these ideas do not appear to take a structured or coherent form. Indeed, National Review , the flagship US conservative magazine, was brutally dismissive at the beginning of election year:
Trump is a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus
This book explores how a candidate who broke with almost every single norm
governing candidate behaviour, appeared to eschew the professionalised forms of
campaigning, and who had been more or less disowned by Republican elites, prove
victorious? The focus is on Trump and his campaign; the account does not go
beyond the November election and its immediate aftermath. The book argues that
the Trump campaign, like earlier populist insurgencies, can be explained in part
by considering some defining features of US political culture and, in
particular, attitudes towards government. It explains the right-wing populism
that has been a recurrent and ingrained feature of the political process over a
long period. The book discusses structural characteristics of the American state
that appear to be of particular significance in shaping attitudes, as well as
some other ideas and frames brought to the forefront by the Trump campaign
during the course of 2015 and 2016. It also considers the shifts and swings
amongst voters and suggests that these, alongside ideas about the state and the
'entrepreneurial' efforts of the campaign, form part of the
explanation for Trump's eventual victory. The book assesses Trump's
ascendancy as a function of, and reaction to, the strategies and discourses
pursued in the years preceding 2016 by Republican Party elites.
'Trumpism' and European forms of populism are still in some ways
weakly embedded but they may intensify the battles and processes of group
competition between different constituencies.
” (Quiggin, 2012 ).
The election of Donald Trump ushered in a second round of obituaries for neoliberalism, based on his campaign rhetoric vilifying some of the elements of globalization, such as immigration and free trade, which were longstanding elements of neoliberal policy. Writing in The Guardian , Cornell West declared that the “neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang” (West, 2016 ). In Jacobin , Nicole Aschoff predicted that the election was the end of neoliberalism's heyday (Aschoff, 2017 ) (see also Peters
It is the end of an era … that of neoliberalism … It remains to be seen what will succeed it … After Brexit and this election, everything is now possible. A world is collapsing before our eyes. (Gérard Araud, French Ambassador to the US, November 8 th 2016 (quoted in Borger, 2016 ))
When Donald Trump stepped onto the stage to claim victory at the New York Hilton Midtown he seemed unusually subdued. This was perhaps fitting. Just a few hours earlier, Trump had been said to have no mathematical possibility of securing victory. Nonetheless, although he
The preceding chapters have considered some of the reasons why the Trump insurgency proved victorious. Nonetheless, it is important to go further and explain why events unfolded as they did in 2015–2016. After all, the evidence suggests that just a few years earlier, when the Tea Party movement was at its peak, Trump was hardly regarded as a credible political figure. In their study of the movement, Theda Skocpol and Vanessa Williamson record: ‘When Donald Trump was blustering about Obama's birth certificate, he got a chuckle and an “Atta boy” from some Tea
You could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic – you name it … He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people – now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric. Now some of those folks – they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America. (Hillary Clinton, September 9 th 2016, quoted in Blow, 2016b )
These words were thrown back at Hillary Clinton. But who – alongside the
The book has already surveyed some of the different explanatory frameworks that can be employed to account for Trump's eventual victory. It has considered the populist tradition and the ways in which it was at least in part shaped by the structures of the state, the ideational character of the Trump campaign, the impact of economic malaise and globalising processes upon the white working class, and the deeply felt opposition amongst many Republican voters and ‘leaners’ to Hillary Clinton who was seen as a divisive ‘machine’ candidate.
This chapter looks at
Donald Trump, neoliberalism and political reconfiguration
There are further questions that should now be asked. What are the likely consequences of Trump's victory? What are the implications of the 2016 presidential election and its outcome for political and economic processes? Answers to these questions require context. Studies of the period from the time of the 2008 financial crisis onwards have taken the concept of neoliberalism as their starting point. Although there are definitional problems and the term is less widely used in the US than in Europe, it captures the changes wrought from the late 1970s onwards
“I alone can fix it.”
Donald J. Trump, accepting Republican nomination for President of the United States 1
The second major 2016 shock for transatlantic relations came in the United States with the Republican nomination and then electoral victory of Donald Trump – someone who had selfidentified as both a Democrat and Republican over the years and donated money to candidates of both parties. Trump raised concerns throughout the campaign as someone who played on the fears of Americans concerning both terrorism and their own financial well
the region (of which China disapproved), and helped tighten the security relationship between the Republic of South Korea (ROK) and Japan. Frustrations in Washington over North Korea intensified towards the end of Obama’s second administration as bipartisan support for a more assertive or aggressive policy grew. Obama therefore set the stage for a more aggressive American stance for his successor to the White House, yet no one anticipated the intensity of the rhetoric which President Donald Trump would employ as he threatened ‘fire and fury’ and total annihilation