The Guardian published an article about the recent (mis)adventures of Donald Trump by John Daniel Davidson (February 5, 2017), supposedly offering an alternative approach, but only ending up in the same populist/Bonapartist narrative as Trump himself.
What is terribly wrong with this article is that it puts us in an either/or situation. Trump is not only a self-absorbed, narcissistic, racist bigot (maybe not exactly a fascist, but the difference is undetectable right now), but also a clever politico who can exploit the need for change in a considerable percentage of the US population. The fact that the American people was forced into an impossible and sad referendum between Trump and Hillary, was the problem itself. It seemed that in this impossible choice Trump stood for “change” and the “people” and Hillary for the status quo and the elite, but this is no more than an illusion. Nobody stood for real change and for the people: they both stood for the status quo and the elite, but only for different status quos and different elites. Both of them won by a small margin (one the popular vote, the other the Presidency) and Trump became President. If Hillary had won, we would have been a bit more comfortable (or rather, blissful in our own ignorance), because hers is the more familiar status quo (hence less “uncanny”) and the more “professional” elite.
But at this point in history, neither had the means or willingness to resolve the formidably complex issues facing US capitalism. Sanders did have the willingness (but probably not the means), so he was discarded by the Democratic establishment. By doing this, the Democratic Party conceded a possible Trump win, but they probably hoped that Trump couldn’t survive four years of untruth, bullying and ignorance, or, failing that, were sure that even if he did, he could only pave the way for a huge conservative-Democratic victory in 2020. Exactly like the situation in Turkey for the last 15 years. If the Democratic Party had studied the events in Turkey a bit better, however, they could have seen the possibility that Trump might be a keeper, and disrupt and dismantle the status quo in the US without even realising that he was doing so, and do this over and over again, always finding a way to keep popular support even if by the skin of his teeth.
By the way, this is not something we should be unconditionally cheering about (“Hooray, the US system is going down the drain!”) Not because we like the existing status quo, but we, too, are completely unprepared for what is to come next. Again, look at Turkey: there is no rational, defendible oppositon to what is happening, because the existing opposition (both from the left and the right) had already conceded to the status quo, offering no alternatives but the narrative of an abstract “change”, which the AKP and President Erdoğan had already hijacked. Even the far left who seemed to be exteremely critical of the status quo (both “old” and “new”), didn’t have a hope that it could be changed or a clue about how it could (and should) change. Now that it is being forcibly changed (for the worse) by the recent Constitutional Amendment, establishing a “Presidential System” without checks and balances or a functional parliament, everybody is trying to shake off the paralysis and only now trying to think of ways of offering an alternative other than a simple “No!”
Let us hope that the Americans are wiser (and luckier) than us.