The United States of America celebrates today 246 years of independence. Although the celebration of the summer holiday marks the holiday season for many Americans, this year there will be significant reasons for that commemoration to be bittersweet.
"The arsenal of democracy", the essential nation on earth and "a unique experiment in human history", are expressions that have qualified the United States in the past, which among its social and political conflicts, presented the world with an example of a democratic Republic in which all people are legally equal, and can change their destiny for the better.
Demography is destiny. The United States, with a population of 332 million and 183 thousand inhabitants, estimated for 2021, has a racial composition as follows: 63% white, 17.4% Hispanic, 12% black, 4.6% Asian, and 1% Amerindian.
By the second half of the century, white Americans will no longer be the majority of the country's population and will become the largest minority.
This transcendental demographic process aroused in the last half-century the most intense passions, accompanied by political reactions that sought to facilitate racial separation. Despite the fact that court orders and federal legislation established school, urban, housing, and labor integration, the tendency to reject racial minorities and changes in traditional values were still alive and represented a source of votes for conservative candidates.
Despite the fact that these policies favored the Republican Party, the national leadership of that party did not necessarily openly embrace them, because to win elections, votes from some of the racial minorities were needed. It is necessary to understand that not all conservators are the same. Conservative whites in the suburbs of big cities are economic conservatives who prefer low taxes and few regulations; while the rural white population is also socially conservative, that is, they maintain a very strong religious identity, and prefer to isolate themselves from interaction with other races, and reaffirm their conviction in the traditional family.
The Trump political success
The consensus of election analysts on the 2016 presidential election was very clear: Republicans had the upper hand. Eight years into the administration of moderate Democrat Barack Obama, the party base that backed him was less enthusiastic about Obama's limited achievements in domestic politics.
Instead, the Republicans had been winning elections and had a unified message against the Democrats, which was the dismantling of Obama's health program, which for the first time covered almost the entire population of the United States.
Although the program was generally popular, suburban whites resented the taxes and regulations, while rural whites resented paying for Asians, Hispanics and blacks to have the same health benefits.
That regulatory rejection encouraged more openly racist speeches, and in a race that should have been routine, controversial real estate developer and television personality Donald Trump connected with Republican voters and won the party's primary.
Trump spoke to voters in strong and sometimes obscene terms that appealed to the masses. In the presidential tournament against Democrat Hillary Clinton, Trump rehearsed his controversial declarations of fraudulent voting by minorities, rigged electronic machines, and biased electoral boards that would be repeated arguments in 2020.
Although Clinton got 3 million votes more than Trump, due to the archaic American electoral system, the latter won the electoral college.
The Trump administration was truly revolutionary. In the sense that US public policies and institutions were changed or dismantled. To know what Trump was going to do, it was enough to know what Obama and the Democrats did. If Obama proposed health insurance, Trump was against it. If the Democrats lambasted Putin, Trump was his friend. If mainstream politics wanted to fight climate change, Trump was against it, and so on.
In international relations, Trump manifested the utmost unilateralism by rejecting the United Nations, despising the World Health Organization, and arousing strong economic protectionism against China and the European Union. In turn, one of his great electoral promises, that of appointing ultra-conservative judges to the Supreme Court of Justice, was fulfilled on three occasions, with the result that in the last days of June of this year the carrying of firearms at the national level, the jurisprudence on abortion was reversed, a restriction on religious practices within public schools was repealed, and 40 years of environmental jurisprudence were overturned.
The fall of a populist
The Trump administration was wildly popular in opinion polls during its first three years. His tenure benefited from the economic growth trend started by the Obama administration, and his actions on social policy were welcomed by the base of the Republican Party.
The mishandling of the covid-19 pandemic and the legitimization of extremist movements such as the Ku Klux Klan, and others like it, contributed to his electoral defeat. However, the post-election period showed him as a dangerous demagogue who was about to stage a coup on January 6, 2021.
While the government of his successor, Democrat Joe Biden, has to deal with the great divisions of the American population, fueled by Trump, along with other momentous issues such as inflation, the war in Ukraine, the immigration crisis, and the recent wave of violence in the United States, the conservative sectors maintain an effort to reconquer the White House in the year 2024.
The biggest hurdle for Donald Trump is ongoing court proceedings in New York for his business conduct prior to becoming president, and in Georgia for pressuring a Republican election official to falsify the results of the 2020 presidential election. Additionally, It is already evident that the Department of Justice is carrying out a very robust investigation, which has already indicted several close associates of Trump and has even raided the residences and offices of lawyers close to the former president.
While it would be a historic milestone for a former US president to be charged in a criminal case, this could be Trump's short-term fate. In the United States, there is no criminal electoral jurisdiction, so a criminal trial against Trump would remove him from the presidential race.
While the risk of criminal prosecution against him is significant, perhaps the greatest danger Trump faces comes from Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, 44, who has positioned himself as “Trumpism without Trump.”
Governor DeSantis stands out for his eloquence and for being an introvert. Complying with American electoral rituals, DeSantis has already begun visiting the first states in which presidential primaries will be held. In a hypothetical poll, DeSantis would beat Biden in the 2024 election, as well as beat Trump in the New Hampshire state primary. Although his imprint on American reality is gigantic, now the winds are blowing against Donald Trump.
Rodrigo Noriega, La Prensa.