The Republicans, the Democrats and the Trump Effect
Friday 4th March: In the wake of this week’s US primaries, Professor Harold James explains why Trumpery could change the Grand Old Party and the entire US System.
Super Tuesday, March 1, was Terrible Tuesday for the Republican Party. The increasing certainty of Donald Trump’s nomination as the party’s presidential candidate is likely to end the American party system, a system that developed in the early nineteenth century and is over two hundred years old. That in turn means that the US political system as a whole will be terrifyingly lop-sided and vulnerable; and the new political discussion will have repercussions all over the world.
Trump has shown that he can build a convincing coalition across the geographically and socially disparate United States. It would be wrong to interpret the appeal as just a triumph of glitzy showmanship, virtual reality stardom, and media celebrity. His support is based on a solid logic of rejection of the whole process of globalization. He challenges the openness of the US to both migration and trade flows. His support is the result of the belief that middle America has suffered from the loss of jobs, the erosion of pay, while an elite had profited. Trumpism combines economic isolationism with a return to political isolationism, the belief that foreign engagement has been costly, counter-productive, and that like globalization it only benefits a corrupt global elite of which the American elite is for him a constitutive and non-patriotic element. ‘Why are we always at the forefront of everything?’ Trump asks.
Trumpism is a quite different phenomenon to the traditional core of Republican concerns, on all three axes of foreign policy, social policy and economic philosophy. There is no social conservatism, and all the old and deeply divisive debates about abortion are side-stepped. There is not much economic conservatism either, no direct criticism of the Obama healthcare plans but rather a promise to extend healthcare coverage. All the Trump messages are probably more capable of capturing a majority of American votes than old-style Republicanism.
The Trump platform also looks like some successful European political movements – Fidesz in Hungary or Law and Justice in Poland – with a combination of government handouts, anti-bank populism, and radical nationalism that is not afraid to flirt with old political emotions, anti-Semitism in Europe, racism in the US. Like these new European movements, nationalism is used as a way of pushing a redistributive leftism.
The Mexican Dream?
Unsteady Progress South of the Border
Friday 26th February: As the momentum grows globally for liberalising trade and investment, Mexico is poised for a better future, provided the rule of law prevails.
Short term pain, long term gain
How to Save Sovereignty!
Friday 5th February: The Prime Minister has now received the EU's offer of a 'deal' on this country's future relations with the EU, and is prepared to negotiate on that basis. However, so far no answer has been given to the biggest question of all, 'Who Governs Britain?'
Bring on the Consultation!
Friday 29th January: This week the Court of Appeal ruled the ‘bedroom tax’ discriminatory, reigniting the debate on 'courts v government'. That question also goes to the heart of plans for a British Bill of Rights to replace the Human Rights Act. But as Jocky McLean explains, its time to make a move.
This week Chris Chope MP urged the government to publish its proposals for the British Bill of Rights. He recalled that the mandate to repeal the Human Rights Act in May’s general election is now eight months old.
Not only was the British Bill of Rights promised to great fanfare at the Conservative Party’s annual conference in 2014, following the public discussion which followed the Coalition’s Commission on such a measure. But it was pledged in the 2015 manifesto. Nonetheless all are still waiting. Two able ministers are at the helm. Michael Gove the Secretary of State and Dominic Raab, an experienced human rights lawyer. Anticipated as part of the first 100 days blitz, the government held back, scheduling consultation first for Autumn 2015, then for Christmas and then it seemed for the new year. Yet February is now upon us. Unless things start moving the Westminster timetable may prove too tight to get the bill through this Parliament.