The 58th quadrennial U.S. presidential elections were held on November 8, 2016. Republican Donald Trump won the White House. Following the elections, «Rethinking Russia» think-tank has collected a set of comments by Russian and foreign experts.
2016 Race Reveals the Systemic Crisis in American Society
Professor of Political Science and Foreign Affairs, Middle Tennessee State University, USA
The 2016 electoral campaign outcome came like a complete bolt out of the blue for the American establishment, for the ruling elites, as well as academics, journalists, and other groups safeguarding the elites’ interests. Ironically, the showy campaign and the scandalous behavior of US billionaire and TV star Donald Trump, now 45th President-elect, overshadowed the fact that a candidate per se exposed a deep systemic crisis in American society. Both the general public and professionals had overlooked the phenomenon. This crisis is caused by the exhausted potential of the US political and socio-economic system, which took shape in the 1960s and is virtually 50 years old. That is why the problems that the campaign laid bare will not merely fade away after the elections.
One manifestation of the crisis was the deep divisions of the electorate along the racial and to a lesser extent gender fault lines (including sexual orientation), which are by far more important than socio-economic factors. As preliminary results of exit polls show, 58% of white voters cast their ballots for Trump, whereas Clinton secured 37% of the white vote, with the white share of the electorate constituting 69%.
Conversely, 74% of racial and ethnic minorities, which make up 31% of the US population, supported the Democratic contender versus 21% for the Republican candidate. At the same time, 63% of white men and 53% of white women opted for Trump, while Clinton was supported by 31% and 43% respectively. Interestingly, the division along gender fault lines turned out to be by far smaller than experts had predicted. Actually, the gap between female sympathaziers of Clinton and those of Trump was supposed to hit 20 percentage points.
Curiously, despite his aggressive rhetoric, Trump won 8% of the black vote and 29% of the Hispanic vote, thus outperforming his 2012 Republican predecessor Mitt Romney. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton was supported by 88% of African Americans and 65% of Latinos.
Such political polarization may result in the defeated candidate’s regarding the other’s victory as the threat to the fundamental interests.
Trump’s rise marks death & demise of American Liberalism
The 2016 race to the White House threw a spotlight on the American Liberal who has evolved into an insular and narrow-minded political species, more focused on supporting radical and controversial cultural experiments than serving as humanitarian watchdogs against government abuse of power.
Since most of the discussion and debate at the moment is focused on Donald Trump and his stunning upset over Hillary Clinton – which only seems “stunning” because the US media had long conditioned us to believe that a Clinton presidency was a done deal – I would like to talk about what for me is the most under-reported phenomenon of the 2016 US presidential election, which in fact has been a long time coming.
Perhaps the headline accompanying this article is slightly misleading. American Liberalism (and by extension, the Democratic Party) has not really passed away, per se, rather it has transmogrified into something completely strange, alien and, I believe, absolutely hideous. Many of the Liberals who make up the bulk of the Democratic Party constituency have abused the constitutional privilege of freedom at the expense of US liberty. Now we risk losing both.
Liberalism, which largely shapes the political ideology and outlook of the Democratic Party (much like ‘conservativism’ is the ideological cornerstone of the Republican Party) was originally predicated on the idea of protecting liberty and promoting equality. Over time, however, and especially in the last eight years of the Obama administration, Liberals have become totally obsessed with cultural over strictly political affairs. They are mainly concerned with maximizing ‘freedom of choice’ for its increasingly hedonistic adherents. In other words, pursuit of happiness in the cultural realm is the ultimate goal, and to hell with consideration for what’s happening in the real world of politics.
In a nutshell, I believe that largely explains why the Democratic Party not only lost the presidential election, not to mention both houses of Congress, but is quickly losing its relevance as a political force. In other words, unless the Democrats clean up their house, and place raw political issues above cultural exploits and experimentation, the party is over for them.
President Trump 2016: The Day the Earth Stood Still
Miller Endowed Chair for Industrial and International Security, Professor of Political Science, Director – The International Security and Intelligence Studies Program, Bellevue University, USA
I have already heard the profound disappointment of many who cannot believe that a candidate who basically ran on so-called ‘white man anger’ and not much else won the most powerful office in the world. I can understand this reaction, even the confusion and anger. But I would also be remiss to not stand back and say that is an oversimplification of what has happened in the United States on November 8th. And honestly, after what most people across all parties will agree was the most vile and distasteful election campaign in American memory, what we need now is less simplification and more subtle nuanced thinking to understand what just happened.
The Progressive movement in America has to clearly take this as a wake-up call for its future strategies in campaigning. The modern classic approach of appealing to the major cities, youth, women, and minorities will still work. But it works when you have a candidate that is charismatic, energizing, and inspiring as a public figure. This was Obama. It was not Hillary. If you watched the individual county breakdowns in key states like Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, not to compare Hillary against Donald, but to compare Hillary in 2016 against Obama in 2012, you saw an astounding decrease in performance. Make no mistake: Hillary was still handily beating Trump in key cities like Detroit, Miami, and Philadelphia. But compared to how Obama beat Romney in those cities in 2012, her lead was almost like a declaration of punishment by voters. The one thing commonly heard was how ‘scary’ Trump was to voters in these major cosmopolitan, urban, minority-held areas and that they would turn out in droves to ‘negative vote’ against him. Hillary was just the beneficiary of that effect. This election clearly seems to show that assumption was horribly and monumentally misplaced by Progressives. So, if you cannot assume allegiance from the urban minority vote, and you don’t have the ability to charismatically move them as the previous incumbent did, then you need to be able to reach people outside of urban areas. And this ‘rural strategy’, if you will, has been basically abandoned by Progressives as a lost cause. Perhaps it is at the moment. But it has to stop being ceded without effort by their side. Can anyone even name a Progressive who was at home talking with the ‘regular folk’ far outside of hoity toity cosmopolitan centers? Ironically, it was Bill Clinton. But that is because he was originally one of them, from the poor backwoods of Arkansas. It was natural to him. It was not natural to his wife. And this hurt her immeasurably.