Why is Donald Trump aiming at Nancy Pelosi

Political pandemic

American politics before the elections: between populism, "state capturing" and systematic rhetoric

Shortly before the elections, Trump's Covid-19 disease covers a lot. But the state of American politics is more important. Much has been said about Trump and his entourage; far less about his opponents, the Democrats.

With the presidential elections on November 3rd, the US is again at a crossroads. Regardless of Trump's fight against Biden, the distance from the center has reached worrying, even critical, levels on all sides of the political spectrum. That goes for both Republicans and Democrats; and it is especially true for both wings. These have become significantly stronger in both major parties since the beginning of the Trump era on January 20, 2017, while the middle dried up.

One development is particularly worrying. While the Republican Party in the wake of Donald Trump and his uncompromising policy of discrediting and sorting out has inevitably wandered to the right within its own ranks, the Democratic Party is in a stratagem after the surprising, even traumatic loss of the election by Hillary Clinton and the subsequent self-doubts Get tumbled, which brought you one defeat after the next against Trump.

That has pushed them very far to the left - so far that, paradoxically, they are still led by very wealthy people like Nancy Pelosi (80) or Charles "Chuck" Schumer (69), in substantial respects they are now further left than European social democracy. It is also more radical - both in rhetoric and in concrete political demands.

The increasingly uncompromising rhetoric of polarization and the ideological "struggle for the foundations of America" ​​is what creates this in reality. It leads on all sides to the political appropriation of factual issues and democratic processes of reason to the limits of the institutional order - to the detriment of the American citizen and the ability of US democracy to act. Although Europeans usually blame Trump unilaterally, both sides have a share in it, although one can of course argue about who is the hen and who is the egg.

Trump attributes the desperate state of US democracy, in which the dialogue between left and right has largely broken off, to the Barack Obama's era and the democrats' left-wing spin, which has been massively intensified since his victory in 2016. The Democrats, on the other hand, blame everything on Trump and less on the Republican Party - with which, however, they play the game of Trump, as in so many other aspects.

The Democrats put Trump on a pedestal by means of personal demonization and sideline the Republican Party, although there are also many Trump opponents there, instead of maintaining dialectics and dialogue with the Republican Party and thus enhancing it against a president who is never a party man was.

If Donald Trump is the "3 Ps" of populism: personification, provocation, popularity perfect because instinctively ruled and has always lived by them, then it is a continued, and as such, unforgivable mistake by the Democrats, by focusing on the person Presidents in the effect of constantly strengthening. Like the mainstream US media, people regularly react to Trump's provocations through personification like the rabbit to the snake, thereby increasing its popularity.

And the Democrats make the mistake of entering into factual questions about Trump's very precisely calculated games - and thereby exposing themselves to the suspicion of "state capturing" in the perception of the US public, in other words the party-political appropriation of US democracy. The Democrats, who are in the deepest crisis of their post-war history, believe they have to send populist signals themselves in order to counter the populism of the president - and thus run the risk of losing to the professional as a populism layman.

Just an example? On September 10, the Democrats in parliament blocked a new corona aid package from the president, which provided state support of US $ 300 billion, primarily for medium-sized companies, small and medium-sized enterprises and workers. This left tens of thousands of families without an income and a large number of smaller businesses went bankrupt. That hit a lot of traditional Democratic voters. The Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, justified the blockade by pointing out that the US state had to mobilize ten times that amount, namely US $ 3 trillion - either all or nothing.

If one considers that the Trump administration had already mobilized US $ 3 trillion in aid by July, and if one puts this in the context of the US state budget of US $ 4.6 trillion (planned for 2021: US $ 4.8 trillion), Of which around 60% are mandatory (mandatory spending) in social benefits such as Medicare (general basic medical care), social insurance and food allowances for the needy (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and 705 billion go non-mandatory (discretionary spending) in the defense, then this presumably on the part of the Democrats are just as exaggerated and uncompromising as Trump's reduction.

This is due to falling unemployment figures and pressure from the conservative wing of the Republicans, the majority of whom the government wants to keep as small as possible even in times of pandemics and fundamentally rejects state subsidies in the individualistic and competitive capitalist system of the USA.

For example, the conservative MP Rand Paul voted against the Republican 300 billion package because he believes that in the USA the state is already too present in the lives of citizens and that grants are fundamentally socialist - and thus in danger of America's libertarian foundation to move.

Interestingly, he justified this with his opposition to populism on all sides, which had left the reasonable center on both the Republican and the Democratic side. This argument was also the reason why the Republican majority leader in the Senate, Mitch McConell, could not even put a US $ 1 trillion compromise proposal to the vote in July because his own party refused to support him.

The outgoing Republican Senator Pat Roberts (84), who is out in the November elections, summed up the mood: "We are at a dead end. We have a political pandemic in the US today - a virus that infects everyone." What is meant is a virus of polarization and irrationality that is taking over the state for party politics and undermining democracy.

For comparison: In Germany, government spending makes up 45.40% of GDP, in the USA 34%, in the latter case only if all government spending, including those of the individual countries, is included. According to the Federal Ministry of Finance, Germany has budgeted 453.3 billion euros to cushion the effects of the Corona, including guarantees of 819.7 billion. A total of around 1.4 trillion euros are planned over several years, whereby the corona pandemic could ultimately cost the German state a total of 1.9 trillion euros according to an estimate by Deutsche Bank. If you put that in relation to the US context, then the financial measures taken by the Trump administration to date have been reasonably appropriate.

The Democrats want to exceed this, however, within a few months and by means of a similar instrumentalization of the coronavirus crisis, as the president practiced from the beginning and systematically. They tend to push for a stronger state than ever in US history, one similar to that of the European welfare states - but in a competitive capitalist society with traditionally "small government".

The argument that it is precisely because of the lack of basic European welfare patterns that more money than Europe should be taken into hand and that America must be Europeanized in the medium term because of growing inequality is only valid to a limited extent for most Americans. Most want to stay Americans, even though inequality has actually gotten out of control since the 1990s, regardless of Trump.

Complicated situation with the Democrats

With its left-wing strategy, the Democratic Party is striving for nothing less than an (unforgivable) break in the system from the point of view of Trump supporters, which it sees as an (inevitable) system development - which explains the irreconcilability of the political division with city quarter occupations, ongoing unrest and looting in many large cities with deaths and radicalization of increasing parts of the citizenry with explained.

In addition, there are features of disruption and internal decline, which on the part of the Democrats are due to the lost election, the constant wear and tear by Trump and the series of defeats since 2016. Among these symptoms are

  • Overaging: The Democratic candidate Joe Biden would be the oldest president in US history, he would be 78 years old when he took office.
  • Elitism: The Democrats believe they are in possession of cosmopolitanism and intellectual supremacy, but rule only the US coasts, while the Republicans control the "heartlands", i.e. the rural inland areas, and regard themselves as guardians of "original American values" such as self-reliance and religion .
  • Moralization: Democrats see themselves as the only defenders of the constitution against its falsifiers, the "others", namely the approximately 50% Republican and Trump voters, whom Hilary Clinton called the "basket of deplorables", what The party harmed like little else, because it underlined its in itself un-American exclusion ideologization.
  • Establishment: The influence of rich extended families in the background is still strong, such as the Clintons through their think tanks, including the "Center for American Progress" in Washington DC.
  • Radicalization: The public perception of the youngest generation of the party is shaped by personalities with a migration background who are critical of the US system and want to change the fundamentals, such as the 30-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (or AOC), who was supported by Trump -critical "New York Times" was declared the "future of the party". Among other things, she campaigns for the extensive reduction or even local abolition of the US police and for the legalization of illegal immigration. For example, during the Corona crisis on the question of reducing or even abolishing the over-militarized police force after 9/11, she said, "Then the US cities will feel like [rich] suburbs".

While the Republican Party - also due to the pro-Trump pressure of its actually close networks like Fox News - cannot hide its dreary state of a "party of silence and a fig party" under Donald Trump, who locates enemies in it everywhere and seeks to destroy them however, they do not particularly hide this state of affairs. Because the person Trump outshines everything with the voters.

In contrast, the situation with the Democrats is more complicated. After Trump's election, the Democratic Party staggered from one devastating defeat to the next and from bad to worse - also from its own ideological association under the "weak" leadership of Pelosi and the youth-oriented radiance of the self-proclaimed "American socialist" Bernie Sanders, associated martyr - and illusions of salvation as well as emotional rush to make judgments and decisions. For example, she did not just lose the year-long investigation into the alleged Russia involvement in the 2016 elections and the impeachment process against Trump, which accompanied him for most of his first term in office, but crashing.

In the perception of the American middle-electorate, the Democratic Party before the 2020 elections is a mixture of the establishment's tactical retention of power and the unbelievable naivety of a new, largely left-wing generation under 50 with a migration background such as "the Rotte" (the squad), consisting of the Group of female and "colored" (of color) US House of Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib. These are noticeable, among other things, through persistent and repeated anti-Israeli statements. Ilhan Omar's tweet account even spread the slogan: "Not today, Satan," with "Satan" being a hostile anti-American term in radical parts of the Muslim world.

Trump's war on elite technology, education and capital

In addition - in addition to approaches to "state capturing" such as election campaigns from the White House (Trump) versus confidential information from top officials (Democrats) or politicization of the American Post by both major parties - the erosive effect of Trump's expressly declared, publicly staged and daily work set "system struggle". Trump's war against so far believed untouchable, powerful US elite universities like Harvard, Princeton, Stanford or Yale, which are mostly on the "blue" (mostly Democratic) coasts, are based on the threefold accusation that these universities and the educational system in their tow Support the establishment and its system at the roots, have established a class system within the university and educational sector through capital power, and make education a commodity that the average American can no longer afford.

This war aims to attack what Trump understands as the comprehensively deconstructivist (starting from the progressive coasts) left-wing formation of the new generations, which has become the standard and undermines basic American system properties. At the same time, Trump is also at war with large parts of Wall Street, which he accuses of promoting globalization at the expense of American citizens because of his own selfish greed for profit with American capital. The third in the group is the hyper-globalized technology area in the haze of Silicon Valley, which interacts with both - which is why Trump has become the enemy of Twitter, Apple, Yahoo, Microsoft and, above all, Amazon.

From Trump's point of view, all three, elitist technology, education and capital, are both system-building and system-stabilizing - and increasingly disadvantage the "little man" outside the big centers and in the interior of the country. The wealthy intellectual class that emerges from such overlap between technology, education and capital, lives from and in it and - according to critics such as Joel Kotkin - pushes through left-liberal agendas with almost religious fervor and a sense of mission by means of sovereignty in order to affirm its own position, the Trumpians call Kotkin the "new clergy".

The fact that Trump tackles all these system components of the USA in such an uncompromising, persistent and open manner in order - as he likes to portray it - to return the system to its roots and thereby revitalize America has been in the history of the country since the Second World War unique. The lonely and partly - depending on your point of view - manic consequence of Trump is paradoxical. Because he himself owes his existence to big business, tried his hand at education as an entrepreneur and was also a Democrat before he approached the Republicans.

Trump's position stands in contrast to the in some ways even more paradoxical position of the US Democrats. From their leftist position, they have fundamentally criticized the same aspects as Trump for decades, but themselves largely come from those elite educational institutions to which they came, not least through influence, power and capital. Many of today's Democrats are closely linked to their economic offshoots such as Silicon Valley and parts of Wall Street - both privately and professionally.

"Tough" Trump critics such as CNN journalist Chris Cuomo, the brother of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, studied at Yale and have a broad intellectual leftist agenda, while at the same time leading a rich establishment lifestyle and privately elitist relationships . While they reveal America's grievances in the decisive aspects, including the factual everyday racism, they defend the pre-Trump system and want to restore it wherever possible under the heading of "re-barracking".

That is why Trump accuses them of being a contradiction in terms that also serves to restore a "stability" that has been lost through his infusion of dynamics, and that not least serves to guarantee their own position at the top of a system that he has endangered have. The angry reaction of the media, which, above all on the liberal side, are also interwoven with the education-technology-capital nexus (such as CNN, the New York Times or the Washington Post of his archenemy Jeff Bezos), legitimizes the delegitimisation- from the point of view of his supporters. Trump's strategy.

The American left, both implicit and explicit, is inadvertently providing Donald Trump with arguments and facts for his re-election all the time.Yes, it is above all she who actually keeps him alive - with the defense of weeks of unrest in US cities, the promise to restrict or even change constitutional rights (such as arming, self-defense), the decriminalization of illegal immigration and the trivialization of the Drug emergency (opioid crisis) using system instead of perpetrator attribution.

An emblem for this situation is Biden's vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris: She is rich, "strong" left, at the same time connected to the Wall Street establishment and the globalized Silicon Valley big companies like hardly any other Democrat before. She, who with her former political sponsors such as the former mayor of San Francisco is almost without exception in mortal hostility, wants 16-year-olds to vote, but at the same time mocks them behind the scenes as "incredibly stupid". Harris openly insists on "left" rule of opinion and paradigm rule, says: "If Biden wins, we will assert our interests." But what does she mean by "our interests"?

Many Americans in the "heartlands" see this as the interests of rich, globalized corporations with a hypocritical participation agenda, which outsource work globally at the expense of American medium-sized businesses and, due to their globalization, have long since ceased to care about the interests of the average American. Which will also bring out the classic Trump voter from the interior in 2020.

Against the background of Harris' game of political correctness between alternative "left-wing populism" and the establishment, many in the democratic camp now believe that Biden is a puppet of the left wing. Its representatives drive the most radical and unforgiving left-wing agenda in recent US history. Despite its partially undemocratic undertones, the left wing is tolerated by party leader Pelosi. Why?

Because, as in Europe, also and especially in parts of the Democratic Party to combat right-wing populism Trump is thinking of a new left-wing populism as a counter-recipe in the sense of Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) - which, however, is likely to be a mistake, the American one Voters will hardly follow, as this always tends towards the center and not towards the edges

The US media both in the right and left spectrum are doing everything in their own interest to further heat up this polarized mood with new polemics and "breaking news" every hour and thereby increase their audience numbers, although they no longer lead to the decadence of democracy and the ideological battle between each other communicating camps.

The overall effect is that, as the dispute over corona aid recently showed, both camps are taking advantage of the needs of the US population to campaign on their backs. The US Democrats are hardly less ruthless in the struggle for power than the incumbent.

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