Some commentators reckon that the election of Donald Trump is a reaction of “white America.” Some are pleased, others denounce it, while Marine Le Pen assures that “we must not ‘racialize’ this vote.” Your position?
The United States is, since long ago, a multiracial nation, and contrary to what has happened with us, ethnic statistics are still used there. Concerning the last presidential election, things are clear: Hillary Clinton obtained 88% of the Black vote and 65% of the Latino and Asian vote. Trump only obtained 8% and 29% respectively – which is already not so bad (it’s more than Romney received in 2012). This divide is nothing surprising, minorities have habitually voted massively in favor of the Democrats for a long time, since 1952, only Lyndon B. Johnson, in 1964, had collected a majority of votes among Whites. Nevertheless, we will note that in this regard, Obama did better than Hillary, having won 93% of the Black vote in 2012 and 95% in 2008.
The White electorate was more divided. Trump received 58% of the White vote (64% in Florida, 69% in Texas), against 37% for Clinton (50% in California), who did better than Carter in 1980 (33%), but worse than Obama in 2012 (39%). So the majority of whites voted for Trump, but that does not mean his victory is solely due to the ethnic factor. The truth is that it was the working class Whites, the popular and middle classes who chose Donald Trump (among the Whites without diplomas, he collected 67% of the vote), while the elite Whites, those who profit from neoliberal globalization, mostly turned out for Hillary Clinton. From this point of view, the vote in favor of Trump is also a class vote. Thus holding to a “racial” analysis of the vote is an error (“racialism” is a classic impolitic form). Hillary Clinton played, in fact, the role of a veritable foil for the working class. It would not have been the same if Bernie Sanders had represented the Democratic Party. In my opinion, in such case, Sanders would have won.
Since the day of his victory, new president seems to have “softened” his discourse. The opposite would be astonishing, no?
You didn’t expect him to throw stones at Obama when he received him at the White House! But once again, do not confuse the personality of Trump and the Trump phenomenon, which are very different things.
The commentators who are screaming “Vive Trump!” at the moment are rather naive. At the announcement of the vote, the French ambassador to Washington, Gérard Araud, declared that “a world collapses under our eyes.” That’s also what Marine Le Pen said (but for her, it was not something to grieve about!). The problem is that they ignore everything about the “new world” that the victory of the American populist candidate lets us glimpse. As he has no experience of power (he is only acquainted with the building industry and reality television), we cannot refer to his past. We know, also, that he’s not an ideologue, but a pragmatist. To deduce what he will effectively do in the White House from his thunderous campaign declarations would be audacious at least. Finally, we still completely ignore who his counselors and principal members of his administration will be.
That’s the reason why the majority of heads of state and government, coming out of the drunk tank where the shock of the election led them, remain reserved for the moment. Before deciding, each wants to know more about the options that Trump will decide in favor of. For the time being, they are reduced to simple speculations on the new main lines that will emerge. We could have excellent surprises, but we could also have bad ones. As Jérôme Sainte-Marie recalled, “the United States has neither the same culture nor the same interests as France.” This amounts to saying that what is good for America is not necessarily good for us.
Under the two terms of Barack Obama, the United States began to lose interest in Europe. Donald Trump, he threatens to leave NATO if the Europeans do not increase their financial participation. In a sense, is that not good news for Europe?
In theory, it’s actually good news that could favor the implementation, until now constantly delayed, of an autonomous European defense. But in practice, who wants an independent Europe today? Look at the selection of seven candidates in the “right and center primary.” All good pupils of Brussels behind their conductor’s stand without the orchestra. All liberals (except one), all experts in “economics” (Translator’s note: the original French word “ épicerie,” meaning grocery, is used to designate economics sarcastically), all whiz kids about numbers, all silent about the true stakes: the survival of France and Europe. All ready to jump through hoops that the concerned media offers them, as Slobodan Despot said, to conjure reality rather than try to understand it. Seven dwarfs, with Ruth Elkrief in the role of Snow White! Who can imagine them speaking as equals with Putin or Donald Trump?
Interview conducted by Nicolas Gauthier
Published on Boulevard Voltaire November 14th 2016.
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