America’s political crisis is about much more than Donald Trump

Photo by Roberto Schmidt/AFP: Donald Trump is the image of a movement and not the real power behind it

Contributed by Joe Montero

It is all too easy to portray recent political developments antics and the January 6 attack on the Capitol in Washington, as the fault of one man – Donald Trump. It is just as easy to call all those misguided by the false promises of the “Make America great” campaign white supremacists.

Both are wrong.

Trump and the white supremacist groups that have been following him are reprehensible. But they are far from of it. The movement will continue for this reason, even if its present figurehead leaves the stage.

The strategy to delegitimise last year’s election result has been aimed at ensuring this continuation after the change in administration. The purpose for the attack on Washington fits into this.

Trump supporters breaking into the Capitol on January 6

Even worse may come on the inauguration, or shortly after. More trouble down the track is certain.

On the other hand, the violence used in Washington proved to have been an overreach and a political disaster, which forced key loyalists to abandon ship to save the day and themselves. Trump may well be pressured out now. But this does not mean the forces behind him have given up. They are regrouping, to move again at the first opportunity. They don’t need Donald Trump to do this.

It is important to grasp that what has been going on emerged from the economic and political conditions of the United States. People are hurting, losing jobs and their livelihood. They are losing their rights. The credibility of the political institutions is damaged. People feel betrayed and see that Wall Street holds the real power. They want all of this to be turned around.

Not everyone has come up with the same answer. Some have gone for the Trump phenomenon. Although it has worn his name up till now, it is will continue if the fundamental issues are not resolved and no viable alternative is taken up.

When the economy no longer delivers sufficient to maintain its stability and the political system loses credibility, a crisis has come into being. This is exactly where the United States is heading, and the mishandling of covid-19 has made it worse.

Instead of acknowledging this and coming up with a comprehensive plan to deal with the crisis, the political elite is individualising the problem. The Republican machine blames Barack Obama and will blame Joe Biden. The Democrat machine blames Donald Trump. The commercial media limits news to this narrow parameter.

Even after January 6, the Democrat mainstream, commercial media, and those who parrot the sound bites, focus on Donald Trump, and ignore what made it possible.

Why a section of America turned to the false solution peddled by the Trump bandwagon is ignored. The reasons are complex. The point is the anger exists for real reasons, which must be explored by those who wish to understand.

Other Americans who share the anger and for the same reasons in general, have gone in another direction. Many of them gravitated towards the Bernie Sanders banner. American politics began to polarise, and this is continuing.

When the situation gets less certain for them, those who really hold power are adept at using the method of divide and rule. With this, they try to turn ordinary people against each other and cover up what is really going on.

Individualising the problem assists this, and the Republicans and Democrats are both guilty of using it. It is an aspect of the long history of bipartisan politics, where there is usually agreement on the critical political issues.

There is a good reason for this. both are dependent on the patronage, financial, and logistical support of Wall Street. When Wall Street is united the bipartisanship is strong. When it is divided, it is weaker, and a more virulent form of politics creeps in. Division has been marked in the last few years.

Donald Trump has been the figurehead for the faction that sees its dominance and interests are best secured through a hard-line approach and is prepared to trample over established institutions and conventions, no longer regarded as useful to their interests.

Wall Street hardliners have always been the power behind Donald Trump

It sees the big stick is the better way to go. At its core is a financial oligarchy, which includes those who make their money from owning shares the banks, hedge funds, brokers, and other financial institutions. There is also a significant section of the media, especially News Corp. Other key backers have been JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, the Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and wells Fargo.

The other faction sees that convincing the population that maintaining the status quo with a few teaks is the best bet to deliver a better future. It hopes to secure its position relative to the other faction and is backing the Democrats to deliver this. Its core is Silicon Valley, parts of struggling manufacturing, and Wall Street maverick like George Soros.

There is an aspect of old money versus new money, and therefore the composition of American capitalism in the future, in the division between the two factions.

In practice, this means a strategy of reconciliation, return to bipartisanship with some conditions, and imposing on the nation some sort of social contract. The temporary shift of some Trump backers to Biden, figures in this, and they impose their own conditions.

But this ambition faces the insurmountable problems, which means that the strategy will not succeed.

Silicon Valley companies have given their backing to Joe Biden

The conditions that have led to the present remain, continue to exert their influence, and are set to become even more pronounced.

Bringing an end to Donald Trump and dealing with all the violence directed against the American people on January 6 and likely to continue if unchecked, is important as the first step forward.

No argument about this. The problem is that this must be followed by much more, and this is where the Democrat machine does not want to go.

They do not want to deal with the real causes of the crisis. This would involve taking on the dysfunctional and undemocratic economy and overcoming the political institutions that are central to its political aspect.

It seeks to minimise any change, to ensure the character of the economy and political institutions remain the same. what is remains.

Under the pressure of ongoing opposition in the Congress, Senate, and especially Wall Street, policies used to win the election will likely be increasingly toned down. This will lead to an ineffective Biden administration, loss of its credibility, and setting the stage for a new rise in the politics generated by the hard-line Wall Street faction.

The tactical mistake of violently attacking the Capitol provided an opportunity to take deliver a bigger blow to the hard liners and take a major step forward. This has not been taken up.

An effective answer to the crisis is to recognise the fundamental problems, seek to develop new political institutions suitable to meet the needs of working people, build unity among Americans, remove the control of Wall Street, and build a democracy worthy of the name.

The Democrat machine is not going to respond in this way. It must come from outside it and involve the best of the Democrat camp and others. Such an alternative is not yet in place. But there are reports of efforts towards making this a reality, and this is what provides the best hope for the future.

Whatever happens in the time ahead, it will be of tremendous importance to the people of the United States. Because this involves a power that has spread its tentacles into every continent, the ramifications will be global. All nations and peoples have a stake in the outcome.

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