Monday, 25 January, 2021

End Of Trumpism?

Namrata Sharma


The political drama that has unfolded recently in the USA points to the sadistic and egoistic characteristics of a so-called world leader. He reached the most powerful position on earth on the back of his individualistic beliefs and strategies to put the party he joined to power. Trump, who is a business tycoon, represented the conservative Republican Party in the 2016 presidential race at a time when it was struggling to find an able leader to lead the country. He won the election against Hillary Clinton from the Democratic Party. He was seen by the Americans and the rest of the world as a maverick whose campaign slogan was to ‘Make America Great Again’ without compromising democratic values and norms.

Darker side
Instead, as soon as he assumed office, he promoted Trumpism in such a way that the people of the USA and the rest of the world saw a darker side of his unique image-matching leadership which was unbecoming of a world leader. The Republican Party helped him develop his philosophy of Trumpism to a level which is now leaving many of his staunch supporters to wonder if they actually did the right thing.
According to various literature, Trumpism is the political ideology, style of governance and the political movement including a set of mechanisms for acquiring and keeping power that are associated with Donald Trump, who is the 45th President of the United States of America, and his political base that supported his rise to power. Jeffrey C. Isaac writes in his article Making America Great Again published by Cambridge University Press as follows: “Trumpism is a distinctly American version of the rise of right-winged nationalist populism and “illiberal democracy” that is unfolding in many parts of the world especially Europe.”
The ideology of Trumpism emerged predominantly during Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. It plays around the populist political way of suggesting that nationalistic approach answers complex political, economic and social problems. Matthew Continetti writes in The New York Times that the Trump programme is subject to change at the whim of the Trump persona. The Republican Party catered to the president’s obsessions, tastes, moods and inclinations rather than opposing it. The party capitalised on Trump’s brashness, crudity, dark comedy and unapologetic fighting spirits by packaging his ideological values into “Trumpism.” There is, however, a criticism as to whether “Trumpism” even exists in meaningful philosophical sense, as the man does not seem to have a philosophy per se!
Well-noted leaders have often claimed that more than the person standing for election or leadership, the principles he/she vouches for and stands for are more important. Continetti mentions that in 1976, Ronald Reagan said that the Republican Party would be dead unless it “stands up and selects a set of principles around which people can rally.”
Trump started as an outsider by giving donations to both the Republican and the Democratic Parties. Then finally he joined the former. By 2016 he had attracted followers that crossed party ideologies - mainly the business tycoons of New York who became his strongest allies. With Trump, a new wave that vouched nationalism or even patriotism had emerged that went against Hillary Clinton from becoming the first woman president. Many devout Republican leaders may have had their reservations about him, but loved the wave he seemed to generate, which ultimately ensured their victory in the 2016 presidential elections.
However, as the political saga unfolds in the US at present, many Republicans have now openly started criticising Trump and supporting the possibility of impeaching him the second time. The very New York business community that were his pillars of strength have started voicing their discontent against him and have openly started asking him to either resign or for the Republican Party to sack him from the position of the US president! As of writing this article, the Democratic Party has already given out a statement that if the Republicans do not remove him, they would propose an impeachment against him by Wednesday. If this happens, he will be the first US President to be impeached twice in his term of office.

Misuse of media
Throughout his term as the US President, Trump has done activities based on his personal whims and fancies. He has misused the social media to generate support and misguide people all over the world. Throughout his follies, the Party stood behind him and supported his candidacy for second term in office with the hope that he would lead the Party back to power. Unfortunately, they overlooked the fact that the country has to be above the Party and the Party has to be above individuals! Trumpism has given the global public a chance to raise fingers and ask what has happened to the country and its people who claim that they are the epitome of democracy. How can the US President incite a mass to stomp over Capitol Hill?
Watching people wearing neo-Nazi T-shirts storming over DC was a scene that people all over the world watched with unbelieving eyes. A person like Trump being allowed to be President of a country where the legends of leaders such as Lincoln, Kennedy, Regan and Clinton are admired by global citizens, is a slap in the face of democracy. An individual who cannot accept defeat in a free and fair 2020 election and incite insurrection in his support is a disaster that will go down in history as one of the darkest moments of American democracy. Worst is the fact that what happened in Capitol Hill has ignited similar sparks all over the country indicating that Trump may go but Trumpism will continue!

(Namrata Sharma can be reached at Twitter handle: NamrataSharmaP) 

How do you feel after reading this news?