America was made great via immigration. Millions of people joined this new world democratic experiment and became Americans. The country grew in leaps and bounds economically to become a superpower. The journey was not perfect and plenty of mistakes were made along the way. People died and were exploited in unfortunate incidents but the arc of progress was headed in the right direction. Migrants kept coming to find opportunity and often to escape hopelessness. Forces of good kept pushing for fairness and equal opportunity for all Americas no matter the colour of their skin or ethnic background. Pockets of racism and inequality remained but there was a general trend toward a better life for all. The American experiment: Democracy & surviving Trump.
The Economics Of America Aint Democratic
Somewhere along the way, during the latter decades of the 20C, things began to change in terms of the economic settings in America. Big business began looking for more and more ways to remain profitable. Corporate America and its leaders began questioning the cost of all those hard won rights of the union movement for workers. The cost of production in the US had risen markedly on the back of higher economic standards for American workers. The new thinking in the business world was to move production offshore to countries that paid their workers peanuts in comparison to American workers. Thus, slashing the cost of production and doing business in this new global world.
American Jobs & How The Bosses Experimented With Them
What were the outcomes for everyday Americans? Less jobs available in manufacturing. Less well paid jobs, which previously may have lasted a lifetime. CEOs of companies were hailed as geniuses and their renumeration went through the roof. Today, the average CEO is paid some 350 times what an ordinary worker receives in the USA. The movement of jobs offshore rapidly spread to other sectors. Call centre operatives were now located in India, the Philippines, and elsewhere in low paying countries that could also speak English well enough to do the job. Customers in America hated having to deal with call centre representatives who did not understand their cultural foibles and idiosyncrasies. Tough luck because the cost benefits to corporations was enormous.
Suck it up America was the message from on high to the little people.
Neoliberalism The New Economic Miracle
Neoliberalism was the new economic miracle cure of the 1980s, 90s, and 2000s. It made a small cohort fabulously wealthy at the expense of middle America. Billionaires were popping out of the woodwork like nobody’s business. These high falutin folk had the ear of presidents and congress. Corporations lobbied like mad and got what they wanted. The political system in the US became the plaything of vested interests. Meanwhile, the middle class became the lower middle class and the poor became more numerous across the nation. Outsourcing everything to offshore places where wages were miniscule made upper management rich. Shareholders and investors became mega-wealthy. Times were good for that thin layer of insiders and bosses. Campaigns for senators and congressmen and women were very well funded.
Trump Championing Disgruntled America
Then, in 2016, Donald J Trump went to all those angry and frustrated blue collar workers and their families to tell them that he heard them. That he would champion their frustration at being left behind when the wealth train left the station. Trump a compulsive liar and narcissist told these disenfranchised Americans what they wanted to hear. And they believed him and voted him into the presidency by the narrowest of margins. Thanks to Robert Mercer and Cambridge Analytica – some very sharp computer experts in data analysis and social media influence. A shady right wing billionaire and a new technological science targeting voter demographics to the nth degree. Dark Facebook posts would appear in the news feeds of targeted voters susceptible to particular emotive issues in key battle ground states. These posts would later disappear, hence the name dark posts, and leave no trace on the record. Stuff like, ‘Hillary Clinton wants to take your gun away’. These messages went out in the last couple of weeks of the 2016 election in the states that mattered – Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Of course, Donald Trump received less votes overall than Hillary Clinton but it is the number of electoral colleges that decides the presidential vote in America.
Did Trump Make Anything Better?
Did Donald Trump do anything about all these offshore jobs depriving middle America of economic opportunity?
“President Donald Trump campaigned as a billionaire businessman and champion of the working class with the economic prowess and deal-cutting skills that politicians in Washington, D.C., lacked. He summed up his position neatly during the campaign: “I’ll be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.” On the campaign trail, Trump claimed to be laser-focused on bringing back manufacturing and mining jobs, renegotiating trade deals that led to work disappearing overseas and curtailing immigration. His Clintonian tack of “it’s the economy, stupid,” despite the myriad scandals and investigations that dogged him, largely worked as GDP grew at a healthy clip, the stock market soared and unemployment rates hit a half-century low, until the coronavirus pandemic gutted the job market. Yet as he leaves after his one-term tenure, Trump has become the first president since Herbert Hoover during the Great Depression to depart office with fewer jobs in the country than when he entered.”
Trump was an incompetent president and oversaw a disastrous American response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Nearly a million Americans died from Covid, which was one of the worst results in the world, especially from an economic superpower. Trump was owned by vested interests and these billionaires and corporate groups wanted and got the dismantling of many important protections. A disastrous trade war with China was begun during Trump’s presidency. A refusal by Trump to accept electoral defeat by Joe Biden in 2020 has resulted in a slew of investigations and indictments emanating from the January 6 Capital riot and attempted coup. It is very likely that Donald J Trump will be convicted on multiple charges relating to electoral interference and various other serious charges.
Democracy has been the biggest victim during the Trump years.
Trump & Americans Embracing Their Worst Selves
The rise of authoritarianism and autocracy has reared its ugly head in America. Racism via white supremacy has been coddled and cosseted by Trump. Right wing extremism has been actively encouraged by Donald Trump repeatedly. Trump threatens this upon his perceived political enemies like a mob boss. Indeed, Trump is very much like a mob boss in many ways. The Republican Party, the GOP, has been hijacked by Trump and the MAGA forces. It has definitely lost its soul and is in chaos right now with hardline right wing elected representatives taking America toward a dark future. Trump loudly calls for Americans to embrace their worst selves. It is like all those dreadful sitcoms from TV with the gross father figure at the heart of them. You know, the loud, racially insensitive, braggart but this time he has been elected president. Certain Americans have confused celebrity with substance. The continual disrespecting of the political process, internally and externally, has come home to roost. It seem like millions of Americans don’t comprehend the gravitas and very real importance of the role of president of the United States. It has been sullied too many times in their view. Thus, the ultimate fuck you is to elect Trump president. Democratic processes are messy by their very nature. Voter backlashes are common. Negative messaging campaigns are generally more effective. 2024 is just around the corner and Trump is currently running again for president. He is leading the nomination race for the GOP. There is another race going on in the justice system with upcoming trials federally and in Georgia. Will Trump be tried and convicted before the 2024 election for president of the USA? And what will the upshot of that mean?
Robert Sudha Hamilton is the author of Money Matters: Navigating Credit, Debt, and Financial Freedom.