An American observer comments on French politics.
In Foreign Policy you seemed on the verge of embracing left populism, at least in a French/European context: taking up a cry against free movement of capital as a counter to the populist right's rejection of free movement of people.Here by contrast you identify yourself with the wreckage of Clintonism.Neither seems like a good place.Here in Britain I am cultivating my garden. But a collapsing world may not be finished fucking with either of us.
As a fellow baby-boomer and parent I share your sorrow for the mess our children have awakened to, the mess we have in some sense bequeathed to them. I too have been slow to appreciate the force of the massive rightward movements of our time, though I am surprised that the translator of Thomas Piketty doesn't include inequality on that list. Surely the unholy consolidation of wealth by elites--Hillary and Bill Clinton among them--fueled the revolt in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and elsewhere, and would have lent its power to the Sanders candidacy you dismissed with such breezy authority some months ago.But don't surrender yet--we may have one last chance in 2020 to build positive change on the ruins of Trump's presidency. Senator Warren (among the oldest boomers, and the most youthful) is both an egg-breaker and a sausage-maker, and knows how to talk to ordinary folks about the ravages of the neoliberal economy. Start now building a highway for her bandwagon.
Thank you sir for the humility of writing this. Going into the details of what you wrote in the past or what you should have mentioned now seems to me irrelevant, at least at the time. What is important to me is your meditation.I share with you the baby boomers liberal enduring illusions, the wonderful enthusiasm, the failures and the very bitter feeling in our mature age that overall we failed, the world isn't really any better than when it was handed to us, we barely understand, where, when and how we fucked up, with all the great ideas we had and still have. I don't have a clue on how to solve the world's problem and maybe it is better that way, that instead of knowing, I still question and wonder.Maybe the Trump election will teach a lesson to the French (reasonable doubt here...), maybe some of the candidates will understand where they should go and look, who they should listen to, who they should talk to, instead of believing that collecting all of the "establishment" votes will be enough to be elected. As many already wrote, Trump didn't really win, it is Hillary who completely missed the target and crashed. Too much confidence, too much certainties, too much arrogance, too much patronizing, too much illusion of experience and power, splendid isolation from the field.All pundits suffer from the same. Harsh reality is hard to cope with and the world of forums and ideas is so intoxicating.
In the end, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, and if the electoral college had not been "winner take all" but simply proportional, she would still have won, because she lost WI, PA, MI, and even AZ (AZ!) by a percentage point or less. So, liberal ideas haven't been vanquished, they're still present, and the same number of people as before hold them dear. The same forces we analyzed before are still there. However, we now have a President Trump and VP Pence. (Don't forget Pence). As subdued as he seemed yesterday, he's still the same racist bully who wanted the electric chair for 14 year old boys and, well, his campaign outbursts don't need reminding.I am scared, really scared, for a world in which the US is a world onto its own, with China and Russia forging bonds against the West, Europe weakened, and the power to start wars in the hands of a guy with very little impulse control.I am scared for people of color, LGBTQ youth, Muslims and Jews and all non-Christian-right - who live in small towns where Trump won.I am so sorry for women and girls who (sometimes belatedly) realized how ground breaking this election was, only to see it snatched from them, and who now face the reality of a country where abortion is illegal, reproductive rights are endangered, cancer screenings are for the rich only, being gay is seen as " a choice that must be reversed" (in the words of someone from the current Trump team), the religion is a good excuse for disctrimination. I worry about France, which is going in the same direction, with a PS party unable to talk to the working class, presenting halfway through the campaign how many primary candidates (most of whom have zero name recognition).
*where religion is a good excuse for...
All my sympathy. I demonstrated in streets just because nationalist leader Le Pen was qualified for the second turn of the presidential election. Which was no event at all compared to what just happened to the USA. What would I do and think if I were American, or just living in the USA, I can't imagine that. Looks like a wreckage of politics themselves. Even 6000 km away, I needed five days to assemble thoughts about that — my humble version of "don't mourn, organize" (as a signature link above — in French).
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