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thinking carefully about the dangers of a trump administration

There have been a few responses to Donald Trump’s surprise victory last month. On the left, many immediately jump to the conclusion that he’s a new sort of Hitler.  On the right, there’s been a sort of sigh of relief. The dreaded Clinton machine is now banished. I am not happy with Trump, but on the other hand I was not happy with Obama either.

For example, on a lot of issues, Trump will simply continue the policies of Obama, and Bush, that I thought were bad. The main example is immigration. Obama has now deported more people than any other president. Another example is war and conflict. The Obama administration has been involved in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, and Syria. Even though Trump said that Iraq was a mistake, he’s appointing a lot of hawks. I expect Trump and Obama to have similar policies.

At the same time, I do not pretend that Trump and Obama are identical or that Trump is a typical Republican. Trump acts like an authoritarian. He demonizes out groups, he threatens harm, and openly flouts norms concerning conflicts of interest. My sense is that a Trump administration will combine two things: Latin American style populism and 1910/1920s style social relations. The first claim is straight forward: the Tea Party, and Trump, are populists and admittedly so.

The second claim needs more explanation. In the 1910s and 1920s, you had a period when race relations were horrible. I am not claiming that the US will bring back massive racial violence, but Trump’s win makes it possible for various branches of the state, such as local police or the federal immigration bureaucracy or the NSA, to become harsher and to focus on certain groups with more intensity. My conjecture is that Trump will be similar to Woodrow Wilson, who used the Federal Government to harass opponents and enforce sergegation.

Trump will not resegregate America. But he will make it even easier for various groups to “tighten the screws” in their domain. This might happen by stopping all immigration from majority Islamic nations, or by having the FBI suspend all enforcement of civil rights in police abuse cases, or by making it a little easier to put immigrants in prisons.

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Written by fabiorojas

December 14, 2016 at 12:55 am

One Response

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  1. I kind of agree and disagree. The most urgent issues that America is facing right now are education and healthcare. The seemingly surprising (to many indifferent elites) large number of disgruntled unskilled poorly-educated white working class in the rust belt was produced in part by the crumbling education system in the US. Many high-schoolers don’t even know how to do the four basic operations. I have graduate students in my class don’t even know what a sigma sign is, and they are not among the minority. The whole R&D enterprise is built on immigrant scientists, yes immigrants. This is called ANTI-INTELLECTUALISM. All the money have gone to football teams and their coaches, and of course very useful business schools or law schools. The whole education and healthcare systems have to be revamped, but of course not the Trump-way. Outsourcing jobs? They have to. This is called globalization. Look at PISA data, the US has consistently ranked at the bottom in the industrialized world. Image an America full of Trump-like people, coming out of business schools with a pathetic vocabulary flaunting wealth, but great at p***-groping and dirty talk. Sorry.

    Like

    jon

    December 14, 2016 at 5:07 pm


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