Trump has succeeded.

But not in the way you might think.

Trump, on election night, set in motion a plan to accomplish something no loser of an election had ever achieved before; and we have confirmation he’s done it. No, he hasn’t stolen an election, yes he will be leaving office come January 20th, and this was always the accepted plan.

What Trump has done, is sow the seeds of doubt, permanently, into the public’s minds regarding democratic processes. This was ripe for someone like Trump to pick; the fact big money has fully run the show in US politics since the 60s, the fact what the bottom 90% thinks has minimal correlation to policy, and the fact politics has been treated as a never ending TV show people have no meaningful control to influence (they don’t) has meant when Trump talks of a “rigged election”, even though not technically accurate in the way he describes, people feel a real sense of injustice, because the entire system has been fundamentally rigged for decades, and still is.

In reality, it just isn’t about Trump. It never was. He annoyed the establishment, he never went far enough to scare them. He never coloured outside the lines people just worried he might. His rhetoric may have called out various corrupt influences in society; his actions placated them. Trump was a phoney and a dangerous demagogue, and his sentiments have succeeded in resonating already; as we all warned he was attempting to do with talk of a rigged election, and preparing that narrative for his eventual defeat.

Over 40%, nearly half the US population believe the election may have been rigged against Trump. While factually wrong, let’s see what the underlying sentiment is; it’s a sense of a rigged corporate system. Trump is merely wielding that sentiment, and expertly so, and to the detriment of the US body politick. Something like 20% think Trump should never concede; that many people would happily abandon democracy and try an authoritarian power grab, that’s how dire it’s gotten.

Liberals who dismiss these things, who dismiss the Brexit vote, the Corbyn and Sanders projects, Trumpism, the Tea Party, the Occupy movement, are the stupidest operators of them all. The same sentiments fuelled all these things; we either take progressive populism, or die on the hill of demagoguery, take a side, because the centre won’t hold.

It looks as if Trump is going to (successfully) link himself to that sentiment, run again in 2024 after stoking grievances for 4 years, and attempt to ride that wave back to power. Could he secure the GOP nomination? Without a shadow of a doubt. Could he win the election? Entirely depends on if the DNC gets its act together and does some populist things, and if not, then yes it’s very plausible.

Wake up, get to work, fight against this. Don’t let the moderate defeat of Trump make you think he’s been repudiated.



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Toby Lipatti-Mesme

Insightful and innovative UK journalism and commentary, from Toby Lipatti-Mesme.