Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Trump's victory - what it says to us

By Saral Sarkar - posted Monday, 19 December 2016

Trump has won, despite everything. I think Americans must now stop demonstrating and shouting childish slogans like "Not our President". We must understand the phenomenon, now, if we are to do something about it in future.
I shall here focus on some basic points and causes of some basic trends that had been clearly noticeable for quite a few years now, almost everywhere in the world.

Things are changing fast - minority in their own country

Recently, Robert P Jones published an article in New York Times, in which he cited theastounding fact that "between 2008 and 2016, America has transformed from being a majority white Christian nation (54 percent) to a minority white Christian nation (43 percent)." On election day,"this anxious minority swarmed to the polls to elect as president the candidate who promised to 'make America great again' and warned that he was its 'last chance' to turn back the tide of cultural and economic change."


Let me here also quote a promise that Trump had made to his followers: "The forgotten men and women of America will not be forgotten anymore." This quote (partly also the previous one) refers to those once proud skilled working class whites, who in the wake of the financial crisis and the Great Recession of 2008 had lost their houses and savings, many of whom were literally rendered homeless paupers.

It also refers to those who had lost their jobs in the wake of the large-scale closure of manufacturing enterprises or their relocation in Mexico etc. The majority of such working-class white Christians, the blacks and the Latinos were formerly voters of the Democratic Party. This time, these millions of losers of neo-liberal globalization voted in large numbers for Trump, because they have been feeling betrayed, left out, without any hope of regaining any time soon their lost status and self-esteem.

Bernie Sanders said later: while Trump recognized that "there are millions of people today – working-class people, middle-class people, low-income people – who are living in despair and turning to alcohol, drugs and suicide, the Democrats did not." Hilary had even called them a "basket of deplorables", so that a leftist author called Trump's victory the "Revenge of the Deplorables." Remember also that during this same process, the rich, AKA "the one percent", became enormously richer.
This hugely negative economic change would have sufficed to understand the rage of the Trump voters. But simultaneously also taking place has been what Jones calls a tide of cultural change. Actually, it is more a radicalchange intheethnic compositionof the American population.Culturally, the Blacks and the Latinos are not much different from working-class white Christians. All Latinos and the vast majority of the Blacks are also Christians. They, except the newcomers, speakAmerican English. And new-comer Latinos and Blacks eagerlytry to learn English and integrate themselves into the American labor force.

But still, because they look different, come from non-European and, what is more important, poorer regions of the world, and are late-comers, they are not regarded as belonging to the ethnic groupcomprising the progenies of the early and not so early white settlers and recent white European immigrants. The latter ethnic group has been thinking for about 240 years now that the USA is their country. Moreover, for many of them, especially white and devout Christians, it has also been culturally shocking that Blacks and LGBTs were claiming and even occupying normal to prominent places in society.

In the USA, large sections of the White Christian working class feel they have already lost "their country" and also their economic basis. Jones thinks the overwhelming support that Trump received from the White Christian working class voters is the expression of rage of this group of Americans against their plight.

Make no mistake, a similar process is going on in Europe. Think of Brexit, France National, Geert Wilders' party in Holland, AFD in Germany. They are all feeling they are losing their country, and they want to get back their country. One German AFD leader said: "If an Afghan immigrant is deported, he can go back to his country. But if we lose our country, we have nowhere to go."


Contradictions of globalization

The two changes– economic and ethnic/cultural – are both resultsof the process of economic globalization, which resulted in the forced or voluntary immigration of hundreds of millions of non-white and also non-Christian people in the USA as well as the large-scale relocation of American industries and other businesses in other, cheap-wage countries. While it's true that, across history, participating nations in international trade did generally prosper, not everyone and not all nations benefited.

That is why for many years now, all over the world, there has been a lot of dissatisfaction with, and opposition to, further development of free international trade, that is since long also coupled with further development of free flow of investment capital. This opposition has not been unjustified. To explain it in one sentence, the assertion of the protagonists of free international trade and investment that "when the flood tide comes, it lifts all boats" has proved to be wrong, because not all citizens of a nation "sit in a boat", and not all nations possess an "ocean-going boat".

That is to say, a part of the population of a nation and many nations of the world can be and have indeed been left behind and forgotten in the process of global economic development. Especially this section of the US-American population – the proletariat of the "rust belt" of America for example – voted Trump, particularly because he promised to roll back the (in their eyes) evil tide of globalization.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

This is an abridged version of the original article which can be accessed at

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

57 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Saral Sarkar is an Indian academic resident in Germany who writes about Eco-Socialism.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Saral Sarkar

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 57 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy