Having followed developments in the American telecoms market since the late 1980s, and having been involved with the Obama Administration in the development of their National Broadband Plan – at which time I was also invited to do a presentation at the White House – I do have some insights into the workings of the American system.
I realise that I will be off-topic in this blog but developments in America are very important on developments elsewhere in the developed world.
For many decades I have wondered how it is possible that America arrived at a plutocracy. But I have seen at close quarters, from the telecoms and media angle, where time and again sensible proposed changes were boycotted by the vested interests and legislators and regulators bowed to these interests, and obviously this also happens in most of the other sectors of the society and the economy.
A system where politicians have to spend 80% of their time fundraising is one that is asking for problems.
I have often wondered why the American people didn’t protest – why they simply accept such a situation. The ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement petered out. It never gained any serious momentum.
On the other side, the lawlessness in many under-privileged suburbs in the big cities could be seen as another expression of protest against the society they live in; and the fact that guns are such a big issue, and such an effective weapon, killing tens of thousands of Americans every year (mainly innocent people), is perhaps also an underlying expression of this frustration.
As the plutocratic system is firmly in place – basically supported by both sides of Congress – it wouldn’t make much difference who wins an election because, as Trump quite correctly indicates, the plutocracy will always win and the status quo will simply continue. We clearly saw this with Obama who has, to a very large extent, from a political point of view been a lame duck.
So is the Trump triumph indeed just another element of American’s style of revolution, one of protest?
It is not too difficult to compare that with the situation in the 1930s – perhaps for all sorts of different reasons. Where demagogues such as Hitler and Mussolini used tactics very similar to the ones used by Trump – successfully fuelling protest.
Trump is on a roll and, as he is demolishing his Republican colleagues in the pre-selection campaigns, so too will he demolish – at least in his campaign – Clinton, one who is seen to be in the camp dominated by the plutocracy. In many aspects she will be an easy target for him. This is going to be extremely ugly and bloody.
On the international political scene Russia and China will be laughing. With America willing to simply dig its own grave it will increasingly lose more and more of its position as the leader of the developed world; and this will have significant effect on global affairs, politically, economically and socially.
Whether Trump’s demolition campaign is enough to get him to the White House remains, of course, uncertain. Hopefully enough Americans will not support Trump – as opposed, perhaps, to supporting Clinton. But whatever happens this is perhaps the most serious warning for America to end the plutocracy and get a functional government, one that is willing to move more to the centre. Also a very serious warning to the Republicans – they have gone too far towards ultra-conservatism and it is to be hoped they will make changes that will change the current dead-end street direction of their party.
Despite this negative assessment I do believe in the people of America and I also think that their institutions are strong enough to rectify the current rather dangerous situation.
These are some of my observations from the other side of the globe.
Good luck America …..