American society is split, as is rarely the case in the modern history of this country. First time in decades, democracy in the United States in danger.
Three months past since the sensational victory of Donald trump, showed that the American political system is rapidly losing its age-old ability to balance and attentance.
We are talking about the ability to peacefully and legitimately exercise the change of government, the ability of the ruling elite to accept the role of opposition, the ability of the vast majority of voters to accept the new administration as a national.
When in January 1981 Ronald Reagan replaced Carter, he was mocked by all the “enlightened” journalistic brethren, United States. It was considered whether semi-literate cowboy, or a provincial actor. But the inauguration of Reagan and his hundred days have passed successfully and showed the world America’s greatness — the ability of Americans to agree in the main, to accept unconditionally the rules of the democratic game, follow the world’s oldest living tradition of democracy.
Not now. The main reason for this is usually considered the advent of right-wing populist in the White house. Trump has shown that he does not want, and may not be able to be President of “all Americans.” From the first days it was all over, was considered “politically correct” code of conduct for higher officials of the state.
There is another important point — the call for an “uprising” against trump, which is supported by the vast majority of news corporations (“the big media”) and the overwhelming majority of political-bureaucratic class of the country.
Trump declared war, hatred of any expressions and acts of his new administration — almost unprecedented in American history.
“Almost” because in the past you can find a lot of things: hatred of the new left, actively opposed the Vietnam war, to the administration of Richard Nixon, and in the 1930-ies hatred of large groups of Americans to the administration of Franklin Roosevelt.
In 1850-ies hatred tore America in two, was the prelude to the civil war, which killed 600 thousand lives.
Civil war America seems to be not in danger. But her “cold” option at the ready, and the temperature of this “cold” has already broken previous records.
25 years ago, when the United States won an easy victory in the cold war, came and blessed the 1990-ies, few could have predicted that American society would be peaceful and prosperous time is split into two irreconcilable camps.
Meanwhile, the split began almost immediately, during the presidency of bill Clinton. The war changed the cultural cold war — the main motive for the latter was the issue of national goals and nature of America.
Prominences of hatred splashed on the surface more regularly: the reaction of Republicans for the sins of Clinton the reaction of the Democrats in the Messianic imperialism of Bush, polupriznanie right-wing Republicans of the legitimacy of the Obama movement “chapiteau”… Yes, trump and his supporters had not popped up like a Jack-in-the-box.
In recent weeks, it is useless to search in social networks or traditional media weighted-oriented political consensus judgment and analysis. People from the intellectual environment that try to do this immediately accused of trying to “normalize trump” — among these prosecutors Richard Reisch, a classmate of bill and Hillary Clinton at Yale University.
One after the other recently quite moderate centrist technocrats become ardent defenders of democracy against the tyranny trompowsky. A couple of years ago heard the same calls to nail those who are trying to “normalize Vladimir Putin.”
For many in the American new opposition to Putin and trump were like two peas in a pod. In the inflamed imagination “insurgent” liberal America both represent an existential threat to the West, the world, the whole of civilization.
It is unknown what the grapes ripen among those who have recently celebrated the victory trump applauds his first presidential decrees, and now looks at television screens in protest marches against “their” President.
Many opponents of trump grabbed his book Orwell’s “1984”. But sometimes it seems that both sides in the conflict soon will remind hysterically screaming crowd, which sees the metaphorical screen, only one image of the enemy and drowns out his words, whatever he was trying to say, roar of hatred and contempt.
It is difficult to predict whether there will be further increase the degree of civil conflict. But it is a very different America now faced foreheads.
One America, whose values and concepts have become mainstream over the past decade, whose views seemed to have become unbreakable rules of “political correctness” not only in USA but in all the ideological and political the West, believes that the arrival of trump is the collapse of the liberal universe, the Reichstag fire, the beginning of totalitarianism.
Another America — and not just the Outback — is for trump, listens to more radio, watching “Fox news”, and focuses on their social network on the Internet.
Many people in America that spit on what they think in Germany or in Syria. They believe that the government should put to the fore their safety and their jobs, not the fate of political refugees from the Middle East. And many firmly believed that liberal globalization, guided from Washington is a cosmopolitan conspiracy of the elites against the true, core American principles and values.
In the current situation, especially afraid of two things.
First, that blurred any semblance of centrism in American politics.
American politics has become a popular slogan “who not with us — is against us.” During the election campaign, almost the entire political establishment of the Republican party spoke out against trump. As a result, he won as a candidate of one of the two alternately ruling parties and people outside the parties, non-partisan populist.
In the past, when came to power a politician with a radical new course, he could take in his administration of people”, and there, and here,” and Republicans and Democrats — and thereby to restore at least a semblance of the political center.
Trump this path is almost closed — and it seems he doesn’t want to go on it.
The new President is only formally a Republican. He declared that his goal was to return America to “its people”. We are talking about the dream of extreme right-wing populists of the 1970-ies — 1980-ies, who wanted to snatch the “people” from the influence of the cosmopolitan, transnational elites, media and universities — and even to build “parallel to the American nation”.
The second troubling point is that both sides in the conflict believe that in the current struggle, the fate of the United States. Both sides believe that they have a monopoly on the correct understanding of the same basic American values such as freedom and American exceptionalism. Both sides firmly believe that their opponents deny what grows the yeast of its “greatness.”
Both sides believe that the viewpoints of patriotism. Thus both sides can be ready for an uncompromising struggle “for America” — and that struggle could plunge the American society in serious trouble.
This process is already underway at micro and macro levels of the society: friendship, family break up on the principle — “if you are for trump, we are talking about”. In the press are beginning to talk about possible secession of California — there is sentiment in favor of “rebellion” is particularly strong.
Of course, in Europe has increased polarization: on the one hand right-wing populists, anti-globalists and nationalists, on the other hand, those who advocate for a cosmopolitan liberal order, integration, tolerance, multiculturalism.
In the UK referendum on the “breccia” split society in half. But in the British Isles we have (fortunately) not see the same extent of civil unrest that was already manifest in the United States.
Perhaps because the residents of the UK diverge in opinions about the value of staying in the EU, I do not think this question is so existential that it depends on their self-determination and identity. Many opponents of “breccia” you can consider it stupidity and error, but I believe that the country can live with him.
In America, the arrival of trump put bluntly the question is whether she’s country “for the world” or “nation”, let exceptional, but above all for themselves.
Many of those who call for a “fight” with trump, referring to Jefferson and the other authors of the American Constitution. But the real question is, what form will this struggle.
The founding fathers of the USA wrote the Constitution in the calculation at all times. Their calculation was this: no matter how raged populism, whichever demagogue came to the White house, the principles of American liberty shall endure.
This created the separation of powers and a complex system of political checks and balances. All that is needed for their work — compliance with the rules of the game.
What would Jefferson and Madison about the current situation? I would venture to suggest that for them, the most dangerous would be to go for red flags, to turn confusion into violent confrontation.
Of course, if the President-elect will willfully break American laws, he can and should be subject to impeachment. But to call for the impeachment of the first days of the administration when there are no obvious violations of the Constitution and laws — it is time for red flags.
Besides, it’s a distrust of the system of checks and balances that stood in the emergency and saved the American statehood.
It is hoped that 100 days trump will be less hot than those, when President Lincoln entered the White house.
Vladislav Zubok is a Professor at the London school of Economics and political science.