Trumpism: global phenomenon and challenge

Dec 31, 2016 | Trends

By María Teresa Romero

Much has been written about the President-elect Donald Trump, and the most powerful country in the world, the United States. Already, there are plenty of analysis about the reasons that led to his victory, focusing on the style of his election campaign, his demagogic, populist and nationalistic speech, that undoubtedly connected with a big part of US population.

Those issues are essential, but they can’t explain the magnate’s triumph, without considering an international factor: in a globalized world, Trump’s leadership impacts and represents voters, every day more interconnected, that favor banality, simplicity, and superfluousness.

It doesn’t mean that there weren’t nationalistic, populist and nonpartisan leaders like him in history. Of course, there were. That kind of leadership has always existed. However, it had not been as successful as in this age of globalization. Even during the Cold War (1945-1991), there was a strong rejection to this kind of leaders, because they caused the Second World War, i.e., Adolf Hitler.

Indeed, there has been plenty of this kind of leadership since the globalization or post-Cold War in the ’90s, all the way through the second decade of the 21st century. They are known as neo-populist, neo-nationalistic, neo-authoritarian and anti-political, and come from both left and right wings. Examples abound all around the globe, without exception. In Latin America, some names are Alberto Fujimori in Peru; Collor de Mello, Lula Da Silva and Dilma Rousseff in Brazil; Hugo Chávez in Venezuela; Menem and Kirchner spouses in Argentina, and now Donald Trump in the US. Something unthinkable until now.

During the first years of the post-Cold War, there was optimism concerning globalization. Analysts, journalists, and politicians believed in a continuous integration of economies, national states, political systems, cultures, races, genders, religions. Finally, civilization would track towards understanding and unity; of course, under the most reasonable and humanized laws and code values of the Western World and the liberal democracy.

Some thinkers proposed a global government in the future. The most rational and wisest world leaders would be in charge of taking inhabitants to a modern life of integration, where people would tolerate and negotiate differences under an illuminated authority, as never seen before.

Nevertheless, as other authors stated about globalization, -a nonlinear and unpredictable process- there were other effects opposed to those listed above. They were disintegrative effects that wrecked havoc the dream.

So, at individual, regional, national and international levels, and in political, economic, institutional, social, cultural and religious matters, disintegration appeared. In politics, undemocratic, anti-pluralist, illiberal and anti-politics proposals re-emerged, as well as divisions and all kind of nationalism. Which caused the return of populist, anti-partisan and authoritarian leaderships. All of this has been a reaction, an antagonism to the political integration effects of globalization.

Accordingly, Trump or “Trumpism,” while representing all these current trends, has become a global phenomenon, a disintegrative effect of globalization. As such, it represents a challenge both within and outside the US, and therefore it must be globally addressed.