By Olawale Lawal
Donald John Trump is the 45th president of the United States and soon he should leave the stage for Joseph Biden who was elected 46th president in the November 3, 2020 general elections. But no one, not even an unfazed interest in political history, will forget a red-letter 45th president of America who transformed his name to a political ideology known as Trumpism. Trump became the president of the United States on the January 20, 2017 after riding on a four-fold of nationalism, populism, isolationism and protectionism – a quadruple oxygen for political exclusion, to win the November 2016 elections.
Many political analysts often ignore the two fundamental pillars of Trump’s emergence as President of the United States, namely, Trump contested as president at the time neo-nationalist idea was most pricing in the core American consciousness after the shock of Obama presidency that many of them saw as an abnormality. Trump himself was not just a believer of this ethos, he was its major purveyor, even as a private citizen. He spoke many times about Obama’s original nationality in crippling narratives and often wondered how such a thing occurred in the United States. Trump holds a standard fascist right-wing authoritarian views and many white supremacist groups are fundamentally committed to this. The other pillar of Trump’s emergence is not related to his political orientations but to his semi abstinence from politics, perhaps a full breed American politician could not have carried through such reckless political aspersions as he did. Donald Trump was an oligarch who found himself in politics, he is the first president of the United States who neither served in the military nor previously in government and such, he could afford to stir up such divisive sentiments. These two factors worked in unison to serve his emergence.
Trump ran a government, to a degree, unprecedented in American political history but his followers too, to be fair, live in an American society that was unexampled, to the extent that they see the United States as a closed racially integrated society. Today, the United States is a charged society.
The election of Joe Biden simply shows that there are still many more Americans who do not share irredentist political philosophy as a means to change government, and of course, this group is being joined by many coloured people, blacks and migrants. Trump’s reaction to the electoral victory of Biden followed the five psychological expected responses of a person who never prepares for failure, namely: denial, bargaining, settlements, destruction and finally acceptance. This Trump appears as one that will accept after he has totally destroyed. The mob attack on the Capitol Hill was a feeling that accompanies an experience of a thwarted racial goals endorsed by a sitting president of the United States who ordinarily should be in appellate position to all races.
Donald Trump inspired insurrection against democracy in America. Not a few understand the impact of this on democracy until when made to know that America is not exactly the birth place of democracy, but that is the birth place of the acceptance of all the imperfections of majority rule. George Washington accepted democracy as system of government of the United States even when he was well aware of the danger inherent in when the masses make political choice. It was on this ground that the United States has stood over the decades to allocate democratic values around the world and extrapolate this to the level of universal long-range foreign policy goal. But because of Donald Trump, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda now feels he has a counterpart in the United States when he clamped down on his political opponent, Bobi Wine and his supporters. Museveni has won yet in the general elections of his country which will see to the elongation of his already 35- year rule over Uganda. The tragedy is that he has used the political situation in America as perfect illustration to explain an edge he claims to have over Trump and the American political system.
Donald Trump has done well for himself at least since 1971 when he took over his father’s business, he has been a formidable force in the United States, and later rose to be the president, he is a great man in his own right. Unfortunately, his personal achievements come to irreverence when compared to institutional damage he has done to the United States politics. First victim is the presidency and retinue of his executive officers. The Judiciary and the Congress was not spared. Donald Trump was an intruder who invaded the Whitehouse for four years. Hopefully, American institutions have strong enough encrustations to prevent Trumpism as a political order and responses in the United States political system.
Lawal (PhD) is of the Department of History and International Studies at the Lagos State University.