Long, winding road to Trump

LEP Columnist Barry FreemanLEP Columnist Barry Freeman
LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
So now America has Trump to contend with, and a slight majority find themselves intensely peeved.

As well they might. The other half of this keenly divided country have elected a gameshow host and snake oil salesman to the highest office in the land.

A rollercoaster of embarrassment, fear and shame is begun.

This said, however, those today disgruntled to inhabit such a pungent pickle might now wisely take some time out from their wailing and gnashing of teeth to ponder how exactly they came to find themselves thus sunk.

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A key reason, as veteran journalist John Pilger observed last week – to a banshee chorus of dismay from Britain’s official Obama glee club – is that history is not likely to regard the last eight years in the US as some great liberal leap forward; more an aggressive counter-attack on the part of an ideological project many years in the making.

A project which has over the past half century or so, with the connivance of both main parties, left something like 43 million Americans in poverty.

An estimated 20 million languish in extreme poverty, among these no doubt the more than half a million homeless and inhabitants of the shanty towns which have sprung up on the edge of most major cities.

That this has accompanied the transfer of around $14trillion in public money to Wall Street corporations which hustled the world into economic meltdown in 2007/8 tells us all we need to know.

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Internationally, incidentally, his record is similarly bleak.

Libya remains a catastrophe with no solution in sight, and in 2016 alone Obama dropped an estimated 20,000 bombs – around 72 every day – on some of the poorest people in the world.

None of which is to defend or endorse Trump, merely to place him in context.

A cynical opportunist, who simply identified a gap in the market created by decades of greed, division and graft, alternately mis-sold, Red to Blue, under a banner of either blind patriotism or ‘Hope’.

If half of America hates him they should remember – they helped make him.

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