Challenging ideas
On Turkish politics and International affairs

Insight Turkey > Commentaries |

The Legitimacy Crisis of the U.S. Elite and the Rise of Donald Trump

The American political elite’s legitimacy crisis is demonstrated by Trump’s rise by challenging Wall Street, both main parties’ leadership, and limited government. His challenge overlapped with Leftist Bernie Sanders’ who also focused on deep inequalities in the U.S. The crisis is rooted in the neoliberal political-economic model adopted in the 1970s to shore up American elite power but which generated major crises at home and challenges abroad. Such challenges demand a new ‘grand bargain’ that is unlikely to emerge without prolonged domestic political strife and resistance to American global power.

The Legitimacy Crisis of the U S Elite and the

“At a certain point in their historical lives, social classes become detached from their traditional parties. In other words, the traditional parties in that particular organisational form, with the particular men or women who constitute, represent and lead them, are no longer recognised by their class (or fraction of a class) as its expression. When such crises occur, the immediate situation becomes delicate and dangerous, because the field is open for violent solutions, for the activities of unknown forces, represented by charismatic ‘men of destiny.’” Antonio Gramsci 

“Let us wage a moral and political war against the billionaires and corporate leaders, on Wall Street and elsewhere, whose policies and greed are destroying the middle class of America.” U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders

 

Introduction

 

The rise of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States is symptomatic of a deep crisis of American identity and the power and hegemony of the ruling class, particularly of its market-led globalism. American globalism’s corporate core-dynamic has produced gross inequalities of income and wealth that have colonized its political culture and institutions. This has produced a diversionary but deeply-rooted, carefully-nurtured domestic politics characterized by class-based ‘pluto-populist’ white nationalism.1 Internationally, there are challenges from re-emerging powers from the global South, like China and India, demanding a renegotiation of power in the U.S.-led order, and with (rhetorical) nationalist-historical narratives of humiliation during Western colonial rule.2 Conversely, those re-emerging powers, and their elites, have grown influential within the U.S.-led globalist order and therefore sit atop unequal and unstable societies, as they rapidly industrialize and

Already have an account? Sign In.
Print Subscription
4 Print Issues
Subscribe
Digital Subscription
4 Digital Issues
Subscribe
Premium Subscription
4 Print Issues
4 Digital Issues
Subscribe

Labels »