Why did Trump win? Look to post-Cold War politics

Democracy Now!

Jan 9, 2020

To understand Donald Trump’s ascendance to the presidency in 2016, you have to understand the history of globalization since the end of the Cold War. This is what the Quincy Institute’s Andrew Bacevich argues in his new book, “The Age of Illusion: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory.” Bacevich says that after the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union collapsed, a “[U.S.] policy elite, from that moment on, set out to exploit what they believed as our great triumph, and their exploitation took the form of some very specific notions. One of them was globalization — the conviction that corporate capitalism on a global scale was going to create unprecedented wealth.” But while globalization “did make some people really, really rich … it also created economic inequality that we have never seen in our nation — at least, have never seen since the end of the 19th century. It left behind millions and millions of Americans.” Ultimately, Bacevich argues that people voted for Trump in 2016 as a “repudiation” of this post-Cold War economic consensus. “Unfortunately, that led to the election of somebody who is utterly incapable of correcting the mistakes of the post-Cold War period, reuniting the country, and putting us on a more sensible course.”

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