11/10/2016, 12.48
JAPAN – UNITED STATES
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Trump’s victory is a revolt against the system. The alliance with Shinzo Abe

by Mark Tardiff*

Trump has won because he heeded popular resentment against the Democratic Party, which has become very close the big Wall Street business and contemptuous for all Americans who think differently from the liberal way (abortion, marriage, immigration). Trump will push for greater militarization of Japan. A veteran US PIME missionary in Japan for years gives his analysis.

Tokyo (AsiaNews) – I wasn't thinking of commenting on the election, but then one of my confrere explicitly asked for my comments, so I thought that I would post them here.

Personally, I don't trust Donald Trump and I don't think that he is qualified to be President, while at the same time I think that Hillary Clinton would be as bad or worse as President. One thing that I think has to be recognized is that Trump read the public mood better than just about everybody else and appealed to it. Basically, I think that his victory represents a revolt against the establishment.

It was first of all a revolt against the Republican establishment, which pursued free trade without consideration of the effect on the economic prospects of middle class Americans. Then there was the war in Iraq, which made the Middle East situation so much worse. Trump was one of the few to publicly criticize that decision.

It was then a revolt against the Democratic establishment, which dominates media, the entertainment industry, the universities, and now increasingly the business world. The Republicans used to be the party of big business, but the current Democratic establishment has become quite cozy with big business and Wall Street. In addition, the Democratic establishment has become increasingly contemptuous of their fellow Americans who disagree with them. Anyone who wants a regulation of immigration, however reasonable, is a bigot. Anyone who wants a screening of Muslim immigrants to keep out jihadists is a bigot. Anyone who holds that marriage is by nature between a man and a woman is a bigot. In short, there are no reasonable disagreements: there are the Democratic positions and there are the bigots.

Hillary Clinton was very much an establishment candidate. The populist candidate on the Democratic side was Bernie Sanders, who attacked this coziness with big business, but it later became known that the Democratic establishment maneuvered to block his candidacy, which disillusioned a lot of Democrats. Hillary said that half of Trump's supporters are a "basket of deplorables." She supports forcing those with moral objections to abortion to pay for them through their taxes. She has said that religious beliefs have to be changed in order to give women greater access to abortion.

In short, I think that Trump tapped into a lot of resentment both concerning economic issues and cultural issues. Whether he will be able to respond to the expectations he raised is a big question.

I followed the election somewhat sporadically from here in Japan. The initial Japanese reactions are a concern about Trump's stated position on trade issues (withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership) and his assertion that Japan ought to pay more for the military protection provided by the U.S. He also made a remark about Japan assuming more direct responsibility for its own defense, something that may be a boost for the present Japanese administration. Prime Minister Abe has pushed through an interpretation of the Japanese Constitution that would allow the Japanese Defense Forces to participate in military actions with Japan's allies. It is clear that the Prime Minister doesn't like the restrictions of the present Constitution (adopted during the U.S. occupation of Japan after the war) on what Japan can do militarily, so Trump's insistence might give him another reason to do what he wants to do anyway.

I found the article below to be among the more insightful ones concerning the background of this election: https://www.firstthings.com/article/2016/08/bigot-baiting#print

* US missionary PIME in Japan

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