For those not familiar with the United States customs, Thanksgiving is a special day that is timed to occur on the last Thursday of November. It is a national day, when families and friends of any race or religion gather to celebrate the nation and the privileges it obtained from democracy and equal opportunity. Unfortunately, the American dream and the values it was embodying have but disappeared, as savage capitalism has replaced a balanced economy. It did happen at the turn of the 19th century and resulted in 1929. Antitrust legislation rebalanced the economy which was able to grow for all in the fifties and the sixties. Unfortunately, the hundred of thousands of American firms that personified the spirit of free enterprise have been reduced to a few thousand, fifty of which dominate the economy. Moreover, the internet revolution that has concentrated power in the hands of America is now in the hands of companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Uber to name a few. With the boost of the coming artificial intelligence, the impact of this type of companies on the accelerating disappearance of traditional little firms is dramatic and would take several articles to convey the influence it will have in the long run on the US and other economies of the world in terms of unemployment, pensions and associated problems and how governments will finance those growing gaps. Thanksgiving, a day which was meant to crystalize on regular basis the gratitude of having obtained freedom, is now followed by black Friday, a feast to celebrate the excesses of consumption, the new idolatry, which Moses would have chastised.
Has this shift in binge buying stimulated by our new economic moguls created a shift in our values that are now reflected in our political choices? If one looks at the electoral climate of the two largest English-speaking economies, the answer must be obvious to most interested observers. Let us start with Great Britain, a long-time model of benevolent democracy. A mere political expedient to pacify the right wing of the conservatives, the so-called “Brexit referendum”, has plunged the country for over three years in one the most tumultuous political crises in its history. Whereas probably half of the population had a view at the time of the initial vote, it can be said that today the don’t know/non interested participants has dropped below 10% but the opinions are now almost equally divided and the level of animosity between the two sides has risen to frightening levels. Common sense and the concern for the interest of the nation, as a whole, seems to have disappeared from a large section of the population. IT has reached such a level that even some Remainers aware of the damage of these divisions are now prepared to vote for Brexit to get on forward and frankly they are the true patriots. Where does that leave us in our prognostics. Well, the Labour leader Corbyn by his extremist attitudes is condemned to lose to Johnson’s, a conservative leader that few revere but is nevertheless the least bad option! So, Brexit will happen in 2020. What happens next is most interesting and only the powers above may know. Will Scotland become independent and rejoin the EU? Will Northern Ireland join with it much larger southern brethren? It would then be only Britain on its own!
How about the new Rome? In the US, Trump has so far maintained his base despite failing the coal miners and most importantly the soya bean farmers. One has to admire, if not approve of his malabaristics in using foreign policy to fortify his political base, the Ukraine episode being just an overblown story. Where are the breakthroughs in Venezuela or North Korea? Have the trade wars benefited the US economy or the exposure of the President? And how about his policies in the Middle East where the repercussions are to be felt for decades. Again, this warrants many pages but its impact on domestic politics is enormous. The American public, especially in the middle country, the Trump stronghold is not familiar with the rest of the world and is quite happy to believe in the self professed prowess’s of their idol. However, it is also evident that well over 50% of the electorate does not want him to preside again. In a normal country, the prognostic would be obvious but in the US it is not. Simple majority of votes does not insure the Presidency. What counts is electoral majority, which is derived by computing the results of each state independently. Trump was elected with a minority national vote but won in a few crucial states namely Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin and his cumulative margin over Hillary Clinton in these states was a mere 107 000 votes compared almost 2.9 million votes deficit on a national basis. So, the Democratic candidate to beat Donald Trump will need to be electable in key marginal states that will tilt the electoral votes to the winner. Whereas all democrats and most independents want to see a new president, the present portfolio of candidates appears weak in front of the political machine assembled by Trump and the Republican party that he usurped and is now his prisoner. Amongst the main contenders Bernie Sanders and Elisabeth Warren propose too many extreme policies that will expose them to be branded as socialists, if not communists. This would frighten many undecided voters and they would lose. Mayor Buttigieg of South Bend Indiana has a lot of charisma, but he suffers the handicap of being married to another man which will in all likelihood undermine the support of the black community. AS for Jeff Biden, the one who would have opposed Trump successfully in 2016, he seems to be overtaken by wear and tear and he does not appear to have what takes to win any more. Recently, a miracle appeared over the forum: Michael Bloomberg the former mayor o New York for 12 years and the very successful businessman and philanthropist. But oh, the democratic press has already emasculated him. He is a misogynist, he is small, he is pro gay marriage, he is Jewish (still a mark of ineligibility) and off course he is a billionaire, I would have thought that it takes a real billionaire to beat an apprentice billionaire but the democratic elite considers it a no-no in this age of frustration! So, the chances are that Trump will reign again and unless there is a democratic majority in both houses he will be left to his own follies.
In both cases common sense should prevail over emotion, but it won’t. So, enjoy Christmas before a tumultuous 2020!