Tuesday, July 12, 2016


The US presidential race is leaving all exhausted and incredulous.  Played against a background of structural contradictions which pile-up, this endless political process feels merciless.  The conventions promise to be yet another repeat of the well-known arguments, pro and contra. Both nominees risk being chosen "by default".

Everything has been said about Secretary Clinton and Donald Trump.  This battle royal (?) opposes a demagogue with flair against a political wizard with skills.  The Republicans try to abduct the political agenda by filling the narrative with rumors better fit for a tabloid than for a mature debate. Secretary Clinton is obliged, for the time being, to play "defense".

Actually there is the broader issue of the overall American disenchantment. The country and the political culture had been on a "vertical" path but the sustainability of yesterday's upward mobility is now being questioned.  The Americans live under the assumption that they are now stuck in a "horizontal" model, due to the gridlock in matters of income, race, health and education. This perception is partially correct because heightened productivity also comes with undesirable consequences, although the creation of jobs in America is the envy of the EU.  The US score better than any other comparable economy.

The Democrats are trying to come up with practical adjustments, under pressure from Bernie Sanders who obliges Clinton to adopt a more "progressive, European-styled" program.
Trump plays on emotion and frustration. It is ironic that this "king of real estate" became the master of political primitivism. The Republican elites snub him while the white male working-class voter is supposed to love him. 

America finds itself in an anti-intellectual drydock.  Here, as in Europe, "anti-history" prevails. At least the Brexit wake-up call seems to have awakened the Europeans who are conscious now of the need to review the workings of the EU in all matters.  The US is not there yet. They nurture an infantile emotional depression and turn to any doctor who could share their Angst. Hence they turn to Trump, since both the President and Secretary Clinton are averse to letting frustration become the pole star of political thinking.  It is far too early to risk predictions. A lot might happen which can steal "great expectations" out of the hands of either candidate. The debates between the contenders for the White House will oppose professionalism and amateurism. 

The President invited Senator Ted Cruz to fly with him to Dallas in Air Force One. The gesture is elegant. It is also Machiavellian. Both the inviting party and the invitee take smart risks in being mutually courteous. Ca change!  And in Dallas the President was at his best. It is hard to imagine his successor being able to calibrate emotion in such ways, where everybody feels invited and none is aggrieved.

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