“In an America shaken by Covid-19 and the recession, Trumpist magic is still at work”

Donald Trump at a campaign event at Des Moines International Airport in Iowa on October 14.

Chronic. On very good days, he flirts with almost half of Americans. He was elected with 46% of the vote in 2016. Polls now give him more than 40%. On the eve of the presidential election on November 3, Donald Trump’s popularity did not collapse. Four years of noise and fury, four years of a political squabble where lies have been daily have done nothing. In an America shaken by Covid-19 and the recession, Trumpist magic is still at work: no one risks betting for sure on the defeat of the 45e President of the United States. Why ?

Trump does not open a book, but he inspires journalists and essayists, all busy shedding light on the elements of a tremendous political success. Too often overlooked, much of the explanation lies in the economy in its pre-Covid-19 state. The figures were good and the confidence, that of consumers and investors, at the rendezvous, recalled recently The world. 3.5% unemployment rate, a record; continuously declining poverty rate; rising wages; highest annual median income ($ 68,703, about € 58,390); Wall Street at the top: with such a scoreboard, we do not lose an election.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Before the Covid-19 epidemic, the poverty rate in the United States was at its lowest in 60 years

Thunderous promoter of his own “Genius” – “I am a stable genius”, he says – Trump takes credit for the performance of the pre-Covid-19 economy. Never mind that the American economy, put back on track by Democrat Barack Obama, was “riding” on an expansion that was already seven years old when Trump took over the White House. It does not matter that one of the electoral bases of Trumpism, the white men without diplomas, plunged into poverty by robotization and globalization, remained in a misery that the consumption of opioids hardly alleviates. It doesn’t matter: the outgoing president claims ownership of the economic situation when it is good – that’s the rule.

In their America Trump years (Gallimard, 400 pages, 23 euros), Jérôme Cartillier, AFP correspondent at the White House, and Gilles Paris, correspondent for World in Washington, delicately explore an aspect of the character that is seldom put forward: his mastery of social networks, his genius as a reality TV huckster, his foreknowledge of what his electorate thinks. Even in a man devoid of any moral sense and primarily attached to satisfying a narcissism with pathological dimensions, one can speak of political talent.

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