Joe Biden and the two Trumpian legacies

Joe Biden, the Democratic U.S. presidential candidate, at an engineering training center in New Alexandria, Pa., September 30, 2020.

In Duluth, a mining town in northern Minnesota on the shores of Lake Superior, pro-Biden and pro-Trump activists were observed on September 18 scolding each other, on the sidelines of a closed meeting of the Democratic presidential candidate. . Whites, of working-class origin in this industrial city, basically very similar. The difference ? “They are there because they cannot stand a black man [Barack Obama] was a great president of the United States for eight years. Most of them are racists ”accuses Democrat Sandy Moe, 72, a union retiree from a US Steel laboratory.

It is undoubtedly excessive, but the point illustrates well the main pillar of Trumpism, the cultural war. The outgoing president thrives on the social conflicts that are tearing the United States apart. Whether it is quarrels over abortion, guns, racism, same-sex marriage, illegal immigrants, Donald Trump won in 2016 by dividing.

And the Republican candidate tries to do it again in 2020: by not showing the slightest compassion after the death at the end of May of the African-American George Floyd suffocated by a white policeman; by crying out loud in the wake of the sometimes violent protests that affected America this summer and sending its opponents to the far left; by proposing for the Supreme Court an ultra-conservative judge, Amy Coney Barrett, who could challenge the right to abortion or the “Obamacare” health law. These fights are not over. They will come back again if Trump is re-elected, while Joe Biden has promised to appease them.

“Made in China”

But there is another pillar of Trumpism, which is more consensual: the slogan “Make America Great Again”. With his 2016 campaign, the Republican candidate resolutely turned his back on three decades of happy globalization and marked America’s return to its foundations, in a curious mixture of isolationism and unilateralism. It is this second pillar that allowed Donald Trump to garner the votes of 66 million American voters in 2016, or 46.1% of the vote.

Four years later, we see that this Trumpism accompanied a deep movement that Joe Biden will not question. Admittedly, the former vice-president of Barack Obama is described as “Made in China” by his opponent, for having approved the free trade treaties of the last decades as well as the entry of China into the World Trade Organization (WTO). In fact, Joe Biden has also become more protectionist since the election of Donald Trump, as evidenced by his election platform for blue-collar workers “Buy American and Make it in America” ​​(buy American and make it in America). On this point, Joe Biden and Donald Trump both address themselves in similar terms to the militants of both camps who revolted at Duluth.

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