“We Americans have demons in our hearts, but another side of our soul is concerned about equality”

Interview. The fictional work of this author very involved in the political life of his country gives pride of place to ordinary people, confronted with difficult lives. He notably wrote American Darling (Actes Sud, 2005) and Distant memory of the skin, (Actes Sud, 2012).

In the aftermath of this election, the result of which is not yet known, what is your feeling?

I went to bed very depressed last night [mardi 3┬ánovembre au soir], but this afternoon, I am a little more optimistic: I think that Joe Biden can be elected president of the United States. However, several things bother me: first, if he wins, it will undoubtedly be a short head, so he will have little room to govern calmly. Then the Democrats are unlikely to win the Senate, which risks weakening the new president. Finally, will Trump calmly accept the result? It’s not win. There are so many angry people in this country, organized groups, armed to the teeth and prone to violence … Eight hundred million guns are in circulation in the United States! Above all, if Trump refused the verdict of the ballot box and the military intervened to restore order, we would typically be in an authoritarian logic.

How do you explain the support that Donald Trump continues to enjoy, after four years of scandals and confusion?

A lot of people worship him, he’s the object of some kind of worship, almost a religion. Among his fans, a sense of tribal identity has replaced political opinions. In their eyes, anyone who challenges their leader rejects them themselves. These are the classic springs of fascist dynamics. This attitude also explains the silence of elected Republican officials during the presidency of Donald Trump: they were terrified at the idea that this base would stop voting for them in local elections. Some people end up loving the power more than the truth.

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Do you have confidence in the institutions of your country?

Our democracy is a very fragile system. It is based on the Constitution of 1787, but also on traditions. But Trump is breaking these unwritten rules. In this he can do a lot of harm, without ever breaking the law positively. For example, today, by asking that we stop the counting of votes before all the ballots have been counted. In his eyes, we can do anything, including things that cannot be done.

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