Trump doctrines will exist regardless of who wins US election

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/11/5 19:50:45

US President Donald Trump addressed supporters from a White House balcony on Saturday America Eastern Standard Time, his first public appearance since he tested positive for COVID-19 on October 1. White House sent out 2,000 invitations out but only few hundred people attended the event, according to US media. Photo: VCG

Editor's Note:

The result of the US presidential election is yet to come. As of press time, Democratic candidate Joe Biden has received 264 electoral votes, only six short of the 270 needed to become the new president, and incumbent President Donald Trump had only 214. Even if Biden gets elected, will Trump and his doctrines disappear? Will there be another Trump from the Democratic Party? The Global Times collected the views of two experts on these issues.

Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University

No matter who wins the election, more Trump-style politicians may emerge in the US in years to come, probably from both the Republican Party and Democratic Party. 

Trump proposes America First, not to pay much effort in international affairs or take unnecessary global responsibilities. As long as Trump believes a treaty or an organization does not fit US interests, he will make a quick divorce from it. Many of his measures reflect what the US public wants, at least a large proportion of them. This time, although Biden leads Trump as of press time, the election also shows that almost half of the voters support Trump. The election of Trump four years ago was never an accidental incident. Populism has already become a powerful trend in the country. 

As long as such a populist public trend exists, it is very likely that in the future more and more untraditional politicians will have no alternative but to step on Trump's path in order to win more support. After all, winning elections are US politicians' ultimate goal. Therefore, more Trumps may come into being because they will justify their approach by their goal. I call it the Trump Phenomenon. 

Even if Biden wins, it does not necessarily indicate how popular his policy is. The epidemic in the US is shocking. And Trump's handling of the crisis can be argued as awful. But nearly half of Americans still support him. It means his doctrines and philosophy astonishingly enjoy broad support in the US. This is worth our attention. 

Zhang Tengjun, an assistant research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies

This year's election is all about Trump. Several surveys show that whether one approves of Trump's governance is a key factor of his vote. Many Democrats voted for Biden not because they are in favor of Biden but because they oppose Trump and hope to kick him out. Therefore, this year's election is about voting for or against a certain person's personality.

Those voting for Trump are mostly frenetic people who truly share his ideas. Judging from the number of votes Trump has obtained, his support did not drop because of his political performance or the controversies around him; rather, it has increased. It means that Trumpism is very solid, and this will have a profound impact on the future.

If Biden gets elected, the Democratic Party is bound to face a bumpy road ahead. As the opposition party, the Republicans will keep attacking the Democrats and obstruct the latter's governance. On the other hand, the Democratic Party has problems from within. In the past four years, there has already been a split within the party, represented by moderates like Joe Biden and left-wing radical forces like Bernie Sanders. During the Democratic primaries earlier this year, such division was already apparent. Four years under Biden could see further division. The Democratic Party would face a rivalry from within as well as competition from the Republican Party.

One should not be too naïve to believe that with Trump's departure, the social environment that brews Trumpism would disappear. On the contrary, the forces represented by Trump will continue to exist and affect US politics. Trump's ilk will inherent his doctrines. The US needs more than four years to digest the long-term destructive impact on US politics from Trump's rule. 

As for the Democrats, since its internal division is inevitable, it is likely that a politician who always thinks otherwise would emerge from the left-wing radical forces.

No matter who eventually takes the oath, the world will see a divided US for a long time. Partisan confrontation, social split and racial issues would not get relieved, because the new administration does not have the ability to bridge differences. Division will be the long-term theme of US politics. 

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

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