Mikhail Taratuta: ''Trumpism with all its faults and ugliness is desired in the US''
The well-known Americanist journalist shared with Realnoe Vremya the opinion about the high electoral activity of American citizens, about how strong the positions of President Trump have become and why the next American sanctions against Russia cannot be avoided.
''This political and ideological division of the country has long been overdue''
Mr. Taratuta, looking at the results of the midterm election in the US, one can notice that more and more citizens have begun to go to the polling stations in recent years. What is the reason for such record-breaking activity of American citizens?
In this case, there is one main reason. The thing is that the country is split into two completely irreconcilable camps, there is actually no dialogue between them and the degree of ferocity of these camps to each other has reached the highest level today. This mid-term election, in fact, were a referendum on Trump's rule — as the Democrats and entire liberal front are set against Trump, the struggle was for winning the House of Representatives and, there is no telling what could happen, even the Senate, even though they understood that they would not succeed. In general, the stakes were high, because the results of this election determine the future of Trump (as it seemed to many) and the future policy of the United States — both domestic and foreign. Since there were a lot of opponents of Trump, the Democratic electorate was fully mobilized, but the president did everything possible to mobilize the Republican electorate, and in many ways due to this the voter turnout in the midterm election was unprecedented — Trump spoke at almost every meeting, actively campaigned for candidates from the districts, states, and this gave the result. But it was the intransigence of the camps that led people to the Congress elections, which had often been very sluggish earlier.
Can we say that the American society is politicized like never before?
It is, of course, politicized, but, first of all, polarized.
''This midterm election, in fact, was a referendum on Trump's rule — as the Democrats and entire liberal front are set against Trump, the struggle was for winning the House of Representatives and, there is no telling what could happen, even the Senate, even though they understood that they would not succeed.'' Photo: 2016-god.com
This polarization and politicization of America occurred only because of Donald Trump or everything is more complicated?
Not really because of Trump. This political and ideological division of the country has long been overdue, but it was developing in embryonic form, slowly gaining strength. When Trump came to power, all the sores revealed themselves, and this ''disease'' took an open form — it escalated with terrible force, because, first, the Democrats did not accept the defeat in the 2016 election and they declared resistance to the Trump administration, which was expressed in the war of the press against the US president (the main US media are mainly on the side of the Democrats), in the sabotage of a number of civil servants (including the White House apparatus, State Department, intelligence), in information compromising Trump, in the inhibition of management orders and so on. Besides, Trump was not accepted by the human rights movement of various directions — from ethnic human rights activists to women's movements, and thus, a real front against Trump was formed. Accordingly, the Trump supporters have become more active.
''The only thing that has a bipartisan consensus is Russia, and maybe China''
Could you specify what kind of ''sores'', accumulated in the society, have spurred the political activity of Americans?
First of all, it is the interparty ideological split. These two ruling parties — the Republicans and Democrats — cannot agree on anything at all today. They have no common language and therefore no bipartisan decision is taken. The only thing that has a bipartisan consensus is Russia, and maybe China. This split brewed since the time of Ronald Reagan. But there was no ability to hold a dialogue in the American tradition — the parties may have different views, may argue, ''strike sparks'', but mostly come to a compromise, to a solution acceptable to all, but now it is not so. Besides, there has been a geographical split in the country — the US megacities absolutely do not understand the American provinces. In many ways they oppose, the provinces do not accept the idea of megacities — they think that megacities forgot about their development, that everything is done contrary to their interests, and this is a very serious split. In addition to ideological and geographical divisions, there has been also a gender split — the women's movement, which was thought to be inactive, has turned out to be different — the impetus for this movement has been given by a wave of sexual harassment, which has grown into such an active struggle with them that it has become even caricature. In other cases, unfounded accusations of harassment were enough to make a person to lose his career, to be obstructed and ostracized by the society. In general, there have accumulated a lot of contradictions that required solution, but were not solved.
''Trumpism with all its flaws and maybe even ugliness is being desired in the US. It is desired already at least because Trump is the only politician with whom many voters associate the urgent need for change. In this sense, Donald Trump has won this election.'' Photo: facebook.com/WhiteHouse
You have said that this election was a kind of referendum on trust to Trump. What are the results of this ''referendum''? Have people become to trust Trump more (as the Republicans have increased representation in the Senate) or the trust has decreased (as the Democrats have a preponderance in the lower chamber of the Congress) and because of this Trump is going to have difficult two years of leadership?
Many people before the election said that the result of the election in 2016 was a kind of aberration of the voter, a kind of electoral curiosity, coincidence, because Donald Trump was a non-systemic person, and just unusual for politics and for the presidential post in general. Others said that Trump was a real figure who responded to the request of the society in the United States. What do we see today? Historically, his party lost an average of 37 seats in the House of Representatives in the midterm election of the first term of the president, but now the Democrats have failed to win so many — they have an obvious shortage of seats. Besides, the Democrats have significantly lost seats in the Senate. The Republicans have strengthened the Senate, and in addition, the Republicans have good indicators in the gubernatorial election. In other words, if Trump is so bad, if the liberal front was telling so confidently about this for 2 years, the voter had the right to renounce it, but they did not. This means that Trumpism with all its flaws and maybe even ugliness is desired in the US. It is desired already at least because Trump is the only politician with whom many voters associate the urgent need for change. In this sense, Donald Trump has won the election. Yes, of course, the lower house of the Congress will complicate his life in the remaining two years very much — most likely, it will drown him in investigations. Then he will also have to initiate some steps on the part of the Senate, which he already controls — I think that a lot of investigations against Hillary Clinton are going to begin. The victim of the story with the investigations will be primarily Hillary Clinton: the Republicans have something to say about it and why the prison cell awaits her. But it is important to note that the Republicans have good performance in the local legislature and the gubernatorial corps, and this is a very serious factor for the success of the Republicans in the next election. The local resource can confer a very good favour to the Republicans. Therefore, in the end we can say that Trump definitely has not lost the ''referendum'' and even won it in some senses.
''Trump is the most consistent of all consistent American presidents''
If the people continue to pin their hopes on Trump, does it mean that there is a reason for this? Can we say that the reason is just the Trump's fulfillment of his promises in 2016?
Yes, Trump remains consistent in almost all his promises. He cannot fulfill a number of promises by force of circumstances, but if he has an opportunity to fulfill the promises, he does it. Here Trump is the most consistent of all consistent American presidents. Most importantly, the economy is the Donald Trump's calling card. This is an objective thing and many Americans feel the success of the economy.
''Trump remains consistent in almost all his promises. He cannot fulfill a number of promises by force of circumstances, but if he has an opportunity to fulfill his promises, he does it. Here Trump is the most consistent of all consistent American presidents.'' Photo: facebook.com/WhiteHouse
Do these successes come purely from the decisions of Trump?
Certainly. It is the tax reform that has changed people's incomes, it is the reduction of departmental barriers, instructions and restrictive measures that the Democrats profess. Here Trump has taken very serious measures. Besides, it is the return of jobs, which due to globalization (which is supported by the Democrats) went abroad before. Trump is trying, to some extent successfully, to return these jobs to America. But the main thing in the economy is business confidence and consumer confidence, and these things are in the United States at a very high level, and this is the merit of Trump beyond all question.
If we talk about the post-election steps in the United States against Russia, will everything be reduced to sanctions in the near future?
Sanctions against Russia are going to be imposed in any case. Perhaps, the White House will compete with the Congress for the number of their imposing. I think sanctions against Russia will be imposed all the time during Trump's rule. I do not see any reasons why the relations between the US and Russia can improve. Therefore, we should prepare for bad times in the relationship with America.
Sanctions will be introduced in November or in 2019, with the start of the work of the renewed US Congress?
Most likely, in a few days, but again, sanctions will be permanent.