Age of Trump: A 'Revolution' Win or Lose

Donald Trump wants to throw Muslims out of the United States - even if they are American citizens. Donald Trump wants to "close up" the Internet so has summoned Bill Gates. Petersburg Florida Mayor Rick Kriseman has banned Trump from his city and Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling has tweeted that not even Voldemort is as cruel as Trump. It matters little that religious-based discrimination is prohibited by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, that Bill Gates himself detested the Web when he was at Microsoft, that Mayor Kriseman can stop no one from crossing his city unless it is a danger to the public and that Rowling’s Tweet brings new headlines: for now as far as the media is concerned, the 2016 campaign for the White House is "Donald against all. "

To understand a revolution - and the Trump campaign, win or no win - is a revolution, we need to abandon old ways of monitoring these things. A February 1 opinion poll on the Iowa caucuses by Monmouth University put conservative Ted Cruz ahead of Trump with 24 percent over 19 percent thanks to support from evangelical Christians. CNN has different numbers: Trump is flying high at 33 percent with Cruz stuck at 20 percent. Big data guru Nate Silver explained the discrepancy by saying Cruz is ahead among people who will definitely vote, while Trump is ahead among those who say perhaps they will, perhaps they won’t. That seems like bad news for the New York property speculator. Silver assesses his chance of being elected, "higher than 0 but (considerably) less than 20 percent, "because he has only 8 percent of the real electorate or "about the same share of people who think the Apollo moon landings were faked." However in politics words matter as much as numbers and Trump is dominating the conversation about U.S. policy, shifting the axis of the Republican Party toward populism and making jokes about women, minorities and religious faith that up to now would have been unacceptable.


Trump has violently exposed the worn-out state of old media: newspapers, TV and talk shows confronted with the new reality. When they reproach him for his gaffes or lies, they forget that only one voter in five is listening to the debates, while the others seek comfort by reinforcing their preexisting opinions via Google - so many of them like Trump.

The right-wing of the respectable Grand Old Party is at pains to see the party base flirting with "The Donald." Max Boot, a hawk at the time of Bush Jr., calls Trump a "fascist; " Bill Kristol, another intellectual of the cultured right, considers him "anti-American." Boot works at establishment hotbed The Council on Foreign Relations and is a graduate of Yale. Kristol is the son of two famous writers and studied at Harvard before going to the White House with Bush Sr. There are people shouting themselves hoarse at Trump’s rallies who are high school dropouts and lack a decent job because the American industrial base has been transferred abroad or frozen real wages for years. As E. J. Dionne of The Washington Post explains, the Republican Party of the neo-cons is greatly preoccupied with Wall Street, Iraq and abortion, but since Reagan in 1980-88 has paid no attention at all to forgotten suburban and rural voters who earn less than $50,000 a year.

Trump, with the vulgarity of a nouveau riche, a mop of red hair like a philistine, 35-25-35 platinum blondes, chromium-plated palaces, neon-lit casinos and racist rhetoric - disgusts the establishment left and right, but attracts those left behind by globalization, who eat eggs and grits for breakfast or in the South maize porridge rather than cappuccino and croissants; people who dream of a brand-new pick-up truck and not a fashionable iPhone. By bringing this forgotten social class into play again, Trump has already won. In the 1900s, rural and industrial workers had never voted for a Republican president. To succeed – and to disprove Silver, Boot and Kristol – Trump has to repeat the exploits of left-wing British Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn by bringing to the polls thousands of new voters that Big Data doesn't detect. It is hard to imagine a Trump in the White House, but it is easy to foresee that his language will long be discussed in this season of paranoia through which we are living.