The ‘Paradise Papers’ expose Trump’s fake populism

Ishaan Tharoor writes: President Trump entered the White House on a platform of populist rage. He channeled ire against the perceived perfidy and corruption of a shadowy world of cosmopolitan elites. He labeled his opponent Hillary Clinton a “globalist” — an establishment apparatchik supposedly motivated more by her ties to wealthy concerns elsewhere than by true patriotic sentiment.

“We will no longer surrender this country, or its people, to the false song of globalism,” Trump declared in a campaign speech in 2016, setting the stage for his “America First” agenda. The message was effective, winning over voters who felt they had lost out in an age defined by globalization, free trade and powerful multinational corporations.

Fast-forward a year, though, and it’s worth asking whether Trump — a scion of metropolitan privilege and a jet-setting tycoon who has long basked in his private world of gilded excess — ever seriously believed any of his own populist screeds. Little he has done since coming to power suggests a meaningful interest in uplifting the working class or addressing widening social inequities. Indeed, much of the legislation that he and his Republican allies are seeking to push through suggests the exact opposite. [Continue reading…]

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Comments

  1. While it’s dramatic to go on about ‘policy’ and how the irate masses rose up, let’s not lose sight of the fact that Trump “entered the White House” because of a bizarre quirk in the country’s electoral system — with a 3-million vote deficit propelled by massive voter suppression, a heavy-duty foreign-based propaganda effort, and a beautifully-timed act of inference in the campaign process by the head of the federal police. And that’s just what we know about.

    Taking it to be important whether Trump “ever seriously believed” this or that belongs to a universe that doesn’t closely resemble the one ‘our democracy’ operates in.

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