Trump has shown the way to defeat uninspiring centrism and British politics must do the same, writes Peter Divey
As the first anniversary of Trump’s coronation approaches, U.S. politics remains shocked and bitter. The ferocity and partisanship of the media and commentators has yet to drop from a vigorous boil. The hostility towards Trump is unprecedented. The Democratic party continues with a delusional post defeat non-analysis. Nothing to see here, not our fault. They have opposed Trump fiercely and often successfully but they seem to stand for nothing else. Beyond anti-Trump, the message is confused and incoherent. The Democrats seem convinced that if they shout loud and long the tide must turn because surely Trump will self-implode? The second tactic has been Russia, Russia, Russia. Trump colluded with Putin. This may be about to backfire, a case of be careful what you wish for. Mueller may be able to pick some low hanging fruit such as General Kelly but this will not damage Trump. The harder Mueller looks, the more he sees Clinton, Obama and the Democratic Party staring back at him. Impeachment is a million miles away and wishing for it doesn’t make it so. It is all tactics and no strategy.
The Democrats have no real idea what to do with the “progressive” wing of their party, the voters that flocked to Sanders in huge numbers only to be denied by Party shenanigans. Clinton or bust was the judgement as the Trump train rolled on. The Republicans themselves are so badly split that the GOP is in disarray as “Never-Trumpers” refuse to endorse the President’s agenda. Trump may have won, but as yet the Republican party is unwilling to accept governance under the off-piste intruder. Bannon was pushed outside from within the White House and is attacking Republicans who oppose the President and some have already fallen on their swords, another case of being careful what you wish for. The Republicans are all strategy with few tactics. The 2018 mid-terms will be interesting.
Obama revisionism is under way, a growing realisation that he wasn’t such a wonder. Overrated and under-challenged, history will not be kind to Obama. The Trump phenomenon is being intensely scrutinised. Clinton was awful, probably the only candidate that could lose to Trump yet even beyond that everything stops at Obama. Trump is truly his legacy. Saint Obama will lose his halo and will always regret mocking Trump, the seed of motivation from which candidate Trump sprang.
UK politics is riven with division too. The centre ground has collapsed as voters scrabble to ensure the intolerable doesn’t occur. All magnified through the prism of Brexit. Will a British Trump appear riding in on the back of this situation? Perhaps someone similar can sweep in and save the day for the floundering Tory party with those Trump-like qualities that very few British politicians have: Resolve, fortitude, self-confidence and drive. A winner. Trump would have told the EU where to stick it long before now. Other qualities can be less endearing; assertive, bombastic and offensive, the other side of the coin.
We are probably stuck with PM May now through until the next election. Will Brexit still be in process then? I fear so, and the election will be lost and then it will be too late to wait for a saviour to ride in from over the horizon. Even Trump himself couldn’t save the UK from Corbyn. Leavers will have won the battle only to lose the war. But as we have seen, the fantastic can happen. Better late than never.