Trump leads to the fall of neoliberalism

Joel Kotkin:
Whatever his grievous shortcomings, President Trump has succeeded in one thing: smashing the once imposing edifice of neoliberalism. His presidency rejects the neoliberal globalist perspective on trade, immigration and foreign relations, including a penchant for military intervention, that has dominated both parties’ political establishments for well over two decades.

Some of Trump’s actions, notably the proposed tariffs, may be crude and even wrong-headed but other moves, notably focus on China’s buying of American technology assets, expose the fundamental weakness of the neoliberal trade regime. Trump’s policy agenda would never have risen if neoliberalism was able to improve the lives of the vast majority of citizens rather than promote stagnation and downward mobility for a large portion of the population.

Neoliberal policies have worked well for those in the upper economic, academic, bureaucratic classes and the cosmopolitan places where they predominate. But what works for Manhattan or Palo Alto, as well as Goldman Sachs or Apple, does not help so much residents of declining industrial cities, small towns and villages which suffered millions of lost jobs due to China or NAFTA.

Trump’s support in these locations reflects a broader global phenomenon. Like the Midwestern and southern towns recently denounced by Hillary Clinton as looking “backward,” neoliberal policies have been rejected by similar geographies in the United Kingdom, as seen in the Brexitvote, and powered nationalist parties in such varied places as Germany, Russia, Slovakia, Hungary, Sweden, Poland and the Netherlands. Most recently Italians, including in the impoverished south, voted largely for anti-immigrant, nationalist and populist parties.

Neoliberal embrace of draconian climate change policies represent one irritant. These tend to hurt natural resource and industrial pursuits that power many smaller city economies. Establishmentarian intellectuals tend to have little regard for the prospects of such places and those who remain in them. Neoliberalism is also associated with uncontrolled mass immigration, which threatens both more conservative cultural norms and the economic prospects of those outside what urbanist Saskia Sassen calls the urban “glamour zone.”

To save themselves, neoliberals increasingly embrace ever more illiberal ideas. China’s progressively authoritarian dictatorship has completely undermined the neoliberal assumption that economic growth would eventually promote the rule of law and democracy. Now China’s approach elicits hosannas from new wave authoritarians, such as Jerry Brown, who see China, easily the world’s greatest greenhouse gas emitter, as a role model for its ability to impose harsh regulatory policies.

Progressive theorist like Harvard’s Yascha Mounk identify Donald Trump, and his European admirers, as latent fascists. But in Trump’s sometimes brutish authoritarian posturing and constitutional ignorance has been broadly stymied by judicial, social and political forces, some even within his own party. In contrast, few progressives, in or out of government, seemed all that concerned when Barack Obama, who knew the Constitution, resorted to rule by his pen and phone. Generally, progressive pundits also support the European Union’s bureaucratic rule, which lords over the continent with very little input from the grassroots.
There is much more. 

Kotkin explains the political and practical effects of the liberal mindset.  Trump is far from a fascist compared to the evils of liberalism which want to dictate every aspect of your life and use "climate change" as an excuse.  From the anti-free speech movement on campuses to the anti-2nd Amendment marches of the left, they are all about taking away your civil rights and imposing a fascist agenda that leads to confiscation of guns and suppressing of descent.


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