Instant Opinion: ‘America, what the hell happens now?’

The Week’s daily round-up highlights the five best opinion pieces from across the British and international media, with excerpts from each.

1. Marina Hyde in The Guardian

on the end of optimism

OK, America, so what the hell happens now?

“Of course, the 2020 US presidential election situation is still very much developing, and by the time you read this, there could be a lot of hostages to fortune. Or even just hostages. Rule nothing out. Nothing, perhaps, except moral optimism. People used to say that irony died when Henry Kissinger won the Nobel peace prize – but the real victim was actually the Nobel peace prize. It’s hard not to think something of an order of magnitude is now true of the US presidency, which forever after this time will be seen as a job that a man of the character of Donald Trump was able to get. Maybe even twice – or as near as dammit.”

2. Stephen Collinson on CNN

on the president’s early intervention

Trump’s call to halt vote counts is his most brazen swipe at democracy yet

“President Donald Trump’s demand for vote counting to stop in an election that is still undecided may have been his most extreme and dangerous assault on the institutions of democracy yet in a presidency replete with them. Trump’s remarks essentially amounted to a demand for the legally cast votes of American citizens not to be recorded in a historic act of disenfranchisement. His rhetorical broadside was also notable because it came at a moment of huge tension in a deeply divided nation – a time when a president, even one whose political fate is in the process of being written – could be expected to call for calm.”

READ  Parliament has a ‘drink and drugs problem made worse by the high-pressure late-night sittings’, warns senior MP
3. Daniel Finkelstein in The Times

on what the results so far tell us

America’s political and cultural divide is widening

“Yet Donald Trump’s pretty robust electoral performance — and it is that, whatever the final result — is still striking. What it means is that you can say crass things, be obviously boastful, behave in an erratic fashion, be completely undignified, lose members of staff all the time and insult them as they leave, tweet eccentric rants using capital letters, get impeached and still be a competitive candidate to retain office. It is not that Trump’s voters fail to notice this behaviour, and some of them are embarrassed by it. But they feel that whatever he is, he is on their behalf. And that matters more to them than democratic and liberal norms.”

4. Janet Daley in The Daily Telegraph

on the Democrats failings

This worst possible US election outcome could very soon begin to look like civil war

“The trap for liberals and the Democratic party was that in attacking him and his character, they were also seen to be rejecting his economic solutions – and that made them appear to be indifferent to the desperation of rust belt America and the concerns of large numbers of struggling middle class people. What would have happened if the Democrats had shown more interest in those policies? Instead of insisting that everything that Trump was proposing had to be tainted by his repugnant behaviour – which will certainly become more egregious if he manages to win a second term – why couldn’t they ask themselves why his programme had so much appeal for precisely the sort of blue collar Americans that they used to regard as their own?”

READ  Jeremy Corbyn facing 10 resignations - could Labour leader be OUSTED over Brexit BETRAYAL?
5. Tom Peck in The Independent

on a lack of closure

America had the chance to draw a definitive line under Donald Trump’s presidency – and has turned it down

“If populism, authoritarianism, racism, vulgarity, misogyny and all the dismal rest of it slipped in through America’s back door four years ago, then that is how it will leave again. It has not been defenestrated. Its baggy suits and elongated ties are not strewn over the front lawn. If there is to be a separation, it will be an amicable one, and quite possibly only temporary. There may yet be no separation at all… Broad brush strokes were what was required. Clear and certain narratives. The rejection of all this should not have come down to the nitty gritty. Barack Obama called it the most important election of his lifetime. It was equally important it had a clear answer, but that did not happen.”


Leave a Reply