Donald Trump Is Sworn In As 45th President Of The United States

Since Trump’s presidential victory in November I have been speculating back and forth about what a Trump victory and presidency might mean. Right after his win I commented that it was odd that a man who claimed to oppose the establishment was able to win in the first place. I found it strange that the deep state—the financial, corporate and economic powers that actually run the US, using the military and politicians for their own interests—actually “let him win,” given his campaign rhetoric. I commented that the fact that he won might suggest that there are divisions within the larger establishment with some seeking to change the agenda. One of the first questions I asked was “…is that what Trump represents, the division within the global power structure? Does he have friends in high places that wish to revamp the current global militarized corporate…oligarchy? Or, is he but its latest iteration.” [1] Those questions remain. Since then I have entertained both possibilities: that Trump may have friends in high places that want him in power and helped him get there; or, that he may indeed want to change or challenge some of Washington’s policies.

I have been criticized for the latter, for even wondering whether policy might shift under Trump. Trump has voiced intentions to make changes to economic policy and foreign policy, by moving towards a more protectionist trade economics and improving US-Russia relations, respectively. [2] The question that arises is who or what will such changes serve if they are put into motion? If the elites are “fractured,” then Trump may represent particular factions that want policy changes, such as improved relations with Russia and other changes, for whatever broader reasons.

Noted analyst and journalist Pepe Escobar makes references to possible behind-the-scenes power divisions in a recent article.  Escobar maintains, based on an inside source, that, among many other things, there is a new or competing elite agenda to bring industry and production back to America. [3] This could explain Trump’s emphasis on economic protectionism and making “America great again.”[4] If Trump’s win does represent some type of ‘competing establishment,’ with a new agenda; we may be in store for a clash of the titans.

So where does this leave everyday people– the little guy? If the elites and/or political officials that support Trump wish to see a return to Fordist economics (i.e., American production with “decent” wages) it could mean more jobs. But who knows what else it could mean.[5]

Trump’s popularity had much to do with his ability—genuine or otherwise—to galvanize a type of economic populism among the droves of Americans plagued by unemployment and economic despair. During his campaign, Trump made claims and promises about standing up to corporate power and creating jobs; things people were desperate to hear and issues the identity politics (aka divide and rule)  “liberal left,” which John Pilger aptly points out is neither left nor liberal, [6] has continuously failed to address.

It may be said that Trump was able to fill the vacuum created by the so-called “liberal left.” Years of refusal to address larger common issues—that unite people across the gender and racial spectrum, such as class and unemployment—allowed for the type of economic populism (genuine or not) that Trump tapped into. Many, including ardent Trump detractors, have argued that it was economic populism and a desperate desire to be saved from corporate power that drove most of his supporters. As I’ve argued elsewhere, when interpreted economically, even some of Trump’s racial statements speak to an unemployed population—many of them working class whites—that sees outsourcing and illegal immigration as contributing to joblessness in the US.[7] I’ve been accused of being a racism apologist–by identity politics types–for calling this out (even though I’m a brown immigrant). But that’s okay.

The reality remains that Trump tapped into the economic grievances of large segments of the population. What, if anything, he will do to actually help them, and for what larger purpose, remains unknown.


UPDATE: Two days after this article was written Trump issued an executive order removing the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement that would have worsened the plight of the middle and working class. Bernie Sanders commended his actions, stating: “If President Trump is serious about a new policy to help American workers, then I would be delighted to work with him” –





[4] While global and domestic elites all tend toward globalism, it might be that some are more nationalistic than others and benefit more from “domestic friendly” policies.

[5] If this is some sort of power struggle among elites, the people, as always, will be pawns for their game. Unless, of course, we stop allowing them to divide us and unite, regardless of who is in the White House.