The Duopoly vs. Trump

We bring you an abbreviated transcript of Srdja Trifkovic’s recent interview with Serbia’s Public Media Service on the U.S. election campaign. It was broadcast live on “Agora,” Belgrade Radio II flagship current affairs program primarily aimed at college-educated audience. (Audio. Translated from Serbian by ST)

ST: Hillary Clinton is immune from critical scrutiny by the American media. Its key players are ninety percent left-liberal oriented. She has so many skeletons in her closet that the offerings would provide plenty of material for any genuinely inquisitive journalist. If the media establishment were to scrutinize her record in detail, it would be hardly imaginable that she could win the presidency; but she remains protected by the tacit consensus of editors and commentators in the American public forum . . . At the same time, one of Trump’s problems is that the Republican establishment perceives him as a threat. Neoconservative hawks such as Bill Kristol would rather see [Hillary Clinton] as president than Trump because he is skeptical of America’s global engagement, and has even voiced doubt about the utility of NATO. He has also said that he’d find a common language with Putin. Such views are anathema for the duopoly which rules inside the Washington Beltway. That duopoly consists of the liberal-globalist interventionists, such as Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and Samantha Power on the one side, and the more numerous neoconservative interventionists, embodied in the entire George W. Bush’s national security team on the other. These two culturally cosmopolitan camps have much more in common with each other than the Republican establishment has with the essentially anti-establishmentarian candidate Trump . . .

Q: Some of his comments have been called racist . . .

ST: Trump is accused of “racism” primarily because he has said that he would restrict the influx of Muslim immigrants into the United States, but that is not “racist”: there are Muslims of all color and hue. He is accused of “Islamophobia,” but his is an entirely rational position in the context of everything that has happened and is happening, from Brussels and Paris in recent months to the London underground, the Madrid suburban train, and the Boston marathon over the past decade. Such labels are routinely attached by the media establishment which is rooting for Hillary Clinton. He reflects the views of many Americans who are disgusted by the “political process” and see it as a game in which all cards are marked in advance, and where it does not really matter who gets elected. For them Trump is a dash of fresh air.

It is another question whether he can win the presidential election. The math is complex and unpromising. In some of the large states, such as California and New York, he does not have much of a chance. California has not supported a Republican presidential candidate since Reagan’s second victory in 1984, and New York has not done so since 1988, when Bush-senior was elected. There is a whole host of swing states which Trump would have to win: Iowa, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Florida . . . Bearing in mind how dirty the finale of this campaign will be, and how adamantly the media machine will support Hillary Clinton, this is a tall order. In addition, over the past eight years under Obama we’ve witnessed an accelerated naturalization drive which has made a large number of Latino immigrants eligible to vote. They vote overwhelmingly for Democrats by default, because of that party’s position on welfare programs and immigration. It is hard to tell how important this will be in the swing states, but in some of them a hundred thousand votes can decisively tip the balance. In Florida in 2000 the difference was only a few hundred . . .

Q: Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy and many other politicians in Europe have spoken against Donald Trump. Why such fear and loathing?

ST: For the same reason the American establishment fears and loathes him, because he is not a consensus politician who accepts the center-left-center-right orthodoxies. He rejects the premises of cultural Marxism which have been internalized by the elite class on both sides of the Atlantic. Sarkozy will be a priori against Trump because he is a priori against Marine le Pen. As we’ve seen in French local elections last December, the two establishment parties—Sarkozy’s Republicans and Hollande’s Socialists are all too happy to unite forces in order to stop the Front National. It could be predicted with mathematical precision that those European politicians who are at war with what they call “populism” in their own countries, who demonize those who are opposed to the migrant tsunami—people like [Heinz-Christian] Strache in Austria or Geert Wilders in The Netherlands—that they would also anathematize Trump . . .

[Hillary Clinton] is a cultural-Marxist revolutionary, but she is at the same time an exponent of the military-industrial complex and major financial institutions. They see in her the guarantee of business-as-usual. Trump by contrast is no susceptible to lobbying pressures, which makes him additionally odious . . . His support comes mainly from the voters of European origin, but they now constitute only two-thirds of the American electorate. Even though statistically they are more likely to vote than Latinos or Blacks, Trump would effectively need to capture two-thirds of their votes in order to win the White House. I am very apprehensive of Hillary Clinton, of her mindless interventionism, of her ego which manifests itself in different ways to Trump’s but is even bigger than his—she is truly a dangerous woman—yet having said that, I have to state that in terms of the American electoral arithmetic she has greater chances than Trump.

Q: Some European commentators have said that Trump reminds them of certain populist demagogues of the first half of the twentieth century who have taken Italy into fascism and Germany into nazism. Do you see any similarities, Dr. Trifkovic?

ST: I see what could have been expected: reductio ad Hitlerum. Hitlerizing one’s political opponents has been a well-established left-liberal practice for decades: Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic, Colonel Qaddafi, Bashar al-Assad, Vladimir Putin, so it’s nothing new . . . But Trump is not a statist, and that is a problem. Today more than one-half of all Americans are dependent on the Federal government in some form—either because they work for it directly, or because they work for a company which is one of its many contractors—including the military-industrial complex—or because they are welfare recipients, or because they receive Social Security payments and have Medicare or Medicaid. His stress on fiscal responsibility and budgetary discipline may work against Trump even with some segments of the electorate who otherwise may be sympathetic to him culturally. 

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