People may as well have sung ‘Unhappy Anniversary’ to US President Trump last Sunday night. January 20 marked two years since he assumed office, and he is in the trenches. He presided over the longest government shutdown ever and suffered a humiliating defeat after not getting funding for ‘the wall’. The inquiry into his collusion with Russia in influencing the 2016 election looms large, with more and more of his allies being indicted. And his popular support is waning – it sits at under 40 per cent.
With fewer loyalists to lean on, he is set for even leaner political times. Yet, with the 2020 election nearly two years out, there is time to contemplate how we got to this point; this era of political madness and mayhem.
“The people who voted for Donald Trump were the white working class in the rustbelt cities. They were most impacted by the Global Financial Crisis, the implosion of the real estate market, and the bail out of the banks. Yet they voted for a reality television star with no experience in government,” says Tara Brabazon, Professor of Cultural Studies and Dean of Graduate Studies at Flinders University.
“Similarly, in the UK, the areas that voted for Brexit gained directly from subsidies and grants from the European Union. Yet xenophobia, racism and fear of difference triumphed over self-interest.”
Together with her colleagues, the late Professor Steve Redhead and PhD graduate Runyararo S. Chivaura, she has written a book exploring the causes behind these outcomes. ‘Trump Studies: An Intellectual Guide to Why Citizens Vote Against Their Interests’ is wide-ranging. It encompasses Baudrillardian philosophy, and celebrates universities’ role in truth-telling and morality-setting. “We live in an era where ignorance is celebrated,” she said. “The subtitle of this book is important.”
Campus Review asked Brabazon to parse out her position in an interview.Do you have an idea for a story?
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