Trump has finally given his definition of what Trumpism is. The former president argued that “many people have asked, ‘What is Trumpism? “A new term that is used more and more … I did not invent the term. But what it means is big things.”
Among these alleged successes, Trump lists the reformulation of the trade deal with Mexico and Canada, his tax cuts and his promotion of economic deregulation. But Trump also links this neoliberal conception – which comes from the Reagan tradition – with a contempt for democratic norms more typical of Latin American far-right populisms, such as Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Nayib Bukele in El Salvador or Keiko Fujimori in Peru.
So, for the leader, Trumpism “means strong borders”, the promotion of weapons among civilians and “that there will be no riots in the streets. It means upholding the law. It means supporting the forgotten men and women who have been harassed. for so many years “.
Coming from a man who converted the democracy of the United States into a victim of its militarization of politics amid a deep political, social and health crisis, this type of definition can only be presented in the alternate world of the narrative. mythical Trumpist.
The peculiarity of the Trumpist definition of Trumpism is that it has no relation to reality, but is an alternative representation of it. Much of the definition is not so much about what Trumpism is, but what it would like to be and also have been.
Trump presented his definition at the most important meeting of Republican Conservatives (CPAC) who, like the vast majority of Republicans, make no distinction between the former party of Abraham Lincoln and the far-right movement that is Trumpism today.
In this sense, the cult of Trump has taken the upper hand and explains why, unlike all previous examples of defeated Republicans – who, after doing an autopsy of defeat, devoted themselves to opposing the concrete measures of the new government. -, Trumpism continues to inhabit magic. world of your story.
In other words, he continues to insist on the big lie that it was Trump who won the election. This prevents them from opposing and proposing alternative measures and insisting, as Trump did, that Biden is anti-science and anti-democratic, is against the rule of law and is also misogynist.
All the attributes – or rather the flaws – that follow the character of the typically authoritarian personality projection, studied by the philosopher Theodor Adorno and his collaborators, actually belong to Trump himself.
The same phenomenon is observed with Bolsonaro, a leader who makes projection, fantasy and unreality the axis of his politics, and the result could not be more irresponsible, leading to the spread of disease and death. of its citizens. It is to be expected that, in his attempt to emulate Trump, Bolsonaro will want to emulate these “doctrinal” attempts.
All personalist governments which present a cult to the leader, in particular fascism and populism, finally feel the need to endow themselves with a doctrinal structure. They want to give themselves an idea that defines the movement and makes it more serious. They try to make it part of the great history of political ideologies in order to give it momentary leadership in transcendent attire.
This is necessary, because at the end of the day an ideology based on the opinions of one person has its limits of legitimacy, both nationally and internationally, but the claim to convert living myth into part of history has above all propaganda motives.
In other words, leaders want to explain the theoretical meaning of their person in order to complement and give gravity to a set of constant tantrums, narcissisms, and twists.
This doctrinal moment is not experienced as a contradiction with the cult of the leader who has always defined everything, but as the moment when the leader decides that it is time to disguise with political theory a set of notions of power, of obedience and violence.
In general, the Doctrinal Moment is nothing more than that, a photograph highly decorated with concepts, ideas, and whims of that precise moment. It is a representation of the ideal world of rulers and followers.
In the past, this happened when rulers were comfortable enough with power to afford to stick to a few sentences. Italian fascism had this moment in 1932, when, aided by the philosopher Giovanni Gentile, Mussolini drafted his definition of fascism.
As often influenced by the thought of Duce, Argentinian Peronism, the original form of populism in power, had its time at the Congress of Philosophy of Mendoza in 1949 with the canonization of the slogan of “organized community”.
Other leaders have used books and television commercials to try to give depth to trivial anecdotes and thoughts, but in Mussolini, Perón, and Trump there is a willingness to link personal work with transcendental work, and when not, we call it fancy.
In fascism not everything was within the state, while in Peronism the community was not as organized or homogenized as Perón would have liked. In the case of Trump, shortly after his defeat, the effects of his government remain disastrous and that is why it is necessary to rewrite his history which makes him part of the myth of the leader. A new rewrite of its myth that can only be taken seriously by its followers and believers.
Therefore, Trump tried to make this doctrinal representation in a world of helplessness and living in fantasy. He only speaks to his fanatics. His myth, also now converted into a doctrine, remains far from a reality of multiple crises created and / or amplified by the outgoing leader.
For the defeated leader, Trumpism implies a future option to “save America” from the “communist” danger, now represented by the Joe Biden administration. And this illusion seems to be more important than protecting people from the pandemic, ending violence, deep inequalities and revitalizing the economy.
Spanish translation by Maria Isabel Santos Lima
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