Donald Trump’s victory came as a shock to many, but not to renowned scholar and activist Noam Chomsky, who foresaw a similar outcome in 2010. Now Chomsky sees “one hopeful prospect” of a Trump presidency.
Speaking in 2010, Chomsky, an MIT professor, described the situation in the US as being similar to that of late Weimar Germany.
“The most striking fact about Weimar was not that the Nazis managed to destroy the Social Democrats and the Communists but that the traditional parties, the Conservative and Liberal parties, were hated and disappeared,” he said.
“If somebody comes along who is charismatic and honest this country is in real trouble because of the frustration, disillusionment, the justified anger and the absence of any coherent response,” he said. “What are people supposed to think if someone says ‘I have got an answer, we have an enemy’? There it was the Jews. Here it will be the illegal immigrants and the blacks.”
Chomsky’s prediction was eerily accurate. Now, six years later, he spoke to TruthOut about the current US political landscape.
Describing the Democratic establishment as the equivalent of “moderate Republicans” of the past, Chomsky pointed to the Republicans’ “dedication to the wealthy and the corporate sector” as rendering them unable to gain support for their programs without mobilizing “evangelicals, nativists, racists and the victims of the forms of globalization.”
“The angry and disaffected are victims of the neoliberal policies of the past generation,” Chomsky said. “These groups share the anger throughout the West at the centrist establishment.”
These voters believe Trump will bring change, “though the merest look at his fiscal and other proposals demonstrates the opposite,” he said.
Chomsky described Trump’s campaign as being “remarkable in its avoidance of issues,” which the media generally complied with.
The president-elect’s unpredictability makes it difficult to tell what a Trump leadership will look like, Chomsky said, but he highlighted Trump’s placing a climate change denier in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition as an indication.
“The Supreme Court will be in the hands of reactionaries for many years, with predictable consequences,” he said.
“One hopeful prospect is that there might be a reduction of the very dangerous and mounting tensions at the Russian border,” he added.
Chomsky described a possible outcome could see Europe aim to “defuse the tensions,” and even “move toward something like Mikhail Gorbachev’s vision of an integrated Eurasian security system without military alliances.”