Why is President Trump so polarizing
Trump, Johnson & Co. : Who polarizes wins
He is the fourth president in 232 years of US democracy to face impeachment. Donald Trump seems to be enjoying that. He thanks the Democrats for the impeachment. The more certain he will win the 2020 election. Boris Johnson reacts in a very similar way to the defeat in Great Britain's Supreme Court. No humility, no admission of mistakes. BoJo calls for new elections. He too is counting on the voters to stand by him.
Their defiance must disturb us as supporters of the liberal constitutional state. Johnson and Trump are accused of serious violations of democratic rules. But they believe that this does not endanger their support among the people, it increases it even more. You may well be right. How is that possible?
First, Western democracies are experiencing a legitimation crisis. Anyone who rebels against “the system” and reveals its weaknesses with humor and audacity will gain popularity. There are plenty of examples of what seems so nonsensical to people, even if it can be justified by law.
Aggressive rhetoric attracts more than arguments
Second, it can be observed in many countries: “Reconciling instead of dividing” is no longer an option. Those who sharpen, polarize and are not afraid of personal attacks are successful. This is especially true in societies that are divided into two large camps on basic issues such as migration or Brexit. There you will not win if you try to convince the undecided with arguments. Rather, those who mobilize their own base better than the opposing camp through aggressive rhetoric.
Third, democracy needs convincing opponents. Today there is a weak point in Great Britain and the USA. Your systems do not produce a compelling alternative. Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn is a deterrent for most Britons. The pro-European Liberal Democrats have little chance of a majority; their voters are focused on big cities.
In the US, the election of candidates via primaries, which is supposed to bring the most suitable person to the top, fails. In 2008 she brought the world the exciting competition, whether Barack Obama would be the first African American or Hillary Clinton as the first woman to run for the then favored Democrats. In 2019, three political retirees over 70 years are ahead. Far too many younger competitors prevent each other from standing out.
The allegations are quickly a thing of the past
Fourth, the impression of the alleged serious defeat will not last long. Johnson will shortly send parliament again on a compulsory break like before every speech from the throne by the Queen, only a shorter one. Trump doesn't have to fear impeachment. Even if the Democrats accuse him, thanks to their majority in the House of Representatives, the two-thirds majority in the Senate, which is necessary for the impeachment, does not come about.
And abuse of office in the Ukraine affair? Trump says Joe Biden is the worse culprit. He too withheld Ukraine aid - allegedly in order to obtain the dismissal of the public prosecutor who was investigating the energy company for which Biden's son worked. The differences between the charges against Biden and Trump are too complicated to reach voters.
Anyone who wants to defeat Trump, Johnson & Co. must not rely on higher morals. He has to win back their voters: through personal contact and policies that improve their everyday lives.
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