It is said that Brazil was Keynesian before Keynes, it seems our vanguardism is still going: I propose we’ve been Trumpist before Trump.
There were certainly a series of predecessors to Trump, which either means the world had been slowly preparing itself or the USA are not really a starter of things anymore (which actually is close to what Trump says). That blonde bozo in the UKIP looks like Trump’s clone. Under a certain light, even the Arab Spring could be seen as dissatisfaction with politics as usual. And later, when an Arab Spring lookalike happened in 2013, Dilma was completely flabergasted. But still she was a politician pretending to not do politics, and therefore it might be instructive to study her fate, if you want to guess how bad the world will go for the next few years — and if you want to understand what is post-truth!
Regarding Trump, someone said “Reagan was a joke until he was President. Trump is a joke.” And now he is president. There is a certain similarity with Lula being Enéas until he was president. That is, Lula was a shouting, accusatorial, righteous and fundamentally unelectable candidate until he was president. The year he was elected was also the year a marketing executive created a “peace & love” image for him, which might or might not be a coincidence. One way or the other, his rise to power meant the old structures of power were not working as they used to. But Lula was certainly a politician.
Now when it was time to find a successor, he chose Dilma (it is said that he did this personally out of his own fancy and against everyone else’s advice). She was never a charismatic figure, but i suspect this was part of the play. Her sales talk was in the line of “look, I am not some great leader of masses, I am here to do a job, to work, not to make speeches”. It probably helped a lot that her adversary had something like anti-charisma. Anyway, she was elected. The play was a success. Ironically her not-a-politician pose was almost a copy of the usual rightwing talk, the so-called technocratic ideology. But recently the same strategy has again been employed by rightwing candidates in the mayoral elections.
If i compare Dilma to Trump, it might seem i am predicting a Trump impeachment, but that is not the case. Remember Dilma was reelected even though the second time she was running against the wonder-boy son of the heroic martir-like first president after the dictatorship. But it is curious that, even though a distaste for “politics as usual” was part of what took her to office, when in 2013 there were a series of protests against politics as usual she had very little to offer.
Trump has been called the harbringer of “Post-Truth Politics”. I think Dilma shows things are a tad more complicated. It is not that truth doesn’t matter anymore, it is that no one believes in party lines anymore. But party lines are carefully constructed to not be lies. Even though they are misleading, they are not misleading in a way that can easily be exposed as untrue. Thus outright lying is a powerful way to show you don’t care about the party line. Thus this “Post-Truth” thing actually is more like “talk is cheap”, in other words it is a disregard for words and speeches in favor of what people actually do, and you could easily call that Truth-oriented politics if you so wanted (and the media just can’t do it because it exposes the very essence of what journalism is, IE paid-for writing).
One thing that i do believe Dilma’s fate forecasts for Trump is that winning the election is not the end of the fight against politics as usual. Brazilian political stablishment could not displace Dilma through voting, but it certainly could do it in a variety of other ways, and what in the end fueled the impeachment were political reasons — more precisely high level bribery schemes were under investigation, Dilma was against using political influence to cover things up, so she was replaced by someone who would.
To put it another way, Trump can’t rely on not being fake all the time. This might seem quite surprising, because Trump takes fakery to an art level, but his is a comedian fakery, that kind of fakery that reveals reality in a surprising way. So for example he meant that immigration had to be taken seriously, and he said so through a joke, that he would build a wall against Mexico. Trump remains very true to his past self as reality-TV host. And one very important thing about Reality-TV is that, as artificial as it is, it “reproduces” power plays that do exist in untelevised society. The structure where you compete against everyone else not to win something but to avoid losing — that is the very heart of so-called late capitalism. (Silvia Viana’s book about the subject can’t be praised enough). What is laking in that fakery is the kind of fake were a corrupt candidate campaigns as “hunter of marajas”. The political kind of fakery. The political kind of fakery is important because it creates ideas out of thin air, but then it uses those to organize society. And this is useful.
The Arab Spring shows that if popular disgust replaces a politician, the next guy can be as hated as the previous. That would indicate Trump will be hated all through his term, just as much as he was hated before. The victims of “The Apprentice” certainly hated him but even then subjected themselves to his abuse. Because that’s how things work. The cynicism of it is sickening, but less sickening than Obama’s cardboard Hope. There is a kind of pragmatism in it that shouldn’t be overlooked. In that, i think the USA got the best of their 3 candidates. Which is a bummer, i always hope they will get the worst possible. But in that case i guess i must be happy. After all, i give the woman a 50% chance of nuclear war.