Back in April 2010, Noam Chomsky offered a dark vision of America’s future that was easily dismissed. Today, as America votes Donald Trump President-elect, it has turned out to be painfully accurate.
The philosopher, historian and activist warned of the success a “charismatic figure” would have if one ran for office promising to cure society’s ills, and listed elements of their campaign that would take them to power. The similarities to Trump are manifold and clear, from military force being exalted (Trump consistently heaps praise on the army and secret service) to the scapegoating of illegal immigrants (Trump has vowed to eject them from the country and build a wall between the US and Mexico).
Here’s what he told :
“The United States is extremely lucky that no honest, charismatic figure has arisen. Every charismatic figure is such an obvious crook that he destroys himself, like McCarthy or Nixon or the evangelist preachers. 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. 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. We will be told that white males are a persecuted minority. We will be told we have to defend ourselves and the honor of the nation. Military force will be exalted. People will be beaten up. This could become an overwhelming force. And if it happens it will be more dangerous than Germany. The United States is the world power. Germany was powerful but had more powerful antagonists. I don’t think all this is very far away. If the polls are accurate it is not the Republicans but the right-wing Republicans, the crazed Republicans, who will sweep the next election.”
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Chomsky added that he had “never seen anything like this in my lifetime [and] I am old enough to remember the 1930s.
“The mood of the country is frightening. The level of anger, frustration and hatred of institutions is not organized in a constructive way. It is going off into self-destructive fantasies.”
Trump defied the polls to win the election after sweeping a number of swing states. At the time of writing, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has acknowledged her defeat but has yet to give a concession speech.
Reality TV star Trump appeared before supporters in the early hours of Wednesday morning, vowing to “bind the wounds” after a toxic campaign.
“Thank you everybody. Sorry to have kept you waiting, it’s a complicated business,” Trump said, who looked as surprised as anyone.
At around 3am in New York, Trump’s tally of electoral votes stood at 279, compared to 218 for Clinton. He had secured more than 57m votes, beating his rival by a little under a million in the popular vote