OPINION

Kolonaki, Boston, Peristeri, Texas

kolonaki-boston-peristeri-texas

The 2020 United States presidential election promises to be a gripping one. No reasonable observer would risk a prediction at the moment about who the Democrats will nominate to take on Donald Trump and whether the incumbent president will be elected to a second term in the White House.

In fact, when you talk about the issue with prominent analysts of American politics you tend to get the most contradictory views: “Trump’s approval ratings are terrible, but the media don’t like to say so because they were so wide off the mark in 2016 and don’t want to make the same mistake twice,” some commentators claim. In the same vein, some say that “Trump has lost the middle class, even bright-red Republican states such as Kentucky or Louisiana.”

Others have completely different opinions: “Trump can still speak to the heart of the average American voter who feels that someone really cares about him. Just look at the passion and the size of the crowds at his campaign rallies,” they say.

The truth is that those who want Trump gone are worried that this will not happen. Their conversations are reminiscent of discussions in Athens in 2017 and 2018 when many pundits insisted that SYRIZA would not lose an election. Some said back then: “Don’t buy everything you hear in Kolonaki or the capital’s northern suburbs. Take a ride to Peristeri or Kokkinia, to get a sense of what people really think.”

Pretty much the same is said around dinner tables in Washington, only the talk is about the bubble of New York, Boston and California, as opposed to the real world of Texas or Missouri. In a year from now, we will know which side was right.

However, regardless of the election outcome, the damage to America runs deep and wide. The country is extremely polarized. Trump has been ruthless in using division as a political instrument. No matter who wins next year’s vote, they will have to deal with this – and uniting American society again will be a very tough job.

The institutions have also suffered a bruising. From the Department of Justice to that of State, one senses the breakdown of traditional institutions and the decision-making apparatus. The exploitation of institutions and divisive policies for political expediency will inevitably leave a mark, even if Trump does not get re-elected. Just as it did in Greece.