Well, here’s one prediction I wish I had got wrong. President Donald J. Trump. Seriously, the United States of America, what the fuck? Of course, it could have been all so different if the Democratic Party had not succumbed to the ambition and hubris of the Clinton dynasty. President Joe Biden, anyone? The similarities between the US and the United Kingdom in recent times are pretty startling, two nations now leaning heavily to the populist and nationalist right (though in the case of “Greater England“, was it not always thus?). The result in both cases has been the politics of “the spectacular” – to borrow a phrase from elsewhere. Neither are likely to prove good for Ireland, whether it is the rolling back of the “soft reunification” witnessed over the last two decades through the re-imposition of a “Brexit border” around the north-east of the island, or the loss of a sympathetic ear in the White House and State Department. Irish-America remains too wedded to the Democratic Party to find many likely allies in a Trump administration.
So where next? Your guess is as good as mine. The institutional conservatism and inertia of American government might well hold a Trump presidency in check. But then again, we thought the same of George W. Bush, yet he and his hawkish cronies took the United States to war in Iraq for reasons that are as opaque as ever. The majority of the 9/11 terrorists came from Saudi Arabia and were backed by prominent Saudi figures inside and outside of the ruling regime – so the US and its coalition attacked Baghdad! With the Republican Party controlling the White House, both houses of Congress and probably the Supreme Court in years to come, the future is looking fairly bleak. Indeed, it’s looking positively dictatorial. Whatever else one might say about Éamon de Valera, he gave us Bunreacht na hÉireann and a revision of the parliamentary democracy and proportional system of voting born in the revolutionary period of 1916-21, and for that we should be eternally grateful.
Meantime, three hours sleep and I’m off to work for twelve. Damn you, Kaiser Drumpf!