In order to avoid unnecessary arguments, I will agree that corporate globalization – and let’s not forget financialization – and the retreat from class by the dominant makers and shakers in the Democratic Party over four decades do figure into any analysis of the elections and its outcome. But they don’t explain everything as some of the economic populists and people on the left seem to suggest. Many other factors bear on the outcome, especially the role of racism, sexism and misogyny, nativism, xenophobia, homophobia, and the mischief of the right wing, the media, and FBI. Political (or if you like class) formation, understanding, and unity are constructed on more than the economic level. Indeed, the “economic” doesn’t stand apart in all of its grandeur untainted by everything swirling around and through it. Nor does it decide everything “in the last instance.” It has a considerable role to play for sure, but it doesn’t wait until the final curtain is about to fall to have its say.
That said, tomorrow I will post some observations that make the case that it wasn’t globalization at all (if by that we mean the abandonment of capital from domestic sites where it has long been sunk in favor of other sites in far flung regions of the world) that set the stage for the overperformance of Trump in huge swathes of rural and small town America. Instead it was its opposite, that is, the inward and massive penetration of agro-and commercial capital – Walmart anyone – into these same parts of the country that did. But I would add that the transformative and thoroughly disruptive changes that this movement of capital brought in its wake only set the stage for Trump’s overperformance on election day in rural and small town America. Who then orchestrated it, besides Trump himself? It was, simply put, the sustained intervention of an organizing element and right wing extremism, whose rise and ascendancy coincided with these underlying economic and social transformations, assiduously performed that role in this election, and long before.