Photographer:Fotograaf: Simone Golob
MAASTRICHT. As president of the United States, Donald Trump will press the NATO partners to spend more money on defense, but also: to deal more adequately with immigrants and refugees. “This has nothing to do with the number of refugees the European nations should take in, but with the way you incorporate them into your culture. America knows how to do this, Europe doesn’t. Europe creates terrorists.” These were the words of Ruud Janssens, professor of American Studies at the University of Amsterdam, at a Studium Generale event in the theatre of the Minderbroedersberg last Monday.
In his foreign policy, Janssens says, Trumps plans are unclear. “Probably he is going to increase the size of the army, navy and air force. He will focus on the defeat of IS and radical Islamic terrorism, on better trade deals and on improving cyber security. He will invest more time and money in East Asia than in Europe. Relations with Russia may flourish if Trump wins, but I expect at the same time that Russia and China will test Trump from the beginning. How firm is this American president?”
Nevertheless, the Republicans have a mess to clean up. They are divided as a party, and the constant insults by Trump have alienated Latinos and women. There are concerns, too, about traditional white Republican voters: they are, as Janssens shows, decreasing in number. In 2012, 63 percent of voters were white; by 2060 this will drop to 43 percent. Meanwhile, the proportion of Hispanic voters – including the Latinos Trump called murderers, rapists and criminals – will increase from 17 to 31 percent. “One fear is that polarization might grow, along the lines of men and women, whites and non-whites, especially in states like Arizona, where lots of Republicans live as well as Latinos, who form 30 percent of the population. Some are afraid of a clash of minorities.”
In general, many voters are “disgusted by politics”. Whereas 80 percent of Americans had a fair amount of trust in the state in 1999, that figure now stands at only 62 percent. “Many don’t believe in the American Dream anymore. The rich have become richer and the poor are doing worse. And the elite have more influence and rights than ever. That’s why Bernie Sanders became so popular. He addressed this discontent successfully – which is also why Clinton incorporated Sanders’s spearheads in her campaign.”