Opinion: What side of Trump will the US see on Election Day? | Opinion | DW | 22.10.2016
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US election

Opinion: What side of Trump will the US see on Election Day?

Trump's popularity ratings at the moment indicate that he will probably not win the US presidential election. But what happens then?

Donald Trump will only accept the outcome of the election if he wins. And what happens if he doesn't? Will he call for a revolution? Trump is vague about his intentions. He is obviously looking for a new role to play after the foreseeable election defeat. He will probably present himself as an extra-governmental, nonpartisan opposition leader, the voice of angry white men and champion of the losers of globalization.

Will he vanish as quickly as he appeared?

Many people think he ought to. But it is not that simple. The success of his populism is symptomatic of many Western societies. It is obvious that the gap between rich and poor in the United States is widening and a growing number of jobs pay so little that families can barely live off their earnings. Many women do not even have the choice between work or staying at home with their children. They have to work because they need the money.

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Miodrag Soric heads DW's Washington bureau

Nobody can deny the fact that America's bridges, streets and train tracks are falling apart while billions of dollars are wasted on wars. There always seems to be enough money for weapons but not for war veterans, who often resort to begging on city streets across the US.

Who can deny the fact that hundreds of thousands of children - mostly Latinos and African Americans - grow up in neighborhoods where schools are so bad that students have almost no chance of securing a good job later in life? Social cohesion will not be improved by cutting spending for the poor.

America's afflictions are well-known, yet Democrats and Republicans have become so entangled in a power struggle that they have lost sight of their job - to govern the country. The people's disillusionment with elites and the effects of globalization have paved the way for Trump-style populism. Trump acts like an outsider but has given money to Democratic and Republican campaigns for decades, and now he says he wants to fight corruption.

Democracy is being questioned

Why is Trump so dangerous? He not only questions the outcome of a democratic election but also democracy itself as he incites the citizens' distrust of state institutions - and even cites America's founding fathers as a reason to do so. Trump says that they too were skeptical about the central government, albeit for other reasons.

Right now, there is no threat to social peace in the US. There are no signs of a "revolt of the lower class" that German journalist and author Inge Klöpfer predicted years ago. Most Americans see through Trump's facade: First, he incites fears; then, he comes to the rescue. That is why the elections will go smoothly, despite all the prophecies of doom. But the next US president must quickly build bridges - to political opponents, minorities and to the millions who want to live the American dream but have been shut out for economic reasons.

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