Was this really the most important presidential election in recent memory? Yes, answers Andrew J. Bacevich, but only because Donald Trump won—an outcome that alarms Bacevich no less than it does most readers of dotCommonweal. But in his view, a Hillary Clinton victory would have meant postponing an overdue reckoning: "Americans kicking four years further down the road any recognition of just how bland and soulless their politics had become." Bacevich argues that the costs of globalization have not been properly counted by our elites, and that the voters who have suffered the worst effects of globalization are now having their say. It turns out that maybe we haven't reached the End of History after all, and that we may not even know which way its arc is bending. With the election of Trump, Bacevich argues, our politics have suddenly become much more interesting, but also very dangerous. We have every reason to be apprehensive, but also an opportunity to reconsider the "Washington Consensus," which no longer looks so solid. As Bacevich concludes:
The United States finds itself suddenly adrift in uncharted waters. As of January of next year, the captain on the bridge will be unlicensed and unqualified. We may hope that he masters his responsibilities before running the ship aground. In the meantime, the rough seas ahead might provide an incentive for liberals and conservatives alike to give a fresh look to some of those ideological alternatives that we just might have discarded prematurely.
You can read Bacevich's whole essay, titled "The Failure of American Liberalism," here.
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