"The Rise of the Amateur Politician President
and the State of American Politics:
Trump, Populism, and Globalization,"
Japan Association of International Relations ed.
RELATIONS, Vol 192 (March 2018)
In November 2016, Republican Donald Trump was elected the 45th president
of the United States in a major upset. He was a complete political
Trump won the close election against Democrat Hillary Clinton largely
he carried Rust Belt swing states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan
Wisconsin. It seemed that his populist, anti-foreign and protectionist
had attracted white working class voters in the Rust Belt, who had not
benefits of globalization.
Still, the sudden rise of the amateur politician president is not easy
understand. Given that the labor market had recovered from the Great
and the U.S. Economy was on a path toward recovery, why and how did
voters give victory to a populist candidate like Trump? To answer that
we need to understand the 2016 election in the broad context of
It is assumed that the rising tide of populism which brought this
to Trump was not the result of a single factor, but rather a set of
article focuses on five factors which have caused populist movements in
change in the industrial structure, globalization, a deep recession,
distrust of politics,
and cultural backlash. This article discusses the 2016 election in
each of these factors and offers specific examples of populist
movements in the
past in an effort to reinterpret the contemporary history of the United
The background of the rise of populism in the 2016 election was public
of politics. Outsider Trump successfully convinced voters that he would
anti-establishment president. If the two major political parties had
performed their function of interest aggregation, there would have been
chance for an outsider to win the presidential election. The Republican
inherited Reagan’s conservative coalition from the 1980s, while the
Party had inherited Bill Clinton’s center-left coalition from the
the 2016 election marked the end of an era. Trump and his supporters
so much interested in Reaganism, and Bernie Sanders and the liberal
Since the end of the Cold War, income inequality in the United States
markedly, and many people have come to believe that this was caused by
and globalization. American workers have felt left behind by the
and are demanding major change in that system. At the very least,
should shake up the old architecture of the two-party system.
Copyright (C) Tatsuhiro Nishioka. All Rights Reserved.