January 28, 2017

A Trump Vision? Back to 1925?

After the American Century

If one looks at Mr. Trump's pronouncements and puts them together, the overall goal seems to be a return to the America of 1925, with only a few pieces of the New Deal remaining domestically. In foreign affairs, the US would not rely much on NATO or other alliances, but rather would make bilateral arrangements with other nations when it seemed of benefit.

In the United States of 1925, abortion was illegal, race relations were hierarchical (with whites dominant, of course), and the welfare state was quite modest. The Federal government had an adversarial relationship to most cities, because Prohibition was laxly enforced there, and the strongest supporters of the Republican presidents of that era came from rural and small town America. Trump has already developed an adversarial role with many cities, over illegal immigration.

During the 1920s immigration was severely restricted, and with a strong preference given to northern Europeans, and very small quotas to non-whites. Immigration was easier from Mexico and Canada then, but Trump is intent on closing these loopholes, and putting the US behind an exclusionary wall.
In the 1920s there were also large tariffs on imports, and Americans produced most of what they consumed.

It would seem that the Trump Administration wants the United States to return to this era, perhaps without the jazz music of the "Roaring Twenties," but with the soaring stock market. Last week, for the first time, ever, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose about 20,000.

The rest of the world has changed just  a bit since 1925, however, and it might be hard to re-create that era.