The rise of populism gave much leeway to non-standard, unpredictable patterns such as the case of Donald Trump becoming the 45th US President. Needless to say, the first year has been an interesting one for many including myself who didn’t vote during the 2017 elections. Donald Trump’s presidency has been marked with scandal, potential corruption, turbulence, and a polarised, divided American public.
On top of it all, including the paranoia and concern about Russia’s electoral hacking and interference, is the progressive move towards authoritarian rule in the land of 50 states. Trump’s cabinet retention rate stands at around 42%. This is the lowest of any sitting US president in recent times according to Jeff Shesol.
Yesterday, Rex Tillerson was purged in the latest of a string of high profile firings or resignations. There are others that could be purged and probably someone like Jeff Sessions comes next. Whatever the case may be, the concern is that when more and more of those ‘opposers’ leave, there is nobody who can oppose or give different opinions. It’s a sign that there is no stabilization around the President to provide different counter views.
The recent purging of US officials could be akin to the anti-corruption campaign that Xi Jinping has used to consolidate power. While the US purging may not be as extreme as that of Xi Jinping, it should raise concern. It means that Donald Trump can act on his own without any guidance or expertise. US legislation and Congress can prevent certain measures or certain decisions from being made, but they may not have privilege to all conversations due to the so called ‘executive privilege.’
At the same time, the recent tax legislation has not proved favourable to small business. Another similar example would be the small-medium farmers who are exposed to grave risk and not protected. More on that in a separate piece. In general, the trend shows that there is an oligarchic society becoming ever more apparent and an increasingly authoritarian President along with it.
The obvious becomes more obvious meaning that there is an increasing shift towards authoritarian rule with the diminished freedom that usually comes with democracy and capitalism or socialism. The consequence is the political and business environment continues to remain staunchly divided over certain issues with no unified resolution in sight. Changes have to be made to turn around the current mood and to show more equality similar to other peers within the OECD club.