Roger Ebert once said that a film is as good as its villain. Does this mean that the forthcoming U.S. elections will be good since the “bad guy” (Donald Trump) is almost an ideal villain? Yes, but in a very problematic sense. For the liberal majority, the 2016 elections represent a clear-cut choice: Trump is ridiculous, excessive and vulgar. He exploits our worst racist and sexist prejudices such that big-name Republicans are abandoning him in droves. If Trump remains the Republican candidate, we will get a truly “feel-good election.” In spite of all our problems and petty squabbles, when there is a real threat to our basic democratic values we come together, just like France did after the terrorist attacks.
But this comfortable democratic consensus should worry the Left. We should take a step back and turn the gaze on ourselves. What is the exact makeup of this all-embracing democratic unity? Everybody is there, from Wall Street bankers to Bernie Sanders supporters and veterans of the Occupy movement, from big business to trade unions, from army veterans to LGBT+ activists, from the ecologists horrified by Trump’s denial of global warming and the feminists delighted by the prospect of the first woman president to the “decent” Republican establishment figures terrified by Trump’s inconsistencies and irresponsible “demagogic” proposals. These very inconsistencies make his position unique.