Trump election win is '˜wake up call to political elite' says former Lancaster University professor

The election of Donald Trump as President of the USA is a 'wake up call to the political elite' from the working classes of America, according to a former Lancaster University professor.

Wednesday, 9th November 2016, 11:03 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 4:13 pm
Donald Trump

Sir Cary Cooper, a dual American-British citizen born in Los Angeles, who came to Lancaster in his 20s, said the election results showed a rebellion of “blue collar workers” in the US, who wanted to get rid of the political elite.

Billionaire Donald Trump was elected as the 45th President of America on Wednesday, November 9, and is due to take office in January.

Lancaster MP Cath Smith agreed, saying the election was “a rejection of a political establishment and an economic system that simply isn’t working for most people”.

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She added that people would be “shocked by the rhetoric around it”, but said: “After this latest global wake up call, the need for a real alternative to a failed economic and political system could not be clearer.”

Prof Cooper, who now works at the University of Manchester, said: “It’s not a positive, but it’s a wake up call for politicians and the political elite in America telling them you’ve been taking care of the upper middle classes, but you haven’t been looking after the working classes.

“I don’t think it’s healthy, however it is saying, the time has come like it happened here with Brexit.

“We’re going through a time when the vast majority of working class people are shouting, ‘no-one is looking after us’.

“This was a rebellion, and it stems right back to the recession.

“It’s opposed to all these Harvard graduates, all these people with law degrees that are running the country.

“In a sense Clinton is a part of that elite, but it is of course ironic that Trump himself is a billionaire.

“And it’s true that this is ‘Brexit Plus’, it was a message to the political elite that ‘it’s time to take control’. We know the context of why it happened. Strangely that very constituent saying this has always been a democrat, but Trump said ‘I’m going to be a man of the people’.

“I think the danger in the US now is that it has divided the white American from every other ethnic person.

“It’s the white blue collar worker against the blacks, hispanic, and the liberal elite.

“From the UK’s perspective, I think Trump getting in will help the UK in its trade negotiations.

Obama said we’d be at the back of the queue in terms of post-Brexit negotiations, and Trump said, ‘no you’re going to be at the front of the queue’.

It all depends now on what Trump actually does, and when he starts actioning some of the things he’s said he will do.”

Sir Cary, 76, who was knighted in the 2014 Birthday Honours for services to social science, said the UK will “want to distance ourselves from him alienating other groups”.

“I don’t think we’ll get close enough to him to look similar, it’s not in the British psyche to do that,” he said.

“What I think he’s going to do is invest a lot in defence – for him this is making America strong.

“I think he’ll do away with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico, and in business he’ll be extremely proactive.

“It’s going to be very heavy.

“He’s going to alienate China, Mexico and South America with the intention of bringing manufacturing jobs back to the US.

But the big question is will they be able to be competitive.

“He won the votes of the “rust belt” states like Michigan, Winsconsin, and Pensylvania with a view to bringing manufacturing jobs like steel back to the US.”

Sir Cary said Mr Trump would not build a physical wall on the Mexican border, and that this was “just language”, but he would build a metaphorical one in terms of trade and industry.

“He only has two years to do this. By the end of the second year I think he will lose Congress, so he won’t get much done after that.

“Will he go after the mega rich? I think what he’ll do is create a tax system that will benefit the middle classes.

I don’t think he likes the EU, with all their regulations, including the environmental ones.

“It’s not been great to see another Cold War with Russia emerging, so he may try and negotiate with Putin.

“He sees him as a strong man, a showman, a bit like himself.”

Ms Smith said: “I’m sure many local people will be shocked by Donald Trump’s victory in the US, a nation of migrants, innovators and democrats, they will be shocked by the rhetoric around it and what the election result means for the rest of the world.

“The election was a rejection of a political establishment and an economic system that simply isn’t working for most people, and a sense that people haven’t been listened to.

“It is one that has delivered escalating inequality and stagnating or falling living standards for the majority, both in the US and Britain.

“After this latest global wake up call, the need for a real alternative to a failed economic and political system could not be clearer.

“That alternative must be based on working together, social justice and economic renewal, rather than sowing fear and division.

“And the solutions we offer have to improve the lives of everyone, not pit one group of people against another.”