Trump supporters Andy Cross/The Denver Post/Getty Images

Ce que je dis à mes amis non-américains

CAMBRIDGE – Je voyage souvent à l'étranger et mes amis étrangers demandent à chaque fois, avec des degrés de perplexité divers : mais que se passe-t-il donc dans votre pays ? Voici ce que je leur réponds.

Premièrement, prenez garde à ne pas faire de contresens sur les élections de 2016. Contrairement à certains commentaires, le système politique américain n'a pas été balayé par une vague de populisme. Il est vrai que nous avons une longue histoire de rébellion contre les élites. Donald Trump a exploité le filon d'une tradition associée à des leaders comme Andrew Jackson et William Jennings Bryan au XIXème siècle et Huey Long et George Wallace au XXème siècle.

Et pourtant Trump a manqué de remporter le vote populaire de près de trois millions de voix. Il a remporté les élections en faisant appel au ressentiment populiste dans trois États de la Rust Belt (Michigan, Pennsylvanie et Wisconsin), qui avaient précédemment voté pour le Parti démocrate. Si une centaine de milliers de votes s'étaient exprimés différemment dans ces États, Trump aurait perdu le collège électoral et la présidence.

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