2017-8-19 10:39


Who poses the most realistic threat to the US republic: Kim Jong Un or Donald Trump? In theory, it is obviously Mr Kim. Yet US democracy is within Mr Trump’s striking range at all times.
谁对美国共和体制构成最切实的威胁?是金正恩(Kim Jong Un),还是唐纳德•特朗普(Donald Trump)?从理论上讲,显然是金正恩。然而,美国的民主一直都在特朗普的攻击范围内。

By providing cover to homegrown neo-Nazis, America’s commander-in-chief is giving succour to the most lethal ideology in history. The fact that the US president does not understand this — or, worse, that he knows it but does not care — is an academic question. The Ku Klux Klan and fellow travellers can scarcely believe their luck. Mr Trump is Mr Trump. The question is what the Republican party plans to do about him.
通过为土生土长的新纳粹分子提供掩护,这位美国总司令正在为历史上最致命的意识形态提供帮助。特朗普不明白这一点——或者更糟的是,他知道,却不关心——是一个理论问题。3K党(Ku Klux Klan)和他们的同路人简直不敢相信自己的运气。特朗普就是特朗普。问题是共和党打算怎样对他。

Judged at face value, the party’s leadership implicitly favours removing Mr Trump. “White supremacy is repulsive,“ tweeted Paul Ryan, the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives. Mr Ryan was an implacable foe of almost everything Barack Obama proposed. Yet he never went so far as to accuse Mr Obama of backing the forces of hate. It follows, therefore, that Mr Ryan believes Mr Trump is unfit to hold the highest office in the land. So too, when privately asked, do many elected Republicans. But will they act on that judgment?
从表面上看,共和党领导层含蓄地赞同让特朗普免职。“白人至上主义令人厌恶,“众议院议长、共和党人保罗•瑞安(Paul Ryan)在Twitter上写道。瑞安反对巴拉克•奥巴马(Barack Obama)几乎所有的提议。然而,他从未指责奥巴马支持仇恨势力。因此,可以推断,瑞安认为特朗普不适合执掌国家的最高职权。私下被问时,许多共和党人也会这样表示。那么他们的行动会和想法一致吗?

The disturbing answer is not yet. With some honourable exceptions, such as John McCain, the Arizona senator, Republicans are not ready to stand up to the president. Even Mr Ryan, whose condemnation of white supremacism was unequivocal, refrained from criticising Mr Trump directly. Others rushed to his defence. “President Trump once again denounced hate today,“ tweeted Kayleigh McEnany, spokesman for the Republican National Committee. “The GOP stands behind his message of love and inclusiveness!“ By even-handedly condemning the “alt-right“ and the “alt-left“, Mr Trump was upholding American values, you see. In addition to bad apples, the far right included some “very fine people“, said the president.
答案令人不安:目前没有。除了一些令人尊敬的人士,如亚利桑那州参议员约翰•麦凯恩(John McCain),共和党人还未准备好与总统对抗。就连毫不含糊地谴责白人至上主义的瑞安也避免直接批评特朗普。其他人忙着为特朗普辩护。共和党全国委员会发言人凯莉•麦肯内妮(Kayleigh McEnany)在推特上表示:“特朗普总统今天再次谴责仇恨。““共和党支持他发出的爱和包容的信号!“你看,通过不偏不倚地谴责“另类右翼“和“另类左翼“,特朗普正在维护美国的价值观。除了部分害群之马,极右翼中有一些“非常好的人“,特朗普说。

Republicans are paralysed on two counts. First, the party cannot disown what Mr Trump is doing without repudiating themselves. His victory was the logical outcome of the party’s “southern strategy“, which dates from the late 1960s. The goal has been to siphon off southern whites from the Democratic party. Most Republicans have preferred to keep their tactics genteel. The signal of choice has been the dog whistle rather than the megaphone. Thus, in one form or another, most Republican states are reforming their voter registration systems. The fact that such laws disproportionately shrink the non-white electorate is an accidental byproduct of a colour-blind crackdown. Even without proof of widespread fraud, voter suppression has plausible deniability. Over the years, the same has applied to various wars on crime, drugs and welfare fraud, which were never discriminatory by design. Mr Trump has simply taken that approach into the open. He is the Republican party’s Frankenstein. The age of plausible deniability is over.
共和党在两个方面陷入了瘫痪。首先,共和党无法在不批判自身的情况下撇清与特朗普所作所为的关系。特朗普的胜利是共和党从上世纪60年代末起奉行的“南方战略“(southern strategy)的必然结果。该战略的目标是拉拢民主党中的南方白人。多数共和党人更倾向于文雅地行使这一策略。他们选择用来发信号的是狗哨,而非扩音器。因此,多数共和党州正在以各种形式改革选民登记制度。此类法律过多地缩小了非白人选区,这一事实是不分肤色压制的附带结果。即使没有存在大规模舞弊的证据,选民压制(voter suppression)有看似合理的搪塞理由。多年来,同样的做法也运用在针对犯罪、毒品和福利欺诈的打击,初衷并不存在歧视。特朗普只是把这一做法公开化了。他是共和党的弗兰肯斯坦(Frankenstein)。能够貌似合理地搪塞的时代已经结束。

The second Republican problem is fear.
Because of gerrymandering, most Republicans — and Democrats — are more vulnerable to a challenge from within their ranks than to defeat by the other party. As the saying goes, American politicians choose their voters, rather than the other way round. Unfortunately that gives the swing vote to the most committed elements of each party’s base. Though Mr Trump’s approval ratings are lower than for any president in history, he still has the backing of most Republican voters. Any elected Republican who opposes Mr Trump can be sure of merciless reprisal. It is a rare politician who would invite vilification from their own side.

Where will this end? The realistic answer is that Republicans will hide under a rock until they suffer a stinging defeat in next year’s midterm elections. But a defeat in 2018 is far from assured. Even then, it would have to be on a grand scale to reverse America’s deep forces of polarisation. Mr Trump will probably serve out his term.

The more worrying answer is that US democracy is heading towards a form of civil breakdown. After the violence in Charlottesville last weekend, activist groups are seeking to remove statues of Confederate figures across the south. It was opposition to the removal of a statue of Robert Lee, the Confederate general, that drew so many white supremacists to Charlottesville. Each new showdown will offer an irresistible branding opportunity to the far right.
更令人担忧的答案是,美国的民主正在从内部走向崩溃。上周末夏洛茨维尔发生暴力事件后,活动组织正试图在南方各地拆除邦联领袖雕像。正是拆除南方邦联将军罗伯特•李(Robert Lee)雕像引起了反对,才有那么多白人至上主义者来到夏洛茨维尔。每一场新的较量都将给极右翼分子带来不可抗拒的宣传效应。

As for Mr Trump, his historic ignominy is assured. One group in Charlottesville stood for racial bigotry. The other opposed it. Mr Trump chose to be neutral. In so doing, he has given life to the worst demons of America’s past.