For our next ‘Delphi on Zoom’ Salon, we welcome Delphi’s favourite political analyst Glen S. Fukushima.
“Japan, Covid 19 and the US Presidential Election”
When: June 17 3pm on ZOOM (A link will be sent shortly before the event).
Who: Glen S. Fukushima, Senior Fellow, Global Center for American Progress
Price: 5,000 for non-members; 2,000 for members.
Is the next US presidential election the most important in our lifetime? Perhaps it feels like that at every election, given the centrality of the US in a dysfunctional global system and the world’s craving for a Saviour-type president.
Still, November 2020 does genuinely feel like a ‘Date With Destiny’. The global economy could be recovering from a staggering and possibly unnecessary economic collapse – or it could be mired in a global epidemic and an unraveling trade and defence architecture.
Either way, we want the right person in charge.
However, the definition of the ‘right person’ is disputed.
Donald J Trump is as rare a type as Barack Obama was, and equally polarizing. His strategy of economic nationalism, reshoring manufacturing, tax cuts, ‘deconstructing the administrative state’, and appealing to blue collar workers of all ethnicities (at least in theory) won a stunning victory in 2016. Steve Bannon, the man who engineered his electoral victory, believes that DJT was elected as a result of the iniquities of the ‘global elite’ – who then remained unpunished, and indeed profited massively as central banks helped asset prices explode.
Against all expectations, Trump had been heading for a second term in power. The gains from a humming economy had translated into support among blacks, whites and latinos. Reworking NAFTA and upending the Trans Pacific Partnership confirmed his pro-worker, anti-globalist message. His appeal expanded beyond his base thanks to tax cuts, deregulation and relief that someone was finally checking a rampant Xi Jinping.
However, since COVID 19 hit, his poll numbers have plunged. Like most Western leaders, he has not burnished his reputation for competence. Unemployment was, until recently, heading towards a mind-boggling 25%. Possibly an even more serious threat is the Black Lives Matter movement. Police brutality most affects those whom he claimed to be benefiting.
Is it game over for DJT?
Perhaps not. His fiscal response to Covid 19 is stronger and more equitable than Obama’s in 2008, where the perception was that it primarily benefited the ‘1%’. Nor have the Democrats roused much enthusiasm with their candidate, Senator Joe Biden.
For Japan, the US’ most powerful and loyal ally in Asia, the stakes are also high. Prime Minister Abe, Glen will argue, is keen for Trump to remain. He has invested too much time and capital to bring Trump on-side to start again with a rookie. After a threatening start, the personal relationship between the two men has turned in Japan’s favour. Trump has been less tough on Japan economically than predicted by his campaign rhetoric. And Japan is delighted that China is now tangling with the US rather than baiting Japan over the Senkaku.
Any CEO wanting to hear a distinguished expert’s view on how the many pieces of the global, political and economic puzzle fit together should attend this event. Few people combine knowledge of both countries’ power structures as well as Glen.