How America was lost to greed and envy

Trumpian politics has roots in a politics of low taxes, low social spending and high inequality serving the plutocracy's interests

Who lost China? This cry went up in the United States after Mao Zedong's victory in China's civil war in 1949. It was a strange question. When did the US own China?

Strange or not, this cry helped Republicans win power in 1952. It promoted the rise of Joseph McCarthy, whose politics had similarities to those of Mr Donald Trump - above all, in the charge that traitors infest the US government. In the senator's case, the target was the state department; for Mr Trump, it is the FBI. The question today is: Who lost America? And is it lost for good?

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 19, 2018, with the headline 'How America was lost to greed and envy'. Print Edition | Subscribe