DOI: 10.17721/2521-1706.2020.10.2

Sergii Tolstov

Ph.D. (History), associate professor

The State institution «Institute of World History of NAS of Ukraine», Kyiv, Ukraine

ORCID: 0000-0001-9031-1600

Alona Godliuk

Ph.D. (Political Science),

The State institution «Institute of World History of NAS of Ukraine», Kyiv, Ukraine

ORCID: 0000-0003-1569-2030


Over the past decade the political processes in the U.S. and a number of European states have shown ambiguous changes which reflected ideological transformations and regroupings of political elites. Developments within the U.S. political system have witnessed a deep split along ideological lines which was characterized by the revival of various right-wing and conservative currents within the Republican party and the increasing influence of left-liberal groups inside the Democratic party.

Taking into account the latest trends, the purpose of this article lays in the structural political analysis of political contradictions and regrouping processes within the U.S. political elites in the 2010s that prevailed during the presidencies of Barack Obama and Donald Trump. The authors emphasise that the crisis of traditional elites has not lead to the destruction of the bipartisan system, which remains the most important political institutional mechanism and ensures election of the executive branch, representative bodies and self-government at all levels. At the same time the recent trends within the political system demonstrated the destruction of such a specific phenomenon as a relative bipartisan consensus, which for a long time ensured the stability of power and the balance of interests among different groups of influence despite the regular change of the Republican and Democratic administrations.

As an intermediate result reflecting the transformation of the American traditional political establishment the authors note both the overall polarization of the attitudes of the Republican and Democratic parties, and the strengthening of ‘internal’ pluralism inside the Republicans and the Democrats as a result of growing divergence and exacerbation of contradictions between supporters of various ideological groupings and platforms. This was approved by an obvious increase of influence of center-left groups among the Democrats and the right-wingers among the Republicans. These differences caused a tough political confrontation between different groups of elites in such important areas as social policy, taxes and health care. Similar fundamental discrepancies manifest the vision of international affairs especially on foreign trade and principles of interaction with the traditional allies.

The exacerbation of political collisions ultimately led to an imbalance in the American political system and the loss of ability to achieve compromises between the leadership of the Republicans and Democrats. The authors conclude that the atomization of political elites is a projection of social stratification and polarization within the American society. These processes are not directly related to the personality of Donald Trump. Given the severity and critical aggravation of political contradictions, the US Presidential and Congressional elections on November 3, 2020 will not resolve the ongoing inter-elite conflict.

Key words: USA, home policy, political elites, inter-elite conflict, political competition, populism, Donald Trump.

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