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May 13, 2017

Trump’s election and the end of a socialist dream

(Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

At 18 years old, I moved to Norway and fell in love with the Norwegian way of life. While others spoke of the American Dream, I learned that equality and justice were relegated to the cold climes of Scandinavia. Ideologically, socialism is the best solution to the problem of human governance. It is a system that advocates for government regulation and promises a relatively high quality of life to everyone. In practice, that means that people pay higher taxes but things like healthcare and education are free and virtually no one is homeless.

Socialism works in Norway. With its relatively small and homogenous population and its massive oil wealth, the Norwegian government has the ability and the incentive to provide extensive social benefits to the people. The country is surrounded by similarly governed countries and separated from conflict due to the ocean and the arctic. It offers free higher education and even provides low-interest loans to support students’ living expenses. Political participation is widespread and encouraged from a young age, with each major party supplemented by a youth branch. One friend explained Norwegian political discourse as “many voices advocating different paths to the same goals.”

Donald Trump ran his political campaign on a populist fiction. He promised to return power to “the people” and to “drain the swamp” of elites in Washington. Like Bernie Sanders, Trump challenged the concentration of government elites and appealed to voters who felt excluded or ignored by the current system. Using rhetoric inspired by socialism, Trump spoke of redistributing power, creating new jobs and, infamously, “making America great again.” People responded to these promises. The populism of this Presidential Election reshaped the political landscape. In the end, the division between establishment and outsider proved just as important as party affiliation for the candidates.

Since coming to office, Trump has demonstrated he has no plans to remove the Washington establishment from positions of power. Trump’s cabinet is the most affluent in United States history, with members regulating agencies they would prefer did not exist. He has abused his executive power to undermine the system of checks and balances and to push through a hateful and unconstitutional immigration ban. He has announced that he will cut funding to arts programs, which will save just 0.0625 percent of the projected federal budget, while moving forward with his plans to elect a border wall with Mexico for $21.6 billion. His regular weekend trips to Mar-a-Lago cost taxpayers an estimated $3 million each, while security to protect Trump Tower drains the budget of $500,000 every day.

This election has given us all a lot to consider. It has taught us that “truth” can be subjective, and that those in power may seek to redefine reality to serve their own interests. It has shown that our democracy is fragile at best and that elected politicians can threaten our freedoms of religion and speech. I have learned that we cannot overly depend on our government or the structures that value the interests of elites above the rest. Socialism works when people have faith in their institutions and their leaders. The Trump administration has done little to abate the fears of many Americans.

Trump’s abuse of power demonstrates that the American people must guard their rights vigilantly. When a president explicitly lies to their people, foreign powers intervene in our elections and scientific truth is disregarded for a more profitable fabrication, we must seriously reconsider the powers we grant to our government.

Laura Handly is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at

6 Responses to “Trump’s election and the end of a socialist dream”
  1. David Fitzgerald says:

    thank you Laura Handly

    “Socialism works in Norway. With its relatively small and homogenous population and its massive oil wealth, the Norwegian government has the ability and the incentive to provide extensive social benefits to the people.”

    let’s analyze this

    Norway has “massive oil wealth” and this benefits their people

    that is an excellent affirmation of the fossil fuel industry

    it also is CAPITALISM

    I’m sure Norway has used every capitalist trick in the book to maximize their oil profits


    the fossil fuel industry benefits all of us

    that’s why we all have been toasty warm in the UMass buildings this winter

    (the natural gas burning in the Central Heating Plant, ya know?)


    now, about socialism

    sure, Norway has taken its massive profits from its capitalist oil industry and has redistributed this money to its people using techniques of socialism

    okay, if that’s what they want to do

    but to repeat, it is capitalism and the sales of its exported oil that has provided much of their wealth

    socialism doesn’t create wealth

    it just redistributes it

    thanks again for your column

  2. David Hunt 1990 says:

    Socialist Cuba: death camps, executions, full prisons, oppression, and crushing poverty. (Yeah, yeah, I know… the “American boycott”. REALLY? EVERY other country traded with Cuba.)

    Does Cuba Really Have Great Healthcare?
    ** With lots of links at the bottom.

    The USSR: Collapsed. There are the killing fields of Cambodia.

    And now Venezuela, sitting on an ocean of oil and mineral wealth… and the people are killing cats in the street and butchering zoo animals.

    ‘We are like a bomb’: food riots show Venezuela crisis has gone beyond politics

    Venezuela, a Failing State

    Norway? The only way it’s survived is because the US pays for its defense.

    Why I Was Wrong About Socialism

    The Myth of Scandinavian Socialism

    Ultimately, if Socialism worked, there would be proof. There isn’t:


  3. David Hunt 1990 says:

    Socialism Makes People Selfish

  4. Arafat says:

    Norway? That’s funny. Norway is almost 100% white and Christian and all this time I thought they were the bad guys.

    Thank you for writing this great satire.

  5. David Hunt 1990 says:

    @Arafat: Not any more they’re not. In Oslo 100% – 100%! – of the rapes were committed by Islamic migrants.

  6. David Hunt 1990 says:

    Let’s put you on a one-way ticket to the People’s Paradise of Venezuela:

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