圖片來源:DonkeyHotey@flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

上週二,川普幾乎贏得了一切,在羅德島、康乃迪克、賓州、德拉威和馬里蘭的初選中都獲得勝利。那天晚上過後,共和黨總統提名已有如川普的囊中物。

正當所有媒體都在推測他要如何切換至大選模式之時,一向難以預測的川普,亦展現了老練的政治能力,像個政壇老手一般,在取得提名之後開始靠向中間路線。

同樣地,希拉蕊在民主黨的初選中,也已經勝券在握。

我認為,美國大選出現重大轉向之際,我們必須再次思考,比較台美政治可以為我們帶來什麼樣的教訓。即使近年中國對台灣的影響力持續上升且無可避免,美國仍舊在政治和經濟上對台灣擁有舉足輕重的支配力。

帶你走進扭曲的「夢境候選人」

我認為,與其將川普、桑德斯這樣的人選稱作「憤怒候選人」,還不如進一步將他們歸類為「夢境候選人」(譯註:原文為inception candidates,inception原意為開端,此處意指電影《全面啟動》);資本主義現實促使眾人覺醒之際,他們以此為助力,用不可能成真的政策打造夢想國度。

現狀正在崩塌,幻滅亦十分合理;這些候選人則將幻滅的選民帶入「潘洛斯階梯」式的無盡循環,跨進夢中之夢、潛入繁複相疊的虛假現實;夢境扭曲為現實,植入夢境的誇張概念也成了可行的解決方案。幻夢破裂會發生什麼事呢?我們已經在電影裡見過這樣的悲劇──茉兒(Mal)不願接受真實世界,原本存在的憤怒與憂慮不斷放大,大到或許已遠遠超出我們所有人的理解。

回頭談談美國總統初選的現況吧。川普和希拉蕊贏下Acela初選(Acela特快為常常誤點、行駛於東部走廊的美鐵列車)後,戰場已再次移回美國西部,兩人也仍舊是人氣低落、但獲勝幅度卻愈來愈大的領先者。

以川普而言,原本的說法是,候選人數減少之後,共和黨權力集團會開始獲勝,川普也遲早會以自爆收場;但現實似乎完全相反──候選人數愈少,川普的表現就愈好。他不但在週二橫掃五州,更搶下了幾乎每個州的各種人口區塊。或許有人會說,這些州在11月總統大選時都是民主黨的鐵票區,最終,川普在這些地方大獲全勝並不會影響大局;但千萬別忘記,希拉蕊是在南部州初選中建立龐大的領先優勢,而這些地區通常是共和黨的地盤。

往中間靠攏的川普

共和黨一直找不到能吸引共和黨選民的候選人。克魯茲和凱西克的選舉人票落後差距不斷拉大,對川普來說,提名似乎已手到擒來。這帶出了兩個問題:其一,川普會如何處理全國代表大會?他在勝選演說中承諾將團結共和黨、癒合裂痕並與不滿之人溝通;在此同時,他已經開始改變策略,不但雇用前共和黨策略專家好與黨內權力集團接軌,還雇用演講撰稿人、練習用提詞機演說(反之,不少政治人物得練習如何在沒有提詞機的情況下演說)。

最近當選、倒楣到家又不願跳上反川普列車的共和黨主席普利巴斯(Reince Priebus)曾警告,初選勝利者就是共和黨提名人。現在,川普試圖移往中間路線,因此,第二個問題就是,他會往中間移動多少?

不久之前,北卡州廁所法案鬧得風風雨雨之時,據信,川普曾表示變性者應該可以使用他們想使用的廁所。此外,他也認為在某些情況下應該允許合法墮胎。這些立場是策略思考下的產物?還是常見的川普式即興演出?

川普的形象已經非常穩固──川普就是……呃,川普。不過,即使社會能容忍川普的個人直覺,民主黨在秋季選戰中可不會這樣定位川普。希拉蕊在週二夜晚的演說中嘲弄川普,承諾「打破藩籬」而非「築起高牆」,並強調「愛勝過恨」(love trumps hate);希拉蕊雖然呆板、缺乏群眾魅力又有點古怪,卻也是個經驗豐富、紀律十足的參選人,和川普完全相反。

她和川普對決之時,會將焦點放在川普的偏執頑固,而將川普定位為一個複雜難懂、沒有明確政治立場之人。

所有的立場都可能浮動

在這場選舉中,川普已經逐漸從「意外勝出者」轉變為潛在提名人。另一方面,只贏下羅德島的桑德斯,仍舊避談他是否該退出初選並支持希拉蕊。桑德斯或許擁有最真誠的經濟政見,卻從來不獲主流媒體重視。主流媒體至今大多偏向希拉蕊,一方面奚落共和黨,一方面無視桑德斯;但桑德斯並未放棄,更誓言力拼至全國代表大會。

知名記者扎卡利亞(Fareed Zakaria,曾為柯林頓全球倡議主辦無數活動)認為,中間派正遭受極左和極右派的夾攻。無論他和柯林頓夫婦的關係多親近,他對桑德斯和共和黨政策的看法皆可謂正中紅心──前者古怪又偏門、後者幼稚又天真。

正因為如此,我才稱他們為「夢境候選人」;他們依照你的主觀想法、依照你對現狀的不滿,提出聽來吸引人的政策,滿足你對平等的想像,但在內心深處,你也知道,一旦他們當選,這些承諾恐怕還是無法實現。

希拉蕊雖然是中間派,但她不受歡迎的程度高得嚇人、幾乎和川普差不多,也迫於桑德斯帶來的壓力,不得不靠向左派。最近,她公開反對自己推動的泛太平洋夥伴協定(TPP),許多人心中也浮起疑問,不確定希拉蕊當選後TPP是否仍會實施。當然,川普的立場是反對TPP、支持保護國內產業。

大多數人認為,美國大選後,TPP仍舊會實施(但誰知道呢?),只是我們亦無法確知,即使TPP成真,它的最終樣貌是否會與原初目標大相逕庭。

那些不必實現的承諾

轉眼台灣,我們也該思考,台灣的政治人物及其支持者,究竟活在什麼樣的現實之中?可能會胎死腹中的政策為何會引發沒有必要的爭執?將自家的選舉與太平洋另一端的鬧劇並列眼前,或許真能從中看出一些啟示和預兆。

台灣有個新梗是這樣的:準總統和她的準內閣成員一再提出與先前政見相反的說法,就像是把支持者丟進了霍根海姆賽道。

美國的候選人在當選之後,應該也會面臨類似的命運,簡言之,怎麼可能真的在邊界築牆、或是遣返所有的非法移民?真的有可能拆散所有的華爾街大銀行嗎?真有可能擱置TPP並保護美國的每一個工作嗎?誰知道啊?但它們聽起來真的好吸引人!這些說法真的可信嗎?或許不行吧?但那並不重要,可行性又不是什麼當紅詞彙!

為什麼我們會活在這種《全面啟動》式的夢境世界?是因為我們已經受夠日常生活,所以決定脫離現實?那個喚醒我們的「衝擊」在哪裡?答案當然不能全怪媒體;在台灣,媒體一向無法扮演專業角色,名嘴得談論各種各樣的主題,從名人八卦、風水寶地到品賞名酒無所不包。

但可以確定的是,如果政治人物能靠無法實現的虛假承諾當選,我們的未來只會變得更加離奇與瘋狂。

(作者為哈佛大學東亞系碩士,目前任職於環球水泥及利永環球科技。原文如下,由黃維德翻譯。)

Donald Trump won everything on Tuesday night. Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland. The evening leaves him with a strong case for the Republican nomination, and while everyone in the media speculates on how he begins to shift towards the general election, Trump, as unpredictable as he has been, is showing signs of political sophistication by doing what career politicians do upon clinching the nomination, moving to the middle. Similarly, Hillary Clinton has also emerged victorious so at this moment of major shift in American election, I think it is necessary to again pose the question of what we may infer from comparing Taiwanese politics to its American counterpart. Despite the rising and unavoidable influence China poses to Taiwan, America still has an insurmountable grasp politically and economically.

Instead of referring to candidates such as Trump and Sanders as "anger candidates", I think it would be more fitting to further qualify them as "inception candidates", candidates who have created a communal dream world of unattainable policies that feed on disenchantment from the realities of capitalism. Electorates who are rightfully disillusioned with the crumbling status quo are led into a "penrose stair" styled cycle of dreams within a dream, false reality upon false reality. When dreams are distorted with reality, wild concepts that are inserted in these dreams are accepted as viable solutions, what would happen as the bubble is busted? We see in the movie the tragic fate of Mal when she was unwillingly to accept the real world, as anger and angst that are already there starts compounding, the result might be unfathomable to us all.  

To recap the US election to date, Trump and Clinton have emerged victorious from the Acela primaries (named after the 自強號 equivalent, oft delayed AMTRAK train that runs through the Eastern Corridor) and the primaries now shift back west. Both candidates are still unpopular front-runner who have seen their margin of victory  increase.  For Trump, the argument used to be that as the field narrowed the establishment GOP will start winning and Trump would also eventually self-combust. The opposite appears to be true: the narrower the race, the better he does. Aside from sweeping all five states on Tuesday, he won every single demographic in most of them. One may argue that these states are solid Democrat states come November so Trump’s landslide victories here are ultimately insignificant, yet, one also needs to recall that Hillary built her huge lead in the early Dixie states primaries that are usually Republican states.  

The Republican Party has not been able to find an alternative that Republican voters are prepared to endorse as Cruz and Kasich become farther and farther behind in delegate count as Trump seems to become is nominee almost by default. This poses two questions, how will he navigate the convention? His victory speech heralded a promised party unity, healing and reaching out to the disgruntled. At the same time, he has already begun to change his strategy, hiring former GOP strategists to reach out the party establishment also hiring speechwriters and practicing speaking with a teleprompter (while randomly elected politicians might need to practice speaking WITHOUT a teleprompter).

Reince Priebus, the recently reelected, unluckiest GOP chairman has warned that the winner of the primary will be the nominee, unwillingly to side with the Never Trump movement. Trump has now been trying to move to the middle, so the second question is, by how much? He has, supposedly, argued that transgender people should be able to use the restrooms that they choose to use in the midst of the recent North Carolina bathroom law. He also argued that legal abortion should be allowed in certain instances, yet are these positions the product of strategic thinking or just out of the blue free styling that he tends to do? Even if Trump's private instincts are socially tolerant, the Democrats won't define him that way in the fall campaign as he has already cemented his image as being....well, Trump. In her Tuesday night speech, Hillary Clinton jeered at the presumptive Republican nominee issues and promised to "break down barriers" rather than "build walls," asserting that "love trumps hate." As robotic, uncharismatic and awkward as Hillary is, she is a seasoned, experienced and disciplined candidate, a complete foil to Trump, Clinton will fight Trump on Trump's reputation as a bigot rather than the reality of Trump as a complex man without a clearly defined politics.

This campaign cycle is slowly evolving from a narrative of Trump as a "surprise winner" to Trump as a potential nominee. On the flip side, Bernie Sanders, who only managed to win Rhode Island, continues to fend questions of whether or not he should concede and support Hillary Clinton. While he might have the most sincere economic platforms, he was never taken seriously by the mainstream media which have to this point been tilting to Clinton’s side, who have been ridiculing the Republicans and brushing Sanders off, yet Sanders still will not throw in the towel and vows to fight until the convention. As I hyperlinked and outdated Fareed’s take from the famed journalist Fareed Zakaria (who also happens to have hosted numerous Clinton Global Initiative events), the moderates are under siege by the far left and far right. No matter how close he is with the Clintons, he is on point with how Sanders’ policy might be outlandish while Republicans look puerile. 

Rather than calling these candidates as “Anger Candidates”, I would rather pose a new terminology of calling them “Inception Candidates”, candidates that feed in to your imagination of equality according to your subjectivity, discontent from the status quo, offering policies that sound tempting, but deep down, you know that these promises ultimately might not come into fruition once they are elected.  As moderate as Clinton might be, she is alarmingly unfavorable at a level almost similar to Trump, has been dragged to the left by Sanders. She recently backtracked from the TPP which she once promoted, drawing questions to whether or not it will still come into effect if she is elected. On it is needless to mention that Trump rejected this issue in favor of protecting domestic industries.

So, conventional wisdom would suggest that TPP might still eventually come to fruition after the election (but who knows), we would not know if the end product, should it pass, be anything similar to its original intent. Therefore, to pivot back to Taiwan, we would then ask, what exactly is the reality that our politicians and their supporters live in? Why is there unnecessary raucous over a policy that probably might end up as a stillbirth? As we juxtapose our own election with the circus across the Pacific we might actually play the role of fortune teller and read some tea leaves. There has been a running gag in Taiwan that the President elect and her future administration members have been making statements that have thrown their supporters in the Hockenheimring, contradicting their previous platforms. We can predict a similar fate for these US candidates should they be elected, simply put, how can they possibly build a wall, or deport all illegal aliens? Or is it possible to break up all the big banks on Wall Street? Would it be possible to fully protect American jobs and shelf TPP? Who knows? But they sure sound tempting! Are they conceivable? Maybe not? But that’s not important as feasibility is not the latest buzzword!

Why are we in Inception-esque dream world? Have we been fed up with everyday life so that we choose to steer away from reality? Where is the kick to wake us up? Certainly not the media, as in Taiwan’s case, they have long been unable to be professional enough as pundits have to cover all sorts of topics from celebrity gossips to reading the fengshui of your ancestral burial grounds and appraising precious alcoholic beverages. If politicians are elected on false promises that cannot be kept, our future will only be wilder and crazier.

(本文亦刊登於換日線

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