Don Watson and fellow Quarterly Essayist James Brown discussed the strangest election campaign the US has ever seen. In Quarterly Essay 63: Enemy Within, Don Watson takes a memorable journey into the heart of the United States in the year 2016.
Travelling in the Midwest, Watson reflects on the rise of Donald Trump and the “thicket of unreality” that is the American media. Behind this he finds a fearful and divided culture. Watson considers the irresistible pull - for Americans - of the Dream of exceptionalism, and asks whether this creed is reaching its limit. He explores alternate futures - from Trump-style fascism to Sanders-style civic renewal - and suggests that a Clinton presidency might see a new American blend of progressivism and militarism. Enemy Within is an eloquent, barbed look at the state of the union and the American malaise.
Co-presented with Sydney Ideas.