The concept of transactional politics has regained popularity after the election of Donald Trump as the President of the United States. It basically refers to a political practice where governments reciprocate each other’s actions in an equal measure, in other words establish a certain type of give-and-take politics.
The term may also refer to a businesslike attitude of governments when it comes to national spending. The idea is that a government will spend less on what it regards as “non-essential” matters such as arts and culture, foreign aid, etc. Instead it will increase military and defence, health and education budgets.
Moreover, transactional politics may be triggered by various sociopolitical and economic circumstances.
In the case of the US under Trump, it is mainly to address the expectations of his constituency. He promised the Americans that his foreign and domestic policies will embrace an “America first” attitude when engaging with foreign government and businesses.
He has argued for a long time that the US has spent on projects which are not in the best interest of US citizens.
He has used the example of US’ membership and contribution to the sustainability of NATO as an example. The US spends 3.6 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on defence, the highest percentage among member states.
The end of moral engagement and expenditure
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The rise of Trump and the proliferation of right-wing politics in Europe is affecting the long-held idea of “moral engagement and expenditure” in the least developed and developing countries of the world.
It has also brought into question the inequitable global responsibility on matters that affect humanity, such as climate change. The argument brought forward by Trump is why must a responsibility of what should be a global issue be relegated to the US?
Media is another sector that has been seriously affected, whereas in the past some governments invested in the media to encourage the spread of freedom of expression, democracy and accountability.
More and more governments are investing in the media to pursue a certain political agenda. Trump uses the social media, mainly Twitter, to communicate his policies and his dissatisfaction with the global political status quo. The “effectiveness” and attraction of his tweets is gradually driving audiences away from the traditional media such as newspapers, radio stations and television channels.
This has presented a new challenge to the traditional media. Trump has even called some traditional media institutions the “enemies of the American people”.