The most volatile and divisive election in recent American history has just passed and against all odds the hated businessman Donald Trump was able to overcome the former First Lady in the race to the White House. Watching the news or reading social media would suggest that the end is neigh. To many it seems that the only event worse than this would be for Jesus to descend to Earth once more only to resurrect Hitler and go on a jolly Old Testament style genocide.
I am certainly no Trump supporter, though neither did I support Hillary, but then I am from the UK so that is somewhat irrelevant. Trump is a multi-millionaire with a detestable personality and no real clue about how the working man lives. He constantly contradicted himself and said some pretty bad things that should make anyone stop and think. The media saw him as a joke and he drew ire from both parties and the world at large. So how did he manage to win so comfortably?
The Trump phenomenon was not unexpected. Anyone who could place their feelings aside long enough to assess the situation could see this result coming yet everybody seems so genuinely surprised. Just like with the UK referendum, people were so wrapped up in their little bubbles that they failed to see the signs. I see this again and again in recent years so I will try to lay out clearly why the unelectable millionaire was in fact elected.
I will break this down into the four main reasons that Trump was able to achieve victory. These categories are Political Revolution, Far-Left Growth, the Presidential Puppet and the Silenced Majority.
So the first, and perhaps simplest of the reasons, is that people are sick of traditional politics. The electorate want drastic changes yet the way that the political system is set up ensures that they are usually voting between the same two tired politicians that will continue practising the tired politics of the past.
Hillary is the embodiment of this old political system. Her personality and actions aside, she is a member of a political dynasty and is embroiled within the schemes and clicks of the political world. People view Hillary as a politician, and for all of the experience and pedigree that this brings her, it also has an ever growing stigma attached to it. People have been burned and betrayed by politicians so often that any change can seem welcome.
Trump moves within these same circles and shares the same privileges from birth but is coming from a business background instead. Running a business is is a small scale equivalent to running a country and has given him management and economic experience while maintaining the veneer of being outside of the current political landscape. People see his business empire and are led to think, “if he hasn’t destroyed his business despite his character flaws then maybe he can lead the country too”.
He also stands in stark contrast to politicians in terms of secrecy. Secrets, plots and backhand deals are a growing concern to the electorate. Trump engages in these activities just as much as any politician but he does not hide the fact. He shines a light on the corruption and basically says this is how it works and everyone does it. I’d be a fool not to take advantage of it”. This isn’t exactly a good thing but it lets people know where he stands. People don’t talk about his dark schemes because everything is out in the open, somehow removing suspicion from himself while confirming doubts about other political figure.
People want a new political climate and a new breed of politicians. For better or for worse, Trump certainly represents this while Hillary did not.
Bear with me on this one. In recent years society has become more progressive and left-leaning as a whole. I would certainly consider myself more left-aligned. The issue though is rising from an increasing slide to the far left of politics. Many will look to the left and think that the closest to extremists the left can manage is idealist like hippies and communists. The fact of the matter though is that political alignment is not a straight line with the Far-Right on one end and the Far-Left on the other. It is actually more life a ring where eventually the extreme ends of both sides merge together to share the same ideal only using different words.
Society is changing and with this comes the acceptance and inclusion of other races, sexes, sexuality and other minority groups. This is a good thing on the whole but has been somewhat tainted by idealogues who are seemingly immune to the irony that they increasingly spout.
While a minority of votes may be against minorities based on religion, fear or bigotry, most are accepting of all groups yet fear the increasing sense of political correctness that is emanating from them. Whether this is Third Wave Feminists pushing a false narrative and belittling men, and even women, who disagree with them, Black Rights groups that use racist and hateful language against whites without consequence or the sense that our jokes and use of language are being policed, many are seeing an influx of hate and illogical rhetoric emerging from the Left.
The ideas of safe spaces, censoring intolerance and embracing minorities sound very noble but in practice it too often hits too heavy and strays into the depths of militancy and moral superiority. It raises question of which is more important: Facts or Feelings, Freedom or Intellectual Safety. There is a “With us or against us” mentality that sees anyone that disagrees with their methods or ideas be labelled as a racist, sexist or bigot even if the person seeks the same endgame of equality. They will also all to often descend upon anyone within their minority groups who disagrees with them and treat them in the very way that they accuse others of.
In essence, many within the Far-Left forget that they are minorities and so their issues affect a very small percentage of the population. That isn’t to say that they should be ignored, but when an entire system is changed and the majority is forced to act in a certain way to accommodate a tiny fraction of the population it can breed resentment. Minority quotas in business often actually outweigh the percentage of said minorities in the area and so we actually are starting to see an over-representation of some groups within certain industries, not by virtue of skill or experience but by their race, sexuality or gender.
As with Newton’s Third Law: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. As the Far-Left push at society, society instinctively pushes back. They turn the centre ground against them which leads to people who were undecided or marginally Left-leaning to flock to the Right. Running a narrative that argues that all whites are racist, all men are sexist and all heterosexuals are homophobic will never work well at winning allies and will only work to poison the minds of such demographics against you.
Now we enter Trump into the ring. He is incredibly anti-PC and has no time for the demands of minorities, instead focusing on America’s largest, and increasingly jaded, demographic. At any other time these traits would be seen as horrific, and still are by many, but to those who have seen what the Left is becoming it suddenly sounds like a stand against censorship and liberal bigotry. It feels like a way to halt the rise of the Far-Left.
The Presidential Puppet:
Continuing on from that we have the idea that Hillary was chosen to represent the Democrats as a form of tokenism. During the preliminaries it was obvious that Bernie Sanders was the more popular candidate. Regardless of an individual’s preference, Sanders captured the public’s mind in a way that Hillary just could not compete with. Whether or not he was the better candidate I can’t say but he was certainly the most loved.
But then he drops out and it emerged that the Democratic Party itself had rigged the system in Hillary’s favour. They wanted her and bypassed the rules to get her. Her campaign then relied heavily upon the simple fact that Hillary is a woman as though that was the most important qualifier.
In hindsight it looks as though the Party saw Sanders as another old, straight, white male and wanted to reach out for something more progressive, latching onto the idea of having the first female president over having the best possible president.
#ImWithHer encapsulates this as Hillary’s tagline did not represent her policies or her beliefs but rather her gender. She played up the female and minority vote as the basis of her campaign but this ultimately failed her. The majority of white female voters sided with Trump due to Hillary’s past persecution of other women and the percentage of ethnic minorities voting for the Republican party actually increased despite Trump’s stance.
This disparity stems from the fact that votes did not feel that Hillary was genuinely supportive of these groups but rather that she was pandering to them in order to win their vote. She was viewed as manipulative and scheming and had the perception of being placed into the role by banks and big businesses. Considering that these investors are mostly rich, old, straight, white men, the very people that Hillary was suppose to be making a stand against, the whole thing just felt fake and hypocritical. She was set up to be a puppet in a position of power when Americans have a fiery passion for independence and freedom. They are proud of the strong and need faith that their leaders share their passion.
Trump certainly casts the impression of being an independent entity. He has is own thoughts and opinions and will not back down or cower. Again, this is not an inherently good thing but in a time of international instability people want a leader who is not afraid to act and who stands proud and is not under the thumb of shady corporations.
Again, this is all perceptions and not definitive truths but the truth is often irreverent in the face of how people perceive the facts.
The Silenced Majority:
Just like the UK Referendum, the result was decided in large by the working class vote. For years now the working class have been abandoned by the government as jobs are cut and industrial towns are left to wither and rot. There is little new investment in these working class areas and the jobs are no longer proud, honest work that goes towards something bigger but rather menial tasks for little money and little glory as more and more is produced in china, India and the like.
Unemployment is rampant, re-training is all but non-existent and social mobility and faith in the American dream are nothing more than distant memories of the past.Workers cannot compete with oversees or immigrant workers yet are just told to work harder if they want the work.They are looked down upon by the middle and upper classes as failures who should have worked harder in school despite being the cogs that keep the country turning. They want jobs and they want hope.
So along comes Donald Trump with the promise to focus on working class America. People think that, yeah, he is an arrogant idiot but at least he is fighting in our corner. A candidate offers a chance to return to happier days and people hope on that to see a return of happier days even if they know that it is likely a bluff.
But then we have the people described before from the Far-Left who decry anybody thinking of supporting Trump as a woman hating racist. It was those same middle and upper class people that now ridiculed and insulted the working class for seeking to vote in their own perceived interests, again further pushing away and alienating the largest of the country’s demographics.
Hillary put all of her time into minorities when the clue is in the name. Barring the female vote, her target demographics were relatively small. She ignored the working class like so many before her while Trump took on their mantle. Yet people are surprised that things ended as they did. The media, the establishment, the students and the blue collar office workers all underestimated those below them and it reared up to bit them, just like with Brexit.
All of these interlinked factors came together in favour of Donald Trump, giving him the edge over the only marginally less loathed Hillary. We are seeing a rightwing swing across the western world after issues with employment and immigration have been left unchecked for too long. France and Germany will likely take a similar path too in their respective elections. Trump one because he tapped into this resentment and was left unopposed when a less than ideal candidate was pitted against him.
If you are sat here now upset by these results and blaming everyone that voted for him, just stop and think for a moment. Put your feelings to one side and look at why people voted for him. Understand the reasoning that led people to chose something that you so strongly oppose and try to work towards solving these problems. This is the only way to heal the world. Vilifying them further will only deepen the gulf.
Your candidate lost and you fear for the future. This is understandable but don’t let it rule you. Watch what Trump does and oppose that which you disagree with but do not let hyperbole and fear guide your actions. Trump has managed a business without enslaving his workforce and purging it of minorities. Be sceptical but don’t be hostile. Trump won in part due to the prevalence of putting feelings before facts so don’t further let loose your feelings irregardless of the situation. Address the issues that allowed Trump to win so that by the next election will be different. Keep calm and keep moving forward.