(Trying to pick up a post I lost before posting).
Trump’s won – why and how?
The why is pretty obvious, many people are upset with the status quo as brought about by 30+ years of neoliberal economic policy that has eroded their standard of living. The how is on the lines of a consumate showman that used the tools of the charlatan psychic medium – Barnum effect/Forer effect, personal validation falacy, rainbow statements et al. IOW, subjective validation.
Trump detected a problem, recognized which buttons to push amongst a segment large enough to get himself elected, realized which portion of the public would be maleable after 1/2 century of neoliberal propaganda from the likes of the AEI, Heritage and the usual suspects, and played the circus showman to achieve his end.
I don’t believe that he believed a word he said, from denying Obama’s US birth to the building of the wall. You people did at your peril.
So where’s the history?
I take you back to 532 AD in Constantinople. For around 500 years, the autocratic government of the Caesars had used bread and circus’ to keep the populace happy, yet for the last 300 years both the bread and the circus’ were being diminished as the taxation of the rich decreased and more fiscal pressure was felt by the majority.
The “circus” refered to chariot racing, the true passion of the ancient Romans. There were 4 colours, Blues, Greens, Reds and Whites – something on the lines of modern football teams. The emperors were happy to see the populace divided amongst the “colours” – it kept their minds off politics in a world where there were not any arms capable of controlling unruly populaces on the scale that exists today.
Well, not too long before 532 things went wrong. The 4 colours had dwindled to two real “contenders”, and the division between blues and greens lead to civil strife. Blues and greens were prone to fight one another and terrorize the non-sporting population.
But in 532 a series of circumstances ocurred that lead the blues and greens to unite in a bloody rebellion that almost overthrew the monarchy. They were called the Nika Riots.
They failed by -that- much.
The point is (points are) that you can keep the uninformed masses happy for a pittance (chariot racing) until the uninformed masses’ standard of living falls to a certain point. You can remain in power if you divide them in a meaningless way (team rivalry, or as today, between 2 “different” establishment parties) until the standard of living drops even more. But you reach a breaking point where the kabuki doesn’t work anymore, which is what happened with Nika and which is what has happened with tRump.
Since we’re talking about uninformed masses, the way public discontent manifests itself is utterly unpredictable or entirely maleable. The French Revolution, that of 1848, the Russian Revolution, and that of Trump are all examples of this.
The French Revolution might have started with enlightened leaders but it certainly devolved into a bloodbath, only to be shanghaid by a political manipulator (Napoleon). 1848 never had a real leader and was crushed early on. The Russians – idem to Napoleon. We’ll see what happens with Trump.
Of the above mentioned revolutions, the only successes were the French and 1848, even if they weren’t immediately successful. The French Revolution was ultimately successful because more enlightened leaders eventually took control, 1848 lead to democratic and social changes that are only being threatened today.
What is worrying about the tRump revolution isn’t necessarily the manipulative rhetoric reminiscent of Hitler’s and Goebbels’ drivel of the 1930’s. It’s the fact that middle america feels the problem that tRump has taken advantage of, and has totally misidentified the cause of said problem. It’s another case of blues vs. greens. A false dichotomy on one hand, a very real ill on the other hand.
The DNC, by abandoning its real progressive ideals by embracing the 3rd way, facilitated tRump’s victory (see https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/09/rise-of-the-davos-class-sealed-americas-fate and hundreds of my tiresome posts). Some might maintain that the DNV and GOP (or PP and PSOE in Spain, or the Tories and pre-Corbyn Labour in the UK) are very different, but when one strips away the colours they are indeed very similar.
Both “colours” claim that they devoutly wish to improve the living standards of the populace, and purportedly differ on the means to achieve the improvement. But if both colours embrace the same economic ideology (see “free trade” deals, etc.), the “difference” dwindles to colour.
tRump has adroitly manipulated discontent in order to achieve office. Hopefully the middle-american lumpen (“What’s the Matter With Kansas”) will take note when they find out that a plutocrat with a history of dishonesty and abusive labour practices doesn’t solve their problems in any way or indeed exascerbates them.
The question remains – will the divisive tools based on “issues” (guns, gay marriage, etc.) be enough to keep the unhappy faithful to the latest Houdini. Or will progressives gain an enlightened voice and actually change things.
Question for certain lurkers – can you name a time when conservative governments have actually improved the living standard of citizens?