Good discussion. Let me share my point of view, some of which is consistent with yours.
- Trumpists aren’t any more dumb than the rest of the voter base. We all like to applaud our well-thought-out voting choices when in reality we are influenced by branding and personality as much as planned fiscal, foreign or monetary policy (since most of us can’t process what such policies mean for us in the first place). Sentiment runs in cycles, and current star candidates tend to be someone that identify with a significant segment of the voter base while also serving as an antidote for what the incumbent lacks in leadership and priorities. Case in point is a charismatic Obama, whose message of hope was perfect timing during a stock market crash and in response to a war mongering, fumbling Bush. It’s all a cycle.
- The rise in authoritarian mentality has been progressing for years as our population has diversified. We just needed a leadership candidate to unlock it and give people permission to be open about it. That’s what Trump did. And let’s not pretend this phenomenon is unique to the US; we’re just hearing about it more because it’s a huge country with decreasing homogeneity of population.This is what causes tensions to rise. I lived on a Caribbean island for six years. Because of tourism, this island experienced an influx of immigrants from other islands of people with the same skin color. What happened? A phrase: “bahn (born) here”. People walked around with T-shirts and used the term regularly. Had nothing to do with race; it’s all about having your turf invaded. It’s a primal reaction to defend and lash out, just like dogs who ‘mark’ and defend their territory. I have no doubt we’d see the same thing in Japan if suddenly 30% of the population was white. I know people who are white and moved to Scanidinavian countries. All of them returned, citing that while the locals were friendly to people passing through, they were never really all that welcoming to people who moved there, even if you learn the language. Defense against dilution of the local culture was something brought to their attention. So, it’s all about that; economic factors can contribute to intensity but are not the cause.
- The tide constantly shifts between different types of candidates every cycle because we keep looking for something we cannot find. And we cannot find it because we haven’t learned the lesson that government does not cause our outcomes. They don’t get us jobs, they don’t provide us a lifestyle. We do that; their role is to foster a climate for us to do awesome things. They don’t start companies and hire people. But they can say ‘hey, let’s be all about clean energy so we’ll give kickass tax credits to any company in the business, to help them get going and hire more people’. The next step is for one of us to get off our duff and a start a company. That’s how it happens. As long as we all want to sit there and stare at each other we’ll live in poverty, while countries like Germany and China start such companies and sell the products to us and keep the cash. Until we start taking lives into our own hands, we’ll flounder, and become bigger losers on the global stage. Because selling shit that other countries want is what floods cash into the country, creating net wealth and a better lifestyle to all of us. If you’re not a direct part of making that happen then your complaints about your lifestyle fall on my deaf ears.
- So no, I don’t believe that we are lodged in our caste. My fam lived just above the poverty line. Six people in a 1 bathroom, 3 bedroom 900 sq ft home in northern Canada. Parents were hard working but high school dropouts who worked for around minimum wage. They taught me I could have their life or I could work hard, save my money, get an education, make sacrifices and have a great life. It was all on me because no one was going to create that for me. So I did. Paper route at age 11, worked 30 hours a week in restaurants and hotels starting at age 15 while being student council prez and being in sports. Maintained about an A- average. Paid for a car and my own schooling because my parents couldn’t help me there. Fast forward and I have an MBA, a solid career and a good life…and I’m unapologetic to anyone who points their finger at me as one of the evil rich who must be destroyed. I tell them that ‘working hard’ doesn’t mean showing up to work only 9 out of every 10 days, punching a clock and doing nothing to separate yourself. It means kicking ass and taking names, being that much better and being the cause of your own wealth. That, or STFU. I broke out of my caste because I was told it was entirely up to me if I wanted to stay. So I was disempowered from ever crying victim.
But no one wants to hear that. They just cuss when you talk that way. They want knights with orange skin to change their lives; so badly, in fact, that they ignore that Trump is pro-business, which means he won’t interfere with free market systems, which creates winners and losers. Which means more unskilled jobs will migrate to low cost nations. They think he will blow up Washington and reform Capitol Hill, yet they forget that since America is not a dictatorship, he will be largely shackled in his attempts to do anything other than take a mic every few days to bitch because no one is doing what he wants them to. We don’t think ahead to how this might play out.
No, voters are not dumb. Just motivated by hope and gullible to the notion that governments give you most of the same, within a narrow margin. Just a shiny new veneer. In 2008 we went for ‘hope’. That didn’t pan out, so now let’s try badass.