The 2016 Campaign is bigger than Hillary versus Trump. It represents two ways of seeing the world.

Peter Sage introduction to a Guest Post:

It serves the purposes of the candidates’ campaigns to portray the election in terms of good versus evil, light versus darkness. I get 3 to 5 campaign finance requests a day from each side, telling that my donation will change the course of the world forever. Peace and prosperity versus nuclear winter (Hillary) or Freedom, Jobs, and Winning versus Domestic Terror and Gun Confiscation (Trump.)


Interested and engaged citizens can be less alarmist but the election does present voters with a choice. Hillary represents stability and incremental-change while Trump represents dramatic change in policy and leadership. Hillary continues bipartisan internationalist foreign policy while Trump voices bellicose American interests. And Hillary represents diverse multicultural America while Trump represents the backlash against diversity and the civil rights revolution of the 1960s and after.

All three of these choices are working simultaneously, but each side congeals around a simple thematic choice. Is America an open and diverse country adjusting to a global reality built around a belief in principles of equality (Hillary) or is America a nation and people with its own traditional ethnicity and culture that has been victimized by excessive globalist thinking sorely in need of an unapologetic advocate for American interests (Trump.)

John Coster develops complicated real estate investments for a global development and construction company headquarters in Sweden, one that develops projects worldwide and attempts to fulfill global interests in sustainability and ecological mindfulness. He carries out this worldwide work with a home in the Seattle area, traveling extensively. He doesn’t have aworkplace; he works from where-ever he is at that moment, anywhere.

John Coster is a representative and archetype for the new global economic order. Francis Fukushima’s book The End of History and the Last Man imagined this kind of economy and the people who make it work, expecting national boundaries to erode as the world slowly becomes economically and culturally unified. Liberal democracy was triumphing. Samuel Huntington, the scholar and mentor of Fukushima, wrote a very different book, Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. He posited that humans cared first and always about culture, religion, and ethnic bonding. and prosperity and freedom would unleash not liberal democracy but an aggressive struggle for particularized cultural identity.

Possibly the view from 200 years from now will be that Fukushima was right, but the view from the past 20 years is that it was Huntington who understood better what motivated people. The books portray two very different world views. John Coster’s observations are interesting in part because he exemplifies so well one of them, Fukushima’s, and the political struggle of 2016, one candidate, Hillary Clinton. In actual fact, Coster was a Sanders, not Hillary, delegate in the Democratic convention in Washington State, but this accentuates rather than confounds his association with the new world order. Sanders’ view on trade differs from Hillary’s but more generally Sanders represents an accelerated pace for the changes Hillary attempts incrementally: more dovish, and more eager to push America in the direction of the European social welfare liberal democracy.

Read Coster’s observation of the diversity inside a New York subway car, in New York generally, and his understanding of the willful suspension of skepticism of Trump by many of his supporters. They hear plain, obvious untruths (Trump wasn’t a birther, e.g.) and it simply does not register. I consider John Coster a highly refined example of one way of seeing the world. To reprise the metaphor I used in yesterday’s post, he represents the water, the official global and federal government understanding of America and the world, dedicated to equality, equal justice, and tolerance. But this view is far from universal, and indeed the nativist whale actively rejects this view They celebrate having a country, with borders, and a traditional fully assimilated population. For those people, the subway car is a frightening vanguard of the loss of a traditional and great America, which is why there is so much fervent support the policies and personality of Donald Trump.

Guest Post: Observations from John Coster. A Field Report

“I’m riding on the R subway at 10pm in NYC, past the 23rd and Broadway stop, not far from the site of the recent bombing. Packed in the car with me is the most diverse group of people you’ll be likely to meet in one place by about any scale. Ethnicity, age, education, economic, religious, kind and amount of body art.

At the stop on 8th there are a couple of buskers playing awful but charming renditions of old Beatles tunes. A jar or $1 bills sits by the makeshift music stand. It seems normal to me.
I’ve been living in, or commuting to New York City for work for the past 5 Years.

A few years ago I was walking to get my Sunday morning bagel and I came across an Asian-American woman collapsed on the sidewalk. A tattooed and pierced white guy with a Mohawk and I started CPR, while an African American guy called 911 and led the medics to where we were. She miraculously revived and we hoped we didn’t too much damage. The three of us looked at each other shaking with adrenaline. We shook hands and went our separate ways but bound by something very powerful. Unlikely strangers spontaneously did something important together. That’s America to me.

So I’ve been as baffled by traction Trump gets from his message of dangerous immigrants — or anybody who’s “not like us” . I remember researching cults back when I studied theology. The Bagwan Shree Rasjneesh, David Koresh, Jim Jones, and more. What strikes me about followers of Trump is exactly that. They follow a man, whatever he says no matter how seemingly irrational or dangerous. Just like a cult leader in the most literal sense. It’s not his ideas or even ideals because those shift so often we can’t keep up. It’s something more powerful. The only consistent narrative is about “us” and “them”.

The pundits try to decode all of this through a social and political lens and I wonder if they are missing the cult angle. Trump followers would likely reject that assertion in the most cult-follower-like manner because cult followers’ wills are captive to a blind loyalty to their leader. What makes this scenario fascinating if true from a political and social science perspective, is that its been legitimized by a democratic political process. If my theory is true — then regardless of the outcome of the election, Trump’s power and influence may be with us for a long time.”

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This post is taken from my daily blog: I attempt a fair minded objective view of this extraordinary 2016 campaign year. Check it out.