Impeachment, all recent political stories, Trump, Brexit, nationalism, and Establishment v. Outsider battles are all explained by a single statistic
One stat explains every political story of the past several years: A year before voting for change, 75 percent of Americans believed “corruption is widespread in the country’s government”.
Trust in the media meanwhile, hit new lows: two-thirds of voters believe the media is full of “fake news.’’ A new AP poll also found two-thirds of Americans saying they frequently find one-sided information with nearly as many seeing conflicting reports offering opposite interpretations of the same facts.
Tune into any conservative news or commentary source and the ongoing narrative is exposing the corruption of the Swamp and Deep State. Flip to CNN and MSNBC and they are ALSO focused on exposing corruption (though they are saying Trump is corrupt).
Yet the entire Ukraine story is based on a Ukraine gas company paying Hunter Biden (Democrat frontrunner Joe Biden’s son) at least $50,000 per month (more by some estimates) to serve on its board. So both parties can look at Ukraine and find corruption.
Rachel Maddow and The Washington Post said the big headline from the first day of impeachment hearings surrounded good people “p — — — off’’ corrpupt Ukraine officials. There’s that word again: corruption.
The Church, organized religion, government, businesses and Hollywood have also weathered scandals undermining our trust in them. The oldest form of authority, the family, has similarly been weathering historic levels of distress.
Trends matter: Where we’ve come since 2008
In 2008, the global economy melted down. The Dow had climbed as high as 14,164 points on October 9, 2007, the peak of the George W. Bush presidency. By Election Day 2008, the Dow had dropped to 9,625 and Americans overwhelming voted for change, electing Barack Obama.
By March 9, 2009, the Dow had fallen to 6,547 (less than HALF of its all-time peak during the eight years of Bush). Today, the Dow is at an all-time high of 27,783 — more than QUADRUPLE of where it was in March 2009.
But tellingly, look at where the corruption stat went during those past 10 years: In 2009, soon after the stock market collapse and taxpayer-funded bail outs of GM, Chrysler and the banking industry, 66 percent of Americans said there was “widespread corruption’’ in the government.
Six years later, the “widespread corruption’’ stat grew from 66 percent to 75 percent. And the most energetic crowds were for the most disruptive candidates vowing to shake up the Establishment: Republican Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders.
The Gallup data was global and showed an upward spike since 2009
The 2015 Gallup data looked at 37 nations between 2007 and 2014, finding the United States ranking 13th on the list of nations where people most worried about “widespread corruption.’’
Note, not just corruption but widespread corruption:
Lithuania topped the list with 90 percent of Lithuanians worried about widespread corruption with other top 10 “widely corrupt nations’’ including Portugal, (86 percent); Ghana, (85 percent); Spain, (84 percent); Czech Republic, (83 percent); Slovenia (82 percent); Jamaica (79 percent); Costa Rica, (78 percent); Poland (78 percent); and Taiwan (77 percent).
And what happened in those countries? In 2015, a year before Trump was elected, Poland had an incredibly similar election: a far more religious and nationalist government opposing the Establishment of the European Union was swept into power and has maintained that power.
Look also at Taiwan, where pro-democracy protesters are fighting the corruption of their ruling overlords in China.
What didn’t happen that is fueling this focus on corruption
What might have happened but didn’t: Assume for a minute that 2016 had gone a little more like a typical election. Nearly all presidents get a “honeymoon period’’ where they begin their presidencies with popularity at all-time high.
Typically a president or governor starts out with a honeymoon, racks up a few legislative wins and by the first or second mid-term elections (or both) that president or governor is seen as “the new establishment’’ and the opposition runs under the banner of change.
Instead, Democrats opposed Trump from the moment he won. Protesters were in the street right after his election and The Washington Post ran a January 20, 2017 story saying efforts to impeach Trump were already underway soon after he was sworn in as president. Investigations, including the Muller probe, began soon after (all looking for corruption).
The media, Democrats and Trump supporters have all seemed to agree that Democrats and people who have been in power for many years are the Establishment and that Trump is (still) the outsider even though he’s been president for three years.
Voters (in both parties) remain rooted in their belief that there is widespread corruption. In Iowa, Biden (who has been in DC since 1972) is now in fourth place behind three outsider candidates. Trump, widely seen as being targeted by a ruling Establishment, is seeing support from his voters intensify.
The trends remain the same because the “widespread corruption’’ narrative remains. All sides — and common sense — are feeding it.