The ‘Great Unwashed’ Will have Their Revolution – As published in the Huffington Post on November 10, 2016
November 10, 2016
Well, Americans have spoken. They elected Donald J. Trump as their president.
Before anyone accuses me of being a Trump supporter, let me be clear: I am not, and neither was I a supporter of the other choices on the ballot (and regardless, I have no say: I am not an American citizen).
But he was the person on the ballot and he won. Since, much chagrin has ensued in rooms where intellectuals, media and politicians congregate. They tried everything to stop Trump’s win. From initially making fun of him to then presenting him as the biggest threat that the U.S. ever faced, and it all failed: he won decisively.
The question is why? Why did the Americans elect a man with no previous government experience, facing a number of lawsuits and allegations of sexual abuse and with a history of making polarizing statements?
The answer is simple: they wanted someone that was not part of the “establishment,” someone that said things without being “politically correct,” someone that wasn’t part of the political system that keeps promising them things and fails to deliver, someone that talked about issues they face on a day-to-day basis rather than large pie-in-the-sky projects.
The anti-establishment movements (there’s not a “single” movement — there are lots of groups opposing the establishment) are getting stronger and are responding to the concerns expressed by various segments of the population.
Americans are facing difficult economic conditions, security concerns and a changing world. The establishment and the media is trying to tell them all is fine — or will be — and that the direction being taken is the right one.
But these reassurances don’t pay bills and feed families.
Internationally, we’re seeing more individuals and parties describing themselves as “anti-establishment” making progress in popular votes. In France and a number of other European countries, the far right and far left have both elected members and are even leading governments (such as in Greece). The recent Brexit vote in the U.K. was also a strong repudiation of the establishment. And this is not limited to the Western world; in the Philippines, the population gave a strong mandate to someone who makes Trump look like a saint.
In Canada, many are deriding the fact that Americans voted for “someone like Trump,” notwithstanding the fact that Trump is a successful business leader and visibly has a good sense of what the pulse of the nation is. Canadians making snide comments about Trump should reflect on the fact that Canada has also elected individuals that earned the same comments. Rob Ford, the late former mayor of Toronto, earned a strong mandate from the population despite the media, the political establishment and intellectuals strongly campaigning against him
So, what is happening? First, the population recognizes that the media is now part of the system, not just a neutral observer of the system. Therefore their reports and warnings, like the assured economic crisis that would ensue should he win, are dismissed. The fact is that things continue to move forward. Businesses adapt and stocks, just a few hours after Trump’s election, were already recovering.
For those who think this sounds familiar, let me reassure you, you’re right: the European and British media tried the same tactic before the “Brexit” vote and it didn’t work. American media will have to concentrate on their core mandate if they wish to regain their role and credibility.
The next thing is that politicians will need to rethink the way they communicate with voters. But, most importantly, they will need to look at promises made and the delivery on these promises. In the past, as populations looked at promises broken by one party, they turned to another who would promise similar things but, once in power, also fail to deliver.
Lately, they’re turning to candidates that are denouncing the political establishment and pointing out the failures of the whole system. Trump and other leaders of the “anti-establishment” movements (which includes Bernie Sanders) have attacked the platitudes of the political class, corruption (financial or intellectual) of political elites and offered a change.
We will know in a few years what that promise of change means and whether it can be delivered.
To all those that derided the supporters of Trump and even Sanders, who called them despicable (Trump) or idealistic (Sanders), who dismissed them as impractical or racist — change your ways, or at least your thinking. The “great unwashed” are marching. And they’re angry.
The “great unwashed” have spoken in the U.S. election and, hopefully, they will be heard. They didn’t vote for Trump: they voted with their hearts and guts for a significant change in the way the country is governed. Hopefully their message is heard by the establishment, the political elite, the media and intellectuals.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not represent the views and opinions of Flagship Solutions and its clients.