I’ve been on assignment in the USA for the last year; and want it or not, I’ve been an innocent bystander to the American election. What a show! The interesting thing is, very few people actually believed Donald Trump would make it this far. He seems to have caught a lot of people by surprise; why is he so popular? Deepak Chopra offered an interesting perspective on this the other night in an interview. He believes that Trump represents the “collective shadow” of the American people. He went on to explain that we all have a dark side. That side of us may be bigoted, racist, misogynistic, ageist, or even angry; we generally suppress our shadow in our day-to-day interactions for we have learned that it is improper or not politically correct; and so we tend to hide it. What Trump does through his speeches and is appeal to our dark side, our shadow, and speak out the things many think but our uncomfortable advocating. It is an interesting thought and I’m sure there is some truth to it but I also believe there is more to this story.
Over the last 40 years, the incomes (in real terms) of the American middle class have been declining. Recent articles by the Pew research center support this. Politicians seem to be more interested in lining their own pockets than looking out for the good of their constituents, and once upon a time there was at least some level of bi-partisanship when it came to big issues. In fact a 2015 survey shows a broad distrust in government. Journalism used to be a noble profession, journalist kept politicians and big corporations in check. But with the downfall of newsprint, news organizations are too dependent on advertisers to be controversial. Besides, the election cycle is a bonanza for them; the closer the race the more money is spent on advertising. Last summer NPR predicted that the 2016 election campaign will see roughly 4.4 billion$ spent on advertising. People are just simply dissatisfied and fed up.
Europeans are not much better, they are witnessing wave after wave of immigrants settling in their countries but never really assimilating, and therefore feel threatened. The EU bureaucrats keep coming up with new rules that infringe on people’s traditions and way of living, farmers can’t slaughter their own animals even though it may be for private consumption. The small guys are being pushed out to ensure the big corporations can get a bigger share. In fact Europeans are even worst off because the people dreaming up all the new regulations are not even elected officials! The elected members of the European council don’t have much influence over what goes on in Brussels. That is left to the European commission who’s task, amongst others, is to manage the 23 000 European civil servants.
I believe we are entering an age where people are expressing their dissatisfaction through their votes, a democratic revolution. This is the movement that gave us the Brexit and will probably give us Donald Trump as the next president of the USA.