Michael Moore, the left-leaning filmmaker, called it in
July. Moore is from Flint, Michigan and understands the experiences and
concerns of individuals who live in the so-called Rust Belt.
Moore lives among people who have suffered from factory
closings, the rise of technology that squeezed them out of jobs, and what has
felt like an elite political system that could not relate to them and did not
Trump spoke directly in a language they could understand
about putting a 35% tax on automobiles that are made in Mexico. He has
promised, as a business man, that he can and will create jobs which will lead
to prosperity for the “working” class.
The adage that people vote their pocketbooks was forgotten
during the 2016 election by Trump opponents.
Many who voted for President Obama and the promise of change were
The slow growth of the GDP (gross domestic product), convinced a substantial number of blue collar
and formerly middle-class Americans that the existing system would never work
There is a truism that states that happy people will vote
for incumbents. The Trump win underlined the desire to sweep Washington clean. People
have lost patience with a Congress that is stuck due to political rivalries. Accomplishing
little to nothing is no longer acceptable.
Politicians are seen as uncaring and self-involved.
Citizens are struggling to stay above the poverty level. There
is resistance to foreign wars and interference in the affairs of sovereign
nations. With a fear that there is not enough to go around it is understandable
that there is resistance to the admission of a vast number of immigrants. It is
not unusual in times of perceived threat for people to close ranks.
Was Hillary Clinton treated fairly? There will be little consensus on the answer
to that question. One theory that has
been put forward is that man, and more so, women resent Secretary Clinton.
Despite the growth of opportunities for women, scores of
women resent her for not accepting nurturing as her central goal in life. It is hard for human beings to accept a
change in paradigm. The possibility
exists that there are fewer roads to success for the women who live in the Rust
Belt. It is feasible that these women
resent one of their own gender who has broken through expectations.
Citizens of the United States are not in awe of
dynasties. It is possible that many
people are tired of Clinton’s and Bush’s in positions of power. Any intrigue or
mystique wore thin while the Clinton’s and Bush’s were not looking.
There is a shared similarity between Donald Trump, Bill
Clinton, and Bernie Sanders. All of them have that hard to define quality
called charisma. Charisma is something you have, or you do not. It cannot be taught or imitated.
Unfortunately, Hillary lacks this quality.
In his book, Emotional Intelligence Daniel Goleman provides
a thorough and compelling argument that the way an individual understands, gets
along with, is sensitive to the reactions of others will predict success in
life. Goleman values this emotional intelligence above intellectual
intelligence and beauty. At the time he
wrote it he named Oprah Winfrey as an example of excellent emotional
intelligence. He credited this characteristic as the reason for Ms. Winfrey’s
Many regard Hillary as the epitome of greed and
trickery. They believe that she was
guilty of all charges against her including Whitewater, the death of Vince
Foster. And the tragedy in Benghazi. Despite being found not guilty, many
harbor the belief that Hillary somehow cheated her way out of conviction. Because
of the above, Hillary is rarely given the benefit of the doubt.
Those who are fed up with things moving along at the same
old pace in the same old way in Washington have an appreciation of and desire
for a leader who can think outside the box.
President-elect Trump is a self-described entrepreneur. Certainly, he
ran his campaign in a way like none other.
There is an expectation that his administration will come up with novel
solutions to the same old problems. Mr. Trump faces a challenge that many would
Mr. Trump threw away the current campaign playbook and quite
effectively went back to an authoritarian style informed by reality tv and
social media. He utilized what he had: glamour, celebrity, ostentatious wealth
and a bombastic style to his advantage. His lifestyle offered a dream of escape
for those who are struggling financially. His disregard for accepted rules of
civility spoke to those who are tired of being civilized.
Mr. Trump made mention in his victory speech of the
so-called “forgotten man”. He is not the first successful politician to play
that card. The “forgotten man” has been
referenced by Republicans and Democrats. In today’s incarnation the implication
is that white working class people have been neglected due to untoward
attention that has been paid to men, all men, who do not identify themselves as
The irony of this attention to the white working class
following eight years of America’s first African-American President is
impossible to ignore. This populist, xenophobic attitude did not start with Mr.
In Hungary, prime minister Viktor Orban has erected a wall
to keep out immigrants. Finland is in the process of slashing the number of
immigrants allowed to enter as they attempt to exclude non-Europeans. The swing
to the authoritarian right is a trend on both sides of the Atlantic.
CNN journalist Van Jones has called this trend a “white lash”.
It has been speculated that those who have traditionally held power (white men)
are fearful that their privileges are being usurped by non-whites. The notion
that those in power will fight to keep the power is nothing new. Focus on any
historical era to find examples of the hoarding of entitlements. There is data
that confirms that when those who have been subjugated become citizens the
likelihood of violence increases, as the “haves” hold on to their status for
Mr. Trump has been unafraid to herald his bigotry toward
anyone who isn’t him. A part of the
American populace has been shocked and appalled. The other part, the “forgotten
man” part assert that he is saying what they are thinking, and an impenetrable
bond has been formed.
There are those who declare that the United States now has
the leader it deserves. Clearly, this is unprovable. What comes next remains to
be seen. The hope is that American voters got it right. Time will tell if the different sections of
the United States will come together and each side will develop some empathy
for the other.
Donald Trump is the new leader of the free world. May he use his power judiciously.
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