America has chosen a racist, misogynistic sociopath for President. This is the man that would tear down NATO, take away the US as global policeman and take an “America first” approach to policies.
The rest of the world is reeling with shock. How could Americans vote for such a man?
America is in decline and is just coming out of a nasty recession. A recession in which the populist movement “We are the 99%” protested in Wall Street and in major cities around the world. The disenfranchisement expressed by these protesters did not even merit the major news agencies running the story until some weeks after the initial Wall Street occupation. Why? Because the gatekeepers in the media have vested interests in maintaining the status quo and refused to allow the anti-establishment views of the protesters light of day. The media bosses have made themselves rich by pushing a particular agenda and were not allowing alternate views.
Add to that the “rust belt” regions of the US where the decline of manufacturing has resulted in thousands of disenfranchised voters without a job. The middle class in America is hurting and has been for some time. There has been no improvement in real wages since the 1970s and many lost big time in the GFC. Housing prices in the US crashed, many saw themselves living in accommodation that was now worth thousands less than they paid for it. Personal and national debt has become a real issue.
At the same time the idea of “trickle down economics” has proved to be a false economic ideology. Evidence of massive increases in wealth of the 1% and the continuing gap between rich and poor continued to pile up. People were getting poorer, the rich are ripping them off and there is no benefit to anyone. Free trade agreements between nations just made things worse. The working class saw their jobs collapse as the manufacturing base moved from the US mainland to cheaper imports from China. The political elite have not appeared to address this disparity. There are vested interests at work here too – many political campaigns are funded by those very same elite.
But we are living in disruptive times. The mainstream media hegemony is now finding its control of the socio-political discourse has been disrupted by the Internet and social media. No longer can the gatekeepers in the media control information from getting to the masses. Facebook, as one example, is a reliable source of social information for Gen Y and Millennials. Many of whom do not read newspapers, nor do they watch television to any great extent.
Cue Donald Trump, who employed his team to create anti-Clinton memes on the Internet. Trump is the master of rhetoric. He is, because of his status as a billionaire and media gadfly the personification of ethos. He has used his reputation to make his voice heard. He used pathos in the form of fear, emotion and anger. In addition he used logos to explain to his mainly white male audience why the economy and social situation is as it has become. He placed the blame squarely at the feet of the vested interests in business and politics and swore to disrupt their control. Of course this appealed to the voters, who have seen their wages and standard of living decline.
It was a message delivered by using outrage to draw attention from the media. The more outrageous he became, the bigger his media coverage. Clinton was the wrong person for the job. Not only has she a long political history within the US, she has made a number of strategic errors during her time there. She may be well qualified to be President, but she is not loved nor trusted.
Her bid for President failed on a number of areas. First, she is a woman. This immediately put her at a disadvantage with male white voters. Secondly she was coming off the back of an incumbent from her own party. People felt the need for change. She represented the status quo, a personification of the very things that are wrong with the American political system. Third, Democrats always have a harder job winning the Presidency due to the gerrymandered Electoral College Vote system. The system always favours a Republican candidate.
As anyone who has conducted a job interview will tell you, it’s not just about qualifications. The candidate needs to be popular with the job panel as they will need to work with them in the future. Clinton was not as popular with the voters, her party did not have a majority in the Senate. And now we all will live with the result.