A million hacks are taking to a million laptops to write about Trump – but the take-away message is simple.
Trump won by tapping into the broiling, misguided but ultimately understandable anger felt by poor white America. In a sense, it’s the same story that brought about Brexit.
Neoliberalism rigs society in favour of the wealthiest. Inequality balloons. Industry dies, and life gets hard for working-class people.
They get angry. They look for someone or something to blame. Poorly educated, and with worldviews shaped by the scandalously impartial corporate press, they don’t blame those most responsible: the banks, the media, the Right, and the captains of corporate capitalism.
Instead, they blame the most vulnerable people in society – women, black people, Muslims, gay and transgender people, disabled people, all of whom have suffered under centuries of structural injustice – and the liberal end of a managerial, stage-managed political elite.
That mix of post-industrial anger, media-stoked scapegoat politics and brash, xenophobic nationalism handed Leave victory in the EU referendum. In the US, it’s even more potent – feeding off America’s deep-seated racial divisions and right-wing libertarian distrust of ‘big’ government. And in the end, it was enough to make Donald Trump President.
The most frightening thing isn’t what Trump will do in the White House – it’s what will happen when he doesn’t deliver on anything he’s promised his supporters. Nearly 60m people willingly voted for a lying, racist, sexually predatory sociopath billionaire. Once they’ve become disillusioned with him, who knows where they’ll turn next.
Fully automated luxury communism
Right-wing populism will never address the grievances of the people who get sucked in by it. That’s the worst thing about it – it dupes the poor and desperate into voting for people and policies that will make them even poorer and more desperate.
There’s only one viable alternative: the wholesale reconstruction of Western societies. The most radical social, economic, political overhaul in modern history – wiping out poverty, illiteracy, and inequality, rebooting and massively expanding public health and public education, ending the neoliberal dystopia of extreme winners and extreme losers, and creating a peaceful, democratic and sustainable society of equals.
If that sounds far-fetched, that’s because it is. It’s about as far off as it’s ever been. But carry on as we are, and Trump will look like an angel compared to what we’ll find waiting for us further down the road.