My dad writes:
If you analyse the people who voted for Trump it is surprising that a misogynist can receive the vote of 40% of the women voting, and given his views on immigration, also receive a significant vote from the latino/hispanic vote and even from the Afro/Indian vote. Why would people who logic says should believe a candidate does not have their interests at heart, vote for him?
It is worth reading what the French newspapers are saying about the Trump victory. They are the next important country with a general election. There is a genuine fear that Le Pen could be about to break through because their electorate may now take a similar view of Le Pen to the one the Americans took over Trump.
The reason suggested is that the political elite living in the big cities are not aware of the feelings of people living in non urban settings or the less well off in the more parochial urban settings. Like in America and here in Britain these people are disenchanted with the established politicians living in the political “bubble” in the capital. As far as they are concerned the political establishment may say they will improve the lot of the ordinary voter but they always fail to deliver. It is time for change. Someone else, anyone else is a better bet.
Globalisation with the apparent wealth it is creating isn’t helping them. The money and the life style improvements they are shown on TV and social media go to the already rich people living in the cities. Even there the benefits don’t even reach down to much of the middle classes.
Up until now the disenchanted have moved their votes to right wing nationalist figures like Trump or Nigel Farage, but do the disenchanted have to move in that direction? Is there a chance that the media have overlooked the fact that in the UK the disenchanted may be willing to move in a leftward direction? The election of Corbyn has had the effect of turning the Labour party into the largest political party in the land. Will the Labour establishment now embrace his leadership or will the they continue to make the same mistake as the the Democratic establishment did in the USA when they turned down Bernie Sanders?
Great points. And especially the pivot to optimism you end on, which we all hope comes through.
I think the DNC did an awful job with Hilary's campaign. They chose the wrong candidate. They had the wrong message. They played a nasty game. And as such 10 million less democratic voters voted for Hilary, than Obama in 2008. And 6 million less than in 2012. So a big problem here was lots of Dems stayed home because they didnt want Hilary. Is this a function of her establishment background, the fact she is a woman or some thing else? It think its certainly about the first two things and probably a lot more too.
Aside from this massive slip in the Democratic vote, the distraction politics of Trump, the blame minorities and immigrants narratives, are a simple way to distract the electorate from the real issues. And of course the real issue is capitalism is broken and has reached its limits and it is now imploding with all the social, cultural, economic and political fallout we are seeing globally. Yet instead of this collapse producing a response in the masses of solidarity across their fundamental interests, the dying throes of the capitalist system divide those at the bottom of the economic pyramid and turn people against each other. This is achieved through mobilising race and racism (as well as intra class politics like middle class vs working class) as responses to changing socio-economic circumstances. This divides those at the bottom and turns what they have in common, their fundamental socio-economic interests, which are their social and economic dispossession and disenfranchisement, into immediate interests. These immediate interests do not align across race, gender, sexuality etc. Instead they divide and turn people against each other. Who gains from such a scenario, well people like Trump, Le Pen, Farage, the Tories - because their politics is about protecting your own immediate interests and not working for solidarity across class. So in the end its not Hilary's fault or Trump is the anti-christ. Its the political and economic system - democracy and capitalism - no longer work and have turned against the masses and turned the masses against each other. The masses' reaction as we see in Brexit and Trump is to do all they can to be heard, which is hijack the system and try to bash the establishment so they change course. In the US, the DNC should have put Bernie forward, but due to it being Hilary's turn they used nasty tactics to win the nomination and with that they had already lost the election.
Another thought, is that in 2008 for a long time everyone thought it would be Hilary who got the nomination, then Obama came from no where and she stood aside. As we saw Obama, wasn't ready to be President. He was too inexperienced, and it was more about the race thing and opportunism. He saw his chance and he went for it. I think the US was ready for a female President in 2008. But once Hilary stood aside, her chances of ever winning the presidency had already be damaged.
Returning to the idea of Bernie or Corbyn, the questions you raise at the bottom are the key ones. Will the labour or democratic establishment support and embrace the turn to the left that is needed? Its hard to say. I think inherently those political machines are social democratic ones gone wrong, and while we obviously would prefer a movement in that direction rather than the dangerous future peddled by Trump and May, its the structural things that are broken - capitalism and democracy. So its not going to get better by simply moving the pieces around - like seats on the titanic. What is needed is a break with what has gone before. As the Italian thinker Gramsci said in the 1930s, "The crisis consists precisely in the fact the old is dying and the new cannot be born." That is the crisis we face. And in answer to your email's fundamental question, yes i think we should be worried about the future but also maintain there are glimmers of hope that may emerge from this historical moment and conjuncture.