It`s 2:30am EST and I am watching TV, listening to different political pundits trying to explain the results of the American election based on concepts like racism, sexism and educated urban elites vs rural and working class. The result of the election is a disappointment, no doubt, for everyone who was hoping this election would be an affirmation of a more egalitarian society. That didn’t happen. So I understand why some people’s reaction is to take what the election meant to them and to conclude that since it didn’t go their way then the opposite of what they hoped for must be true. But please don’t get sucked into that trap. None of this explains why Hilary lost.
The true issue is that there is a large portion of the American population (and western society in general) that has been disenfranchised by globalization.
And the main lesson to be learned from this election is that when policy makers change the system in which their people operate they create advantages for some and disadvantages for others. Even if the sum of the advantages outweigh the disadvantages they still need to create counter balancing policies to support and transition those most affected. If they don’t then the stability of the system in general is at risk.
I am a major proponent of globalization, global cooperation and free trade. They are pillars of a stable and peaceful world. But progressives, if we are going to learn the right lesson from this election it’s that if we want to beat the crazies on the left and the crazies on the right then regardless of race, gender or creed we need to have leaders that make it a priority to look after the most disenfranchised first when they are thinking of ways to make things better for everyone as a whole… because apparently if they don`t, within a couple of decades these people can take a maniac reality TV star and make him president.
The real danger of this election isn’t that Trump won. He’ll be gone in 4-8 years. The danger is thinking that everyone who voted for Trump is a sexist or a racist. Personally, I refuse to believe that.
If you take the inflammatory (attention grabbing rhetoric) away from his message what’s left his this, “Immigration is changing the structure of America and globalization has A-symmetrical benefits to society; therefore, we need to put some checks and balances on both”. That’s a policy platform that resonates with a lot of people. I won’t believe that there are 50 million low lifes living in America. I actually think they got sold on Trumps policies. And instead of focusing on what was actually appealing to people the majority of the rest of us focused on the toxic filth coming out of his mouth. Hind sight is 20-20 I guess but it would have been smarter to attack the ideas behind his rhetoric then the rhetoric itself.
Donald Trump is a low life, no doubt about that. But I worry that certain media, political figures and interest groups are going to label all his supporters as bad people in an effort to advance their own vested interests. They will try to argue that his supporters are bad people and that both Trump and his supporters are the enemy. If progressives buy into that what is going to happen is that his supporters are going to double down on him instead of considering a more progressive and inclusive alternative.
One only has to look at the most recent Canadian election to see an example of how this can be done. In taking power from the conservatives Justin Trudeau and his liberal party ran on a platform of that was in general pro-globalization, pro-trade, pro-equality of gender and race, and pro- immigration. But instead of ignoring the people most affected by those policies they included the promise of infrastructure spending to support people who are low skilled or seasonal workers, as well as lots of other polices to ensure government led social support for urban and rural low income families. It was a platform that actually tried to balance the needs of all parts of society.
I won`t believe that there are 55 million racist cretins living in America. I do believe that there are a lot of disenfranchised people and a few jerks. So I’m rolling with the optimistic view that if we listen to the disenfranchised, progressives can do better next time.