The ignored and desperate are lining up behind the loudest voices calling for change, no matter what that might mean. They yearn for promises of greatness and for scapegoats. They cheer Trump, Farage, Duterte, Le Pen, nationalist ‘Defense Leagues’. They are galvanized by the fear instilled by a callous, corrupt, lopsided system.
Normally, the American leaders chosen by their parties and the media are those who make empty promises without ruffling too many feathers. This year, however, the Trump campaign (and nationalist campaigns in other countries) has appealed to the knee-jerk reactions of the abused majority, spouting racism and jingoistic bumper-sticker invective with impunity. The schoolyard bully on one side versus the political machine on the other. Revolt reality TV-style, slinging epithets as policy, against the Establishment, a fortress walled off from a despised populace that is only pandered to at election time.
Neoliberal-style “democracy” is exposed as just another means of enrichment and extortion without consequence for the imperial class, full of loopholes, bailouts and purchased political influence. The growing wealth gap and disenfranchisement have created a desperate majority seeking anything that resembles support and recognition, no matter the consequences. Drowning victims will clutch at any lifeline, even if it’s made of razor wire.