Is Trump's Popularity A Growing Revolt Against The Deep State?
People are willing to forgive Donald Trump his failings, his egoism, his record as a businessman, his language, because they think he is the only one that can and will fight the elitist Deep State.
In America and Europe, voters are abandoning establishment politicians in favour of outsiders. In the US, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and the socialist Bernie Sanders have capitalised on the general unease with experienced candidates like Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Hillary Clinton.
Across the Atlantic, the European project is increasingly seen as being run by bureaucrats in Brussels who are not answerable to citizens or even politicians. In spite of its obvious benefits of a single currency and free movement across the continent, many people wish to free themselves from the suffocating embrace of the European Union.
Some of this is reaction to the difficulties created by the economic stagnation, mass immigration, and terrorism, and the perception that governments have not done enough to change things. The theories, which guided the economic policies of the last 10 years, have not worked out.
In spite of the increase in the money supply, unemployment remains high and the prices of commodities, including minerals and oil, are going down. With ever-increasing automation and AI (artificial intelligence), it is not clear how lost jobs will ever come back.
The politicians on the left and the right have responded to the economic gloom by hardening their positions. Greece voted for the left-wing Syriza, the Labour Party in Britain elected the radical Jeremy Corbyn as its leader.
In the United States, people are flocking to Trump for they are dissatisfied with what has been called the Deep State, which comprises of the elite associated with the major political parties, the corporations, especially of the finance sector, and the entertainment world.
The common man thinks that the elite are concerned only with their own well-being, and neither of the major political parties has the capacity to go against them, and Trump is perhaps the only person who can. His unscripted style and statements that are politically incorrect reinforce this assessment.
The Deep State is facilitated by the revolving door between Congress, the Executive Branch, corporations, and Washington DC think tanks. It is a car with three wheels: first, a neoconservative, interventionist view of foreign policy; second, a neoliberal view of domestic policy; and, third, increased immigration into the developed world.
New communications and computing technologies that have interconnected economies and people across the world have helped the elite strengthen their hold on power. Complex system theory tells us that in such a system attraction basins form and these become the stable states of the system.
Once you are in an attraction basin, it is very hard to pull away from it even though it may not be the optimal basin in the sense of providing the most good to most people. Once a stable state has been arrived at, individuals do not have much freedom or capacity to go against the consensus.
This is true both at the personal and the national levels. Even the president of the United States cannot do much when it comes to decisions related to international finance. This imperative of the attraction state is reinforced by the web of expectations and aspirations that ensnares most people.
The president needs millions of dollars to create the Presidential Library, which requires good relations with captains of industry. It is also difficult for most to simply fade away when their stint at power has ended. Professional politicians are perpetually at the trough, and, to give just one example, in the last 14 years the Clintons have received $153 million in speaking fees alone.
The Deep State has strategic alliances with the feminists, socialists, communists, and diverse minorities that want the government to take charge and solve problems.
It supports the Left when it speaks of the need for justice, which it uses to counter the right’s insistence on respect for laws. The Left recruits people to its cause through narratives of inequality. The alliance of the Left is based on group identity and feelings of victimhood and grievance and it leaves it to technical experts to manage the complexity of society.
It has co-opted the Right by using the old conservative meme of the collective wisdom emerging from the personal decisions of the many individuals and the folly of the yearning for utopia. All it asks for is the acknowledgement that the experts have this wisdom.
In certain areas, the elite support attitudes that began with the Left but have now been embraced by the Right. Sexual revolution is one of the hallmarks of the post-socialist Left. This is in opposition to the attitudes of most educated women until the 1960s that were changed with the introduction of the contraceptive pill. Fears of overpopulation legitimated a contraceptive ethic throughout middle-class society in the West. China, India and other countries quickly adopted these ideas.
Likewise, no-fault divorce, first adopted by the Bolsheviks following the Russian Revolution of 1917, was eventually widely embraced. This began to undermine the idea of marriage as a binding mutual contract oriented toward the procreation and nurturing of children.
As populations have begun to decrease in Europe, all sides of the establishment want greater immigration. The Left, to reduce the political power of entrenched groups, even at the cost of wages going down; the Right, for cheap labour.
The establishment media has become a mouthpiece for the elite. But new information and computer technologies are a double-edged sword. While they are making it easier to exercise control over people, social media has reduced the power of the pro-establishment media. To come back to the disillusionment with the Left and the Right, more and more people believe that in actual governance both parties do the bidding of the powerful corporations.
People are willing to forgive Trump his failings, his egoism, his record as a businessman, his language, because they think he is the only one that can and will fight the elite. It also explains why he is being attacked with great vehemence by both the left and the right.
For going against the unwritten consensus, he has been called the most dangerous man in the world. The growing revolt does not have a grand plan. It is born of desperation against political correctness and it has taken different guises in different countries.
As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.
Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.
We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.
Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.