Text: Žikica Milošević
Once again in 2016 we have awaken in the morning to find a different reality. Just a few days prior to the U.S. election, I spoke to my friend about the prospects and everybody seemed to agree that Hillary would get her victory. Why? Because of the opinion polls and her “three per cent lead”. I mentioned one thing, and this is “poll bias”, or the incorrect poll results connected with elections every time one side is demonised. In the days before the Brexit referendum, the media portrayed the Leave voters as racist, narrow-minded isolationists and, of course, when asked how they would vote, many of them said something like “Nothing, I will abstain.” But these are in fact so-called “silent voters”. They don’t express their opinions, as they think they are unpopular and that they will be ostracised. And the promised ostracism makes them even fiercer and angrier, and firmer in their opinion.
So, we are in a vicious circle. You cannot or must not say aloud something that is not politically correct, but you can silently vote for it. And there we go: the results always favour the conservative side. This is what has happened again in the U.S. Donald Trump epitomises everything that many people would call “unacceptable” – he freely and carelessly talks about his deeply incorrect actions towards women, as though bragging in a locker room. But do we think that the voters completely forgot Bill Clinton’s Oval Office adventures (they are, like, better?), and do we (seriously) think that the public would think that Trump’s sometimes outrageous comments would be worse than “I caught my husband cheating on me, but I swallowed the frog and kept silent because I wanted to be president after him”? Obviously, many people thought that Hillary’s connections with Wall Street, her restless zeal for foreign interventions, her laughter over Gaddafi’s dead body, are unacceptable… even if Trump is the only other solution.
And there was an alternative! Bernie Sanders was a perfect next step for leftist America, after the Afro-American Obama. A secular Jew and a socialist seeking to make a shift towards a Canadian or Australian model of society, something like the “Great Society” introduced in 1965 by Lyndon Johnson, perhaps the greatest revolutionary president in U.S. history (OK, on par with Lincoln). Johnson was “killed” politically by his crazy Vietnam adventure, but his internal policies were great. And then, despite the polls showing that only Bernie – and not Hillary – could defeat Trump, she pushed him away in her second attempt to take over the White House in her own right. And that’s why we now have Trump.
Sanders had all the solutions for American society that Trump has, but his were even better. He wanted to disassemble the crooked liaisons between Wall Street and politics. He criticised TTIP and inequality, as well as the decay of the working class. But when he was left aside, Trump came in and merely targeted all of the American fears: the destruction of the working class; Wall Street continuing its job; the outsourcing of traditional jobs to China and Mexico, a high crime rate, tension with Russia etc. The Rust Belt turned red. Americans may fear the unpredictable new president and his racism, misogyny and everything else, but now they really hate the system. No more jobs outsourced; no more interventions around the world; no more fighting with Russia; no more weak support for the anti-ISIS fight. They wanted their little lives back; the restoration of their decimated middle class; their American Dream that crumbled slowly into despair. It is not Trump’s genius. It is the fault of the liberals who left room for populists. This is a much broader subject across the whole world, but, essentially, the Democrats traditionally championed the working class and the middle class. Now they are championing the free market and oligarchs. The Dems simply shifted their attention to Afro-Americans, Hispanics, the LGBTQ population and others. Who is going to be the patron of the working
class? That empty space created a vacuum, and the vacuum created Donald Trump. He is not the cause of the problem, but rather the result; the result of the long-term disenfranchising of ordinary men and women all around America.
Brexit happened once again. The City forgot the English suburbs, London forgot Birmingham and the Europhiles forgot the Eurosceptics. The same happened here. The Capitol forgot the Rust Belt. Wall Street forgot the blue collar workers. New York City forgot the defunct industrial towns and cities. This is the second warning for the world’s leaders. The people want to change the system; to break it into pieces. Good news: both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party will have to change from their roots. The unhealthy ties between lobbyists and big capital will weaken. Trump promises to “drain the swamp” and, no matter what the Hollywood stars say, the swamp is here. And it stinks. If you did not want to let Bernie do it, then Donald will do it. Branko Miljković once said: “Who is not able to listen to the song will listen to the tempest”. Welcome to the new world; a different world. We don’t know what it will look like, but the old one was rotten, as proven by Brexit and the U.S. election.