This article was written by Gyalten Tsering (Batch of 2014).
“Donald Trump cannot win”, “he is not ready”, “he doesn’t understand”, “he has no policies”, “he is not Presidential” (whatever the hell that means) so said (and continue to say) the political pundits and designated ‘experts’ on all the ‘respectable media outlets’. It is now obvious that not only can Trump win, he has a better than even chance of pulling it off. Why did all the negative media coverage in the world fail to stop him, why so much hate for Trump in the media and the political establishment, why were the ‘experts’ so wrong on Trump, were they ever right on anything?
There is a tendency among people to get bedazzled by authoritative sounding titles and credentials, this is not a new phenomenon, in old days ‘serious’ and ‘authoritative’ sounding people used to dress up in fancy robes claiming to hear the “will of God”, people with titles like ‘Archduke of Badassery and son of human Lion’ were widely seen as especially competent in warfare. Nowadays, most people do not accept those old Bullsh*ts but it is a fact that at the time these were the designated ‘experts’ who ‘knew what they were doing’ and it took massive and repeated show of incompetence by these ‘experts’ along with more workable alternatives for people to see the whole game of charades for the scam it was. It took medical breakthroughs for people to see the obvious incompetence of witchdoctors and the repeated a*s-whooping of ‘nobles’ and ‘brave-bloodlines’ by Napoleon’s ‘peasant-army’ to break off from the cozy delusion that common people could not fight against ‘nobles’.
We are currently at very interesting times, we are seeing the unraveling of one of the biggest scams of modern times: the belief in the competence of talking heads and empty suits on TV and papers. These are the same people who declared that Vietcong and NVA would be “wiped-out” in 8 weeks, they again declared that Iraq was a “masterstroke” by Dubya and Americans would be greeted as “liberators”, these people never saw the financial crisis coming (or for that matter any crisis), these same people cannot stop gushing about the strength of American military when in reality this overrated mercenary group cannot defeat a bunch of barefoot Afghan goat herders after spending 70% of the planet’s military budget. I can go on and on but just open any back issue of ‘Time’ (or any other American publication) and see how these people never got anything right.
“All that is fine”, you say, “but what does that have to do anything with Trump’s rise and is Trump not a racist-bigot who speaks in code-words of hate.” First of all this is America we are talking about, here EVERYTHING is about race and EVERYONE speaks in code-words. Here “law and order” means giving police a free hand to kill and jail minorities, “personal responsibility” means f**k you to the poor (again mostly minorities), “HOPE AND CHANGE” means swapping one group of sociopathic self-serving powerful people with another group of sociopathic self-serving powerful people (albeit with different skin pigmentation or gender), “war on terror” means bombing and terrorizing brown people in far-off lands and “model-minority” means striving losers who are expected to work for chump-change and shut-up for an intermediary place between Whites and Blacks (at least in their minds). So Trump is certainly not unique in his race-baiting and usage of code-language, it is an American tradition that everyone follows. So there is something else that explains the supposedly “inexplicable” Trump phenomenon and the frothing at the mouth hatred he gets from media-political industrial complex and it has nothing to do with “values”, or “principles”, those two things are as alien to American life as ET is to Earth.
So what exactly has caused Trump’s rise, there have been many articles written about how it is his media savvy, showmanship and celebrity culture that causes people to follow him, but is that really so? While I do not question Trump’s talent in handling the media, it is a minor and insignificant part of his rise, remember America has always had wealthy dudes with Trump’s personality and fame but no one could pull off a Trump. So let us try to understand the real reasons behind this phenomenon:
Loss of faith in competence of professional politicians: The modern nation-state is a relatively new creation and derived its legitimacy by explicitly promising and delivering increase in living standards. In exchange the state demanded absolute loyalty from its subjects. In western countries, white men in pants and suits replaced white men in robes and garments because they delivered the goods for the people. Now, most of that wealth was stolen from rest of the world but that did not stop the west from believing in their own Bullsh*it about “exceptionalism”, “superior culture and work-ethic”, “better governance” and “superior institutions”. However that gravy train of colonialism left the station long time back and Western countries can no longer loot and plunder black and brown countries to satisfy their home populations.
The belief in competence of professional politicians has been a cornerstone of western democracies (esp. America), it however has taken an unusually large hit in the last decade or two. It took repeated military failures, financial crisis and inability of the political class to do anything about these to erode the faith of a significant portion (if not majority) of the people living in America of their child-like faith in the competence of their leaders and institution. Add to that the repeated financial sodomy committed by Corporations, screwing of workers, bad experiences with the ever growing law and order industry has left a very bad taste with a lot of Americans. Many Americans (mostly younger ones) no longer believe that people in position of power have their best interest in hearts and are widely seen as corporate stooges working only for the benefit of the uber-rich, add to that there is also substantial number of people who have (correctly) lost all faith in the competence of government to get anything done. Trump seems to have grasped this massive dissonance that the political establishment in America has spent 50 years to create.
You see, no President in living memory has fulfilled even a small part of their campaign promises and people have rightly learnt to tune out whenever a politician comes up with a 20-point policy plan, Trump seems to understand how much (or little) public cares about these policy proposals and his reluctance to divulge policy details is likely a way to be seen as more authentic than other politicians. BTW I am in no way implying that Trump is any more competent than the politicians he is replacing or that he would follow up with his proposals because let’s face it when was the last time any elected official did what was promised. What I am saying is that a substantial number of the electorate is ready to give the benefit of doubt to an unusual looking reality star billionaire because they have lost all faith in the political establishment.
Internet: Why did the West become so militarily impotent after WW2, why can they not beat rag-tag groups of black and brown insurgents even after spending more money on weaponry than at any time in history? Now many of the self-serving explanations given by western ‘thinkers’ centers around west suddenly “learning from the carnage of WW2” or “rise of compassion” or “going soft on enemies” but is that really so? West and especially America has never shied away from killing non-whites, USA dropped more explosives in Vietnam than was dropped on Germany in WW2 but still they lost, what happened?
The single biggest reason for West’s military impotence was the invention of AK-47. Western countries were no longer facing natives armed with spears and arrows, in short the invader could no longer exploit in peace and safety. Widespread dissemination of small arms and loss of overwhelming technological superiority took away the real reason West was so dominant for 200 years and suddenly lost its edge. In modern warfare the ‘big-guns’ are just not decisive as shown repeatedly by the NVA, Taliban and ISIS. What really changed was that West could no longer translate body counts to meaningful and lasting victory.
A similar thing has happened in the communication sphere. There was a time not long back when publications like NYT, WP, Time, CNN, FOX and other assorted court scribes collectively called the Main Stream Media (MSM) enjoyed overwhelming advantage over dissenting opinions, they could effectively ostracize dissenting viewpoints to the fringes and declare their proponents modern day heretics (kooks and cranks). The invention of internet irreversibly changed that, the Big Media is no longer decisive. Add to that most American people have now come to realize that the talking heads and journalists are mostly careerist-strivers who are in it for themselves and are not especially competent at what they do. The media landscape (thanks to the internet) resembles more like insurgency where everyone is armed and the big guns do not decide the war. But that still does not explain the hatred Trump gets from the MSM
You see political media has always been a scam that was based on guild dynamics and run on patronage. The various media people owe their cozy lifestyle to the belief of political and ruling class in their ability to shape public opinion. This is why Trump’s candidacy threatens them so much, he bypasses the middle man. The hatred of media is no different than that of a retailer for Amazon/Flipkart and if Trump pulls this feat off then these journos and other consultants are in a very real threat of being rendered irrelevant. Sadly (or Fortunately), no matter what happens to Trump’s candidacy the dynamics that allowed the power enjoyed by the MSM is gone irreversibly as the media and communications steadily become more democratic, flatter and un-hierarchical due to the Internet.
USA is a (sorta) prosperous Third World Banana Republic: Now this one would be the most difficult for people to grasp. Isn’t USA the “shining city on the Hill”, “the last best hope for mankind”, “the greatest political experiment in history”? A short answer to all that is No, USA is and has always been a Third world Banana Republic that hit the jackpot and believed that they earned it.
You see America has never been good to its citizens. This obvious reality was always understood by Blacks but as long as the good times were rolling (1950s-1980s) it was overlooked by Whites. What has changed now is that even the Whites can no longer ignore the obvious dysfunctionality and inherent suckiness of life in USA. This is a country where a CEO can jack up the price of a 50 year old drug by 6000% and suffer no consequences, this is also the country that incarcerates more people than North Korea, China and Russia and where judges routinely give out 80 years prison sentence like they were handing cookies. This is the country where buying and selling of politicians to the biggest bidder (i.e. lobbying) is not only acceptable but also bragged about. This is the country where most people are one serious illness away from financial ruin.This is the country where a sociopathic CEO can fire thousands of people, ruin whole communities, steal investors’ money, get government bailout for his incompetence and still be on the cover of Time magazine to the adulation of suckers whose lives he destroyed. This is the country where even the lowest of low flunkies responsible for the debacle in Iraq and Economy has not and will not be punished.
You see Americans are almost exceptional in their delusions of grandeur, it amazes me no end when a White American claims to be worried about how an American President would be received by ‘the WORLD’ while his social-security gets cut to bare bones, job outsourced to far off lands and desperate wannabe Americans imported to do his job for half the cost. America has never been good to its non-whites but now it is starting to squeeze even its White population and only geriatrics, White Conservatives and Asian strivers are foolish enough to believe in the American Dream. Blacks and Hispanics always knew that American Dreamzzzz is and has always been bullsh*t told by white people who were born on the third base and thought they hit a home run.
Things have become so unusually sucky in America in the last two decades that even the biggest Patriotard cannot overlook the fact that whole country is a gigantic scam run by and for the super wealthy and no amount of PR can fix that. Tell me, in which country is a cop more likely to get away scot free after extrajudicial killing of unarmed person caught on TAPE: America or India? In which country is a repeated failure and financial scam artist more likely to become the Treasury chief: America or India? In which country are the higher ups more likely punish lower bureaucrats for abuse of power: America or China? In which country is the police response more likely to resemble that of Gaddaffi and Assad to peaceful mass protests: America or any of the ‘Third World’ countries? In which country is a politician more likely to pass a public screwing legislation and then cash in with a cushy job at an MNC: America or any of the failed state of the week put up by Time Magazine? In which country is your retirement fund more likely to be raided by shysters and government’s response be to suck it up: America or China? In which country is a disabled war-veteran more likely to be scrounging the streets for food and dying due to lack of medical care: America or India? Where are you more likely to be shot at random by a bitter burnouts: America or the rest of the World?
If the definition of a banana republic is that you can feel an inherent instability in the way the system functions, if you can reasonably foresee the unviability of the status quo and where most of the population believes in one conspiracy theory or the other to explain the difference between PR and reality then America is far closer to being a Banana republic than any of the countries Americans give lecture to.
What everyone got wrong this election is that the fastest growing demographic in America is not Hispanics, it is cynical burnouts who have a very accurate understanding of how much the country sucks. This demographic may not be the majority right now but it will soon be. One of the oft repeated phrases is that “Hope is the strongest force in the Universe” like most conventional wisdom it gets the reality exactly wrong. In reality, it is when people lose all hope that they become the strongest, cynicism and bad faith are far stronger agents of change than HOPE and FAITH could ever be. Trumpmania is the latest and till date the most prominent manifestation of that loss of sucker hope and will only grow stronger whether he wins or loses.