THE BLOG

Democracy And The Election Of Donald Trump

09/11/2016 13:31

History is a great teacher

We should not be very surprised at the US election results, as they could easily be a replication of what occurred here a few short weeks ago and the indications that this was going to go the (unexpected) way of Brexit were clear.

The sentiments that have been expressed and the rhetoric that has been used is remarkably similar to the Brexit campaign, and yet again we are left with a deeply divided country, rural vs urban, class against class, individual against big government, 'under-represented vs under represented'.

The one thing all of these groups have in common is the fact that they feel that the government has not represented them in its current form. And the Brexit vote, as much as the US Presidential vote, gave underrepresented people a chance to change the status quo.

Deeply Divided Democracy

If we look deeply we will see that this vote, just like the Brexit vote, is a threat to pluralism and democracy, the cost of the 'mass vote' that shows the deep cracks in a political system that we fought so hard for.
We may want to couch the win in racism, sexism, elitism, urbanism, but at the heart, it is the cost of an ill formed, ill executed democracy, that pledges to represent and be the voice of the people, however only gives voice and power to the people every four years or with a referendum, forcing them to group all of their upset into one voting opportunity.
This was not just a vote for Trump vs Clinton, this was a vote for establishment vs anti- establishment, change vs status quo, the little people vs big government.

The Voice of the Majority

The average Joe has been ignored for too long, and after our recent history, any campaign that speaks to them and gives them a voice will succeed, any campaign that speaks to a change from a system that does not currently work for them will succeed.

A face that they know, that has been in their living rooms, that is (deeply) imperfect yet authentic, is preferable to well -crafted leaders who appear to be part of a political class with crafted words and a lifetime of the government experience that they can never access.

People may say that this is a vote against women and ethnic minorities, and in some of the cases this may be correct, however more importantly, it was also the vote of the majority, who have been seldom represented in the popular voices, the people that democracy was devised to empower. And this is the only opportunity that our political systems have given them to express their discontent at being misrepresented and forgotten in recent history.

Democracy Revisited

This is not a charge against the electoral college system, this is a charge against the structures of any typical western democracy that claims to be the voice of the people. When we don't give the average Joe voice in his daily life on a regular basis, they will come out in droves to use the only voice that is given to them that presents a real alternative to the status quo.

We need to instil more engagement and empowerment through our government representatives with the citizens of a democracy, so that socio economic issues are not all grouped together once every four years, and results such as these do not knock us sideways, but have been listened to, understood and reflected in our government long before we engage in constitutional decisions such as Presidential elections and EU membership.

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