Follow by Email

Monday, November 14, 2016


You are probably still shell-shocked by Donal Trump’s victory in the US presidential race.

The media never gave him a chance. Some pollsters gave his rival Hillary Clinton a 98 percent chance of winning. The Clinton victory was such a sure thing that Noble laureate Wole Soyinka promised to tear up his Green Card if Trump won.

The common denominator in all these anti-trump predictions was that they were being propagated and propelled by the elite, who control the mainstream media and the establishment.

"If this had happened in Uganda there would be loud accusations of election rigging by these same elite.

The most obvious take away of this election result is that all elections are local.

A politician may want to run a campaign based on highbrow issues like  the economy, foreign relations and trade issues but the decision to vote for one person or the other is based on, “What is in it for me?” I really can’t be bothered about jobs having been created if I am unemployed or a statistical improvement in healthcare when I am still not enjoying it or aggregate increases in employee incomes when I don’t see it.

For us looking from afar, we may have been dazzled by the presentation of our favourite candidate but we really didn’t have a handle on the local issues at play, shaping the race.

But a pattern seems have to been established.  We saw it with the Conservative Party victory in the UK last year, when all the polls and media saw a tight race but which turned out otherwise. We saw it in the UK referendum on whether to remain or pull out of the European Union (EU) where again the mainstream assured us the UK was voting to stay and didn’t. And now again.

Several forces were at play but I suspect two related events coalesced to award Trump the win.
For quite a while now the mainstream media has been running out of steam. Newspaper sales are down. TV ratings are falling. And radio’s pre-eminence as a source of news has fallen off in the west. That means that the controllers of these traditional media, supporters of establishment by virtue of their ownership, have seen their influence diminish.

Improvements in ICT mean that people now have greater choice of where they can get their information and even more important are less likely to kowtow to the establishment’s agenda, transmitted by the media.

"The greater access to information and improved capacity to organise and coordinate around an issue by the everyday man, means the manufactured consent by the traditional media is becoming increasingly hard to pull off...

It has happened before. The stranglehold that the Catholic Church over the old world’s social and political life was broken with the introduction of the printing press, which led to widespread literacy, which shattered the monopoly on the word the Church enjoyed up to that time. Of course the dissenters were helped that the King of England needed to marry a second wife and had to break away to do so.

And in a way Barack Obama’s success is to blame for Cinton’s loss this time. Prior to 2008 the phrase “every vote counts” rung hollow as establishment figures, be they Republican or Democrat, always won regardless of how out of touch they were with the grass roots.

But the lesson was not only for the minorities and liberal Americans to learn but for everybody. The analysts are saying rural America came out to vote this time and that made the difference for Trump.

"There is a lot of discontent because of the hollowing out of US industry, a decimation of the middle class and widening income inequalities. The discontent is so thick in the air that it throws up the irony of Trump, a billionaire, third generation American, born and bred in New York becoming the champion of the working classes, rural America and against immigration...

But that is democracy isn’t it? Not a perfect system but better than all the other systems – until it works.

No comments:

Post a Comment