Now that Trump has been rejected by the US electorate, it is time to examine just what caused him to be elected in the first place. It’s all too easy to blame the electoral system (and there are issues with that), but fundamentally Trump got a lot more votes in 2016 (and 2020) than a self-obsessed failed business-critter should have done.
A big part of the MAGA phenomenon was (and is) frustration with mainstream politicians. Yes, there are other contributing factions – evangelical “christians”, far-right racists, the so-called “alt-right”, and traditional Republicans (who may have been reluctant but voted for him nevertheless).
But there is an immense level of frustration with the current political landscape with both political parties beholden to their corporate masters. And ordinary working people (who may not always have the most sophisticated political knowledge) have the urge to vote for “something different”.
Or in other words, “populism” or anti-elitism. Which is not always a bad thing especially if you pick the right elites to be against. But Trump’s brand of populism was fake – he promised to drain the swamp and just jumped in.
Fox News had a poll (don’t laugh – their polling is well done as long as they aren’t just polling their viewers) which was surprising – the US public overwhelmingly support more progressive values (universal health care, etc.) than either of the mainstream parties.
And that’s the key – neither of the two main parties is aligned with the interests of the electorate. Trump appeared to be anti-establishment, and those who didn’t see through to his con-act may well have voted for him because of that. Especially as he lacked corporate donors in 2016.
And that’s the key – the mainstream parties represent the interests of the corporations and not the electorate. And in the long term that is dangerous.