I try to stay away from discussing politics. For all the moral dilemmas that technology present to us, the tech industry is one of visionary newness and optimism.
I will venture today into the results of the 2016 US Presidential Election to offer a little bit of clarity as to how I view it, and why Donald Trump is going to be the US president for then next four years. Here are five reasons why.
1. The media enabled Trump from the very beginning.
Many conservatives complain that the media has a politically liberal bent. But that assumes a polarity of political views. The media does according to what is best for the media, and while there are shared values, they are not the same thing. The media wants big, fresh, outrageous stories. Trump supplied that, and filled almost all of any time allocated to political candidates. It was amusing to many while he was whittling away at Republicans, but it didn’t stop after that, did it?
Third party candidates only got covered if the media managed to find an interesting weakness.
Not since the first televised debate between Kennedy and Nixon have I felt the media played as strong a role in an election.
2. People are left out of the economy.
We heard about the US economy improving. Real people lost their jobs and their homes following 2008. But worse, many who made a living before have discovered that the only jobs available are part time jobs that pay a low hourly wage and come with no benefits. People are afraid their way of life is disappearing. If others have gained some benefits from economic improvements, those improvements did not reach many.
3. Charisma still matters to the story.
Unfortunately, registered democrats elected Hillary Clinton instead of Bernie Sanders. Although he was very much a government insider, Bernie was a kind of outsider in his own party, primarily because he espouses strong socialist values. Bernie is more likeable than Hillary. Bernie comes across as a believer. How would the election been different if it was Bernie and not Hillary representing the party?
I will not argue that Trump has charisma. He doesn’t. But the messaging that many ascribed to his candidacy rings true to them, no matter the extent of actual factuality.
4. The disgusted can not vote instead of voting strategically.
Historically, an additional risk to democrat platforms was flip voters who are registered democrat but then vote across party lines. Disgust of your own candidate can do that, and its a more common occurance among democrats because the Democratic Party has a much, much wider variety of members than the Republican Party. What happens when both parties put forward a disgusting candidate?
Strong party supporters will vote their party in order to simply defeat the other party, even if the other party candidate has some compatible views. But there is a line which we reached in this election when clearly, a great many of the disgusted either decided not to vote at all, or in some states, they voted third party.
5. The future is unclear, and new is potentially better.
There is an underlying, cultural sense that what is new can be better. New things are not automatically viewed with skepticism like they are in many countries. Why were so many young democrats enamored with this old guy, Bernie Sanders? His message was fresh and hopeful. Hillary is perceived by many as a political party insider promising more of the same, or at best, simply not being Trump. That clearly wasn’t enough.
What happens next? Many colleagues of mine are expressing disbelief and fear. But it is too early for that. We have a balance of power in America. POTUS is not a king.
If you thought the Republican Party reaction to the ascent of Trump was strange, it is because all parties have been looking ahead to the 2020 election for some time.
Wait and see.