Friday, June 24, 2016

Fearmongering didn't prevent Brexit, won't prevent President Trump

The departure of the UK from the European Union and the rise of Trump are interesting and related phenomena. 

It's often said in this country that Trump is a threat to our democracy. In fact, he's a product of our democracy's failures. The same could be said of the Brexit.

Hatemongering fascists have always been an undercurrent of most societies. They only rise to prominence when the ruling elite is discredited as corrupt and dishonest and betraying those who work for a living. 

The EU is not really a coherent organization or set of institutions. Although it does confer many benefits, it's marginally democratic and hard for people to feel a sense of loyalty toward. Fixing it was a harder sell that quitting it. But the latter will have consequences too. 

It's easy for someone to look at Hillary Clinton's traditionally sketchy relationship with truth and ethics and think "The heck with that." As Trump is the only alternative most are made aware of, the disgusted gravitate toward him. 

It's beyond question that many racists and other bigots support Trump. But it's a mistake to infer that all, or even most, Trump supporters are like that. Many just want something different from the corporatist sellouts that the Democratic and GOP elites have been shoving down our throats for decades and erroneously think Trump is their only option. 

Trump's a more firmly part of the exploitative elitist class than even Clinton. And he's not their only non-Clinton option. Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Dr. Jill Stein are both far better choices than Trump and Clinton and offer positive, affirmative agendas. 

Spending decades trivializing the concerns of people who work for a living - and claiming they are just racists - is what's caused the huge backlash against the Democratic and Republican elites. 

Establishment fearmongering didn't prevent the Brexit and it will not be enough by itself to prevent a Trump presidency. When you don't give people an affirmative option to say yes to, the vacuum will usually be filled with something more nefarious.