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Many of the great polling places in different corners of the globe have been settled with the victory of the most unexpected options, with a slap to the established powers, to the rulers accommodated in their offices from where they rule the destiny of millions of people, to their status quo. The political analysts are alarmed, if not all, although most of the election phenomenon’ analysis are wrong or incomplete.
The political experts point out to several causes: the emergence of strongly charismatic people who break into politics, who build their leadership on culturally important issues in each country, and who take advantage of economic crises in order to launch utopian proposals; The voters let themselves be seduced by those promises; And the defects of the system which they call ‘neo-liberal’, and which, in their view, has proved incapable, being corrupt and plagued with inequalities. The leader would not have a proper political program proper, but promises to break with the practices of the past, ending corruption and empower the people. There is also an abundance of sensationalist discourse, very noisy and loud, which is mostly produced through social networks.
Days before the US elections, Ileana Garcia, woman and Hispanic and president of ‘Latinas for Trump‘ ‘s declarations about the Latinos, and described why she preferred the New York tycoon: She felt not offended by Trump and supported him because “this election means a war against the establishment of the two parties, the Democrat and the Republican, which have done absolutely nothing for this country. “ That challenge to the elites could serve to interpret the rebellion expressed in other recent ballots with surprising result. And again, the great failure of the surveys.
People are satisfied with Democracy, but very unhappy with their political leaders, with the functioning of their institutions. People perceived that the groups in power, the political parties, are not up to it. It seems like the elites have hijacked the democracy and their only means is the power itself. There is also the corruption, as well as the figure of the professional politician, making a career in the party, who has never worked outside politics, so that of their only horizon is the partisan struggle and intrigue, as Montesquieu stated, “When a government lasts for a long time, it breaks down little by little and without noticing it”.
The world is changing and what happened in the United Kingdom with the ‘Brexit’, in the US with the victory of Trump, the victory of Tsipras in Greece, the rise of Marine Le Pen in France, Wilders in Holland and the populist parties in Italy and Spain, have many common aspects and should not be seen as isolated facts anymore. In most of the cases, there is a rejection of the ruling class, which is associated with the inequality’ increase after the last economic crisis in 2008, which has caused that certain parts of the society lost economic status and thus, they rebel against it.
In France, the National Front (FN) of Marine Le Pen is defending already for thirty years, the closing of borders, the rupture with the European Institutions, the ultra-economic nationalism and the immigrants’ expulsion. Marine Le Pen achieved a solid foundation among the workers who once voted for the Communist Party. 30% of French workers have been voting the FN far-right for two decades. According to Harvard professor Michael Ignatieff, “The European fear and phobia about immigration is a shame propitiated by a mediocre, small and provincial Europe with no place in the global economy.”
In the US, clearly, the lower-middle-class vote changed their vote in those traditionally Democratic and highly decisive industrial states, which has been a major cause for Trump’s triumph, whose protectionist and nationalist promises have permeated to those most punished by the severe deindustrialization with substantial job losses. He blamed abroad (mainly China and Japan) and made the announcement of tough measures against illegal immigration. With enormous intuition, he made the wall on the border with Mexico an election battering ram which even connected with part of the immigrants.
After the World War II, the public pensions, free health and subsidized education became widespread. Over the years these measures have entered into a deep crisis. When people believe that all these social services are free, the demand is infinite. To cover the expenses of an inevitably deficit welfare-state, the governments fall into two bad practices. The first is to balance social benefits with a public debt which only grows. Consequently, massive tax increases will be necessary, which will reduce growth, unless making large cuts in social services, which will provoke the anger of the citizen. It is a myth that the neoliberalism is the cause of the crisis of 2008. Capitalism has always shown cycles of expansion and contraction, although it is right to say that wrong policies aggravate them.
The traditional parties of the twentieth century and their ideological correlates such as Social-democracy, Christian-democracy, liberalism, have been contemptuously identified as ‘establishment’. Those continue within the cultural and ideological coordinates of a world which is disappearing or at least, it is in an accelerated phase of disappearance. People are bored with the ‘political correctness’, with the greater protection of minorities from the majority. People is afraid about losing their identity, about the disappearance of ‘the known’, facing the risk of the unknown. The Populism promises certainty, even if it is misleading, and the citizens want to punish the establishment right now, even if in the end those promises were not accomplished.
The victory of Donald Trump, the ‘Brexit’, the rise of populism in Europe, … gives the impression that the world goes against the tide. However, Francis Bacon said, “As far as government is concerned, every change is suspicious, even to improve.”
Left and right is no longer an adequate categorization of political difference: it is a trophy of political stability handed over from the industrial age, where it made sense, to the postindustrial age, where it doesn’t. It is no accident that political movements which defy this categorization are winning. A paradigm shift has started.