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Trump – Unraveling Democracy?

Trump in the Lead. What's Next?Wow! There is so much wailing and self-flagellation in the press about the crack up of the Republican party. It’s scary to watch it fall apart and wonder what will happen next.

There has been a lot of ink written about the possible causes for voter anger: the Republicans have been nurturing this anger for decades and had it coming; the media is responsible for not calling out bad behavior and turning Trump into a circus; diminished economic prospect for the middle class voters; and more recently, the “more harmful than expected” impact of globalization.

And you know what? It sounds like all of these reasons are playing a role, not just a single item.

For a small sample of the type of articles being written, here are a couple of links:

From Rick Newman, here is an article that succinctly sums up very well some of the reasons for the anger. In a nutshell, he says that companies are basically doing themselves in.

The next article talks about how maybe we should question the benefits of free trade. For decades, the theorists have said that free trade increases benefits for everybody with better goods and lower prices. Those impacted by free trade can find jobs in other growing industries to replace the ones they lost. But now hard data are coming in that suggest that the benefits of free trade are taking longer than expected and may never appear. It looks like those voters were right. 

The last article that I’m going to link to says, “wait, let’s not demonize globalization and free trade”. The author says that with the exception of China, the manufacturing sector is actually in a surplus position in regards to trade. Exports from free trade has actually produced jobs that pays better than the average. So, the author says, Trump and Sanders got the whole global trade wrong.

There are so many other articles but these three will do for now. Of the three, Rick Newman’s is probably the most encompassing of the causes of voter anger.

I agree with Rick Newman that even if Trump or Sanders fail to win the presidency, the voter anger will still be there and will possibly swell in the coming years unless we do something about it. In a way, our voting system is working in that it allows for the angry middle class to express their anger via choosing Trump or Sanders. But Trump also brings in the potential for violence  and I see incipient signs of it in Sanders’ supporters. Both supporters are expressing anger in dangerous ways, Trump supporters more so than Sanders. This is what is scary: if either Trump or Sanders fail and something is not done about the voters’ economic situation, then we are in store for more extremism.

The time is now for corporations to stop talking about shareholder values and expand capitalism to embrace all of society, not just for the lucky few wealthy shareholders.

Think about it. We are now facing the prospect of automation sweeping across the economy, dislocating the next tiers of workers. The pool of angry voters will grow and democracy’s hold will grow shakier. When democracy goes, capitalism falls. Capitalism relies on dependable and stable institutions that allows one to have faith in the contracts, the law, and the financial institutions.

Just look at the extremism in other parts of the world and history: the ISIS, the communism, the fascism. They didn’t come about because people were happy. They came about because people were frustrated with the current system and wanted something new. To them, a change, any change will do.

So yes, I’m glad our current democracy allows the angry voters to vent but I wonder how long we will have it.

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