Donald Trump is the archetypal confidence man who uses verbal attack tricks to manipulate others by using techniques like globalizing (either/or, black and white thinking), distraction, cutting people off, and other obvious tactics. He also includes a small amount of truth that most people in power don’t talk about, and this endears him to people who feel muzzled and powerless. They are willing to accept the mountain of garbage because there is that little bit of something they really need. Because the media has become so controlled and centralized, it opens the door for demagogues like this. We must have a media that is less focused on middling, sponsor approved, “feel good,” and tepid stories. The reactionary right wing would not have the ammo that it does if the media wasn’t so out of touch.
Yes, there are generalizations here, but I think this is part of the problem. There are obvious problems in America that are not being addressed by the mainstream, and the Internet is a very fertile field for these types of people who can exploit this imbalance. We must support independent media who are not just working to appease their sponsors and the faceless, empty suits who represent the billionaire class. This is not a new phenomenon in America, and we have seen this kind of class conflict before, but the Internet is the jet fuel that spurs on the horse of radicalism.
Lastly, our democratic mechanisms must be updated to handle the changing environment of our republic. Gerrymandering has to be addressed. It is an undemocratic power grab by the incumbency. It is rendering our democracy constipated and intractable. We also need to experiment with alternative systems of voting like many other affluent countries use. Runoff style, two-stage voting systems might be better suited to our country as opposed to our current monopoly system: first-past-the-post voting. This is kind of technical, so I apologize if the language is a bit obscure.
We have a robust system of democracy still in America, but we need boldness to address the problems here. I believe that radical simplicity like Ayn Rand style anarcho-capitalistic libertarianism or alternatively Maoist communism are not the solution. We need a radical yet moderate approach to fixing our problems. Only by meeting in the middle will we move forward across the bridge that crosses the chasm of discord that we currently face. I do not know if this is possible until a certain percentage of hard-line older Americans pass on. This might sound harsh, but these 70 and 80 year old anti-change zealots probably will not change at this point.
Anyway, I hope we can preserve as a representative democracy. We definitely need lots of change, but let’s hope that it arrives in a constructive and logical form rather than a dictatorial morass of alternating power grabs. I have some confidence in the American people, but we have to sacrifice some of our comforts in order to invest our focus on this issue substantively.