It is a phenomenon that did not just pop up yesterday. But the rage has reached a boiling point these recent years, fueled by the globalization, immigration and the feeling of having been forgotten by the political system is one that dominates among angry voters in America. The outrage of these voters is often neither oriented clearly toward the left nor the right, and yet it poses an internal threat to America's democracy.
For the most part, the movements that tend to profit from these voters are authoritarian, xenophobic and nationalist in nature. The kind of people who voted Trump are often less educated, older people who come from rural or former industrial regions. This says a lot about a world in which fortunes are being accrued like none other seen before, but which not all are profiting from.
Since 1999, the average annual salary of a US family has fallen by around $5,000 to $53,657 in 2014. Economists have even come up with a harsh term to describe the phenomenon: financial impotence. The American Dream promises that everyone has the opportunity to become prosperous, but unfortunately, it no longer applies to many, At the other end of the spectrum, 400 Americans possess as much wealth as two thirds of the rest of society.
The result is that dividing lines in today's political debates are often based on worldviews, but instead run between modernization's winners and losers. The America is divided between those who profit from the barrier-free America and those who believe that America has left them behind.
America's political system still has not understood that ideological and cultural divides have long separated them from the simpler classes. The overwhelming majority of Americans may be convinced of the necessity of building social housing, but given that they are largely inhabited by immigrants, they nevertheless oppose their construction. In today America, the white lower class views itself as threatened by Hispanic immigrants, whereas the well-educated often welcome immigrants because it contributes in terms of economic growth, demographics and a society's cultural richness. When people feel their world is vanishing, they are easy prey for fact-free magical thinking and demagogues who blame immigrants. The less educated masses have a different conception of the future, a vision that is more closed, collective, protective and segmented.
And because America's political system has yet to find any solutions to these problems, particularly to the fears of the less-educated, many are responding with scorn for the elite and with radicalization. This provided a tremendous opportunity for Trump who never would have stood a chance of even sniffing power, much less winning an election. Those who society has left behind had the greatest potential for anger and, as such,, also represented the most significant vote potential for Trump.
In addition to the economic crisis, America is also facing an identity crisis. America's society is deeply divided and the ''American Dream'' ideal, that glue which used to hold the nation together, has lost its power to reconcile. In America, there is no society left today, all that remains is a state. There are even fears that the superpower's importance is diminishing. It is a deep seated fear of decline that can also be found in many continental European countries. Ultimately, the radicalization of many people is the response to a feeling that politics no longer provides answers to the most pressing issues.
It is the left that has suffered the most under this radicalization in America. It is quarreling over the question of how best to react to globalization. Part of this is attributable to the fact that the left-leaning electorate is divided into two opposing camps: the classic workers constituency and the urbane, well-educated and liberal milieu that counts among globalization's winners.
This conflict cost Hillary Clinton the election. It was her husband Bill who once signed the NAFTA into law. She is a Democrat who is also viewed as representative of the establishment. These days, though, there is no label in America that is as odious as ''establishment''. That partially explains why Clinton was faced with an internal party insurgency by anti-establishment socialist candidate Bernie Sanders. Later in her campaign, Clinton opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement. As a candidate, she too was seeking to court the angry voters, while at the same time appealing to reason. And yet she suffered under the same difficulty that all politicians face when forced to run against populist.
Angry voters did not defect to Trump because they found the details of his plans to be persuasive. They flocked to him because they saw him more convincingly expressing their anger. They were not bothered by the risk than an end of free trade will lead to further deterioration of their situation or they did not believe it. They saw themselves as underprivileged already.
America 2016 presidential election has exposed the conflict between the elites and the middle working class. And it is possible that the era of angry voters has only just begun.
By Guylain Gustave Moke
International Affairs Expert/Author
Photo-Credit: The US President-Elected: Donald J Trump