It’s no secret that Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are all riding high poll numbers on a wave of disaffection with the establishment and elitism. Being historian nerds, Hammer of Truth thought we’d present the case from several citable sources:
The Hannah Arendt Center posted this apt analysis:
Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal writes that the Trump phenomenon is manifesting a chasm between elites and the masses that threatens to transform the world of American politics.
She reports anecdotal evidence of a non-partisan mass of voters from all over the political and economic spectrum gravitating toward Trump. And the overriding theme she encounters is a disdain for political, economic, and mainstream elites.
“On the subject of elites, I spoke to Scott Miller, co-founder of the Sawyer Miller political-consulting firm, who is now a corporate consultant. He worked on the Ross Perot campaign in 1992 and knows something about outside challenges. He views the key political fact of our time as this: ‘Over 80% of the American people, across the board, believe an elite group of political incumbents, plus big business, big media, big banks, big unions and big special interests–the whole Washington political class–have rigged the system for the wealthy and connected.’ It is ‘a remarkable moment,’ he said. More than half of the American people believe ‘something has changed, our democracy is not like it used to be, people feel they no longer have a voice.’ Mr. Miller added: ‘People who work for a living are thinking this thing is broken, and that economic inequality is the result of the elite rigging the system for themselves. We’re seeing something big.'”
The mobilization of the masses outside and beyond traditional class boundaries is, of course, the kindling for all mass movements.
And as Arendt writes in The Origins of Totalitarianism, movements feed on mass appeal founded upon moods and feelings rather than policies or interests: “Long before Nazism proudly pronounced that though it had a program it did not need one, Pan-Germanism discovered how much more important for mass appeal a general mood was than laid-down outlines and platforms. For the only thing that counts in a movement is precisely that it keeps itself in constant movement.”
The point here is not that Trump is anything like the Nazis; he is not.
But he is one of a series of politicians over the last 10-15 years that has fed upon the mobilization of masses in opposition to the perceived corruption and elitism of state and economic forces.
Trump is both a symptom and a motor of the massive disillusionment of the American masses, our loss of faith in governmental and mainstream institutions from Congress to town halls, from the police to schools.
Trump may be boorish, but he speaks truth to many, truths that elites would rather snicker at than engage.
Whatever happens to Donald Trump’s candidacy, one wonders when, and if, the elites in this country will wake up and realize his popularity is founded upon a profound and real disdain that many, many Americans have for our advanced, progressive, and technocratic culture.
What is more, at the end of her essay, Noonan writes that it is not only the masses but also the elites who think the game is rigged. This new version of what Arendt called the “temporary alliance of the mob and the elite” is worth attending to.
For when the elites abandon mainstream institutions and join the mob in tearing down rather than building up, that is when the mobilization of movements threatens to get dangerous.
While that last part applies to Sanders (and even Ted Cruz) more than Trump, take note of this swipe at elites during the February 6th 2016 Republican presidential debate:
Even Ron Paul is warning the mainstream media of the Authoritarian Cruz/Sanders/Trump-fecta for some time, yet a recent interview goes even further to label Trump as dangerous:
“Well, I don’t even care whether he’s good or bad for the Republican Party, I don’t have much interest in that per se, but I think he’s is a dangerous person. And a lot of people find him sort of funny, and love him, even libertarian types,” Paul, himself a libertarian, replied.
“They like him because he’s so disruptive to the party system, and I enjoy that too. But I think he’s a man that if conditions deteriorate, which they can, see I work on the assumption that the world is no more stable than Greece, and if those conditions come, people want to be told what to do,” Paul said, adding in imitation of those people, ‘”And I know what the answer is, and I’ll do this, and I am the man to this.'”
“And [Trump] comes across this very well, and people listen to him, and I believe he may be raising white horses someplace and he’s going to ride in. Because he is almost the opposite of a libertarian, because it’s not like ‘I want to give you your freedom and your liberty to run your life as you choose. Your civil liberties are absolutely yours, you can’t hurt anybody, it’s your own money you can spend it any way you want.’ But he sounds like the person, ‘I know the answers and I’m going to do this and I’ve done this, I’ve done this, this and this,'” Paul added.
The use of the word “authoritarian” caught Colmes’ attention, prompting him to ask Paul to explain his meaning.
“He’s an authoritarian and that’s the way he claims he made all his money. So I see that as dangerous,” the former congressman said.
What’s dangerous is the masses eating this populist shit up: