I think most Brits are as confused by Trump’s success as the rest of the world were about our decision to leave the EU. We find it astounding that one of the most powerful countries in the world would choose a bigoted, misogynistic, racist, sex offender as their Leader. However, as with Brexit, the people have spoken and must be listened to. To those who supported Trump there are very valid reasons for their choice.
The world always looks on in jaw dropping amazement when a controversial figure is appointed to lead a country, but it happens with regularity and the reasons are often similar. No-one could understand the rise in popularity of the Nazi party in Germany in the 1930s, but to middle class Germans there were valid reasons why Hitler appealed. The following list is taken from the BBC website:
Reasons why Hitler rose to power
- Hitler was a great speaker, with the power to make people support him.
Trump is also a powerful and persuasive orator.
- The moderate political parties would not work together, although together they had more support than the Nazis.
Whilst this doesn’t apply in America, the opposition to Trump in the form of Hilary Clinton was weak. Her husband had been impeached whilst President and was a serial philanderer, whilst Hilary had been investigated by the FBI.
- The depression of 1929 created poverty and unemployment, which made people angry with the Weimar government. People lost confidence in the democratic system and turned towards the extremist political parties such as the Communists and Nazis during the depression.
The fall-out from the stock market crash of 2008 is globally still being felt, with many countries still operating under a measure of Austerity. We’ve all had enough of being skint, of cuts in public services and of the rich seemingly getting richer at the expense of the poor.
- The Nazi storm troopers attacked Hitler’s opponents.
No-one has been more attacked in a Presidential campaign than Hilary Clinton was by team Trump.
- Goebbels’ propaganda campaign was very effective and it won support for the Nazis. The Nazis targeted specific groups of society with different slogans and policies to win their support.
Trump fed on people’s fears following 9/11 and the Stock Market crash by negatively targeting Muslims and immigrants.
- Hitler was given power in a seedy political deal by Hindenburg and Papen who foolishly thought they could control him.
- German people were still angry about the Treaty of Versailles and supported Hitler because he promised to overturn it.
Americans are still angry about 9/11 and Trump promises to annihilate ISIS and wanted to ban Muslims from entering the country.
- Industrialists gave Hitler money and support.
Trump has some very powerful business allies.
Before anyone blows a gasket I’m not comparing Trump to Hitler. I’m comparing the process by which controversial figures rise to political power and they’re usually similar regardless of the figure or the country. There has often been an economic downturn, with either high inflation or high unemployment, plus cuts in public funding. There has often been war or attack. The politician involved usually has a huge ego, great charisma and will play on the fears of the electorate in order to gain power. Whilst this arguably can be said of all political leaders, the difference with people like Trump is their absolute ruthlessness and the fact they will go to any lengths to win, then once in power they often ignore absolutely the will of the people and follow their own agenda. Time will tell if Trump acts “for everyone” or just himself.
As with Brexit, the deed is done. Protesting in the street is futile because in a Democracy the majority vote stands. Arguing bitterly on social media or with your neighbours only fuels hate and won’t change a damn thing. I personally wouldn’t have backed Trump in a million years but I fully support America’s choice and hope he’s a great President.
p.s. if anyone wonders about my interest in politics I took both Politics and Economics at A Level, and have a post-graduate qualification in both Business and Business Law. In a previous job I worked for Local Government.