The Worst That Could Happen
Let’s start by tackling the big question. Why has Trump gotten this far?
I’m going to preface this by saying that, while I have my very strong convictions, I’m going to attempt to show a certain measure of fairness to the candidates. I don’t agree with the way sources will dismiss the credibility of candidates simply based on what side of the political aisle they’re on, something that I think adds to current state of a house divided.
Mr. Trump tends to receive the brunt of the blame for our current situation. Inflaming hate and tensions, making the US out to be a circus to the rest of the world, and refusing to blow his nose during debates. I don’t blame Trump; he has every right to do and say as he pleases, and even run for President; so does Kanye West. I blame the people who are fueling the Trump phenomenon, who give in to the calls for hate, and the current government that drove them to the brink. Both of these can be summarised with one word: overconfidence.
The people want to vote for Trump because of one simple reason: they believe he’ll destroy everything. That’s not what they fear, that’s the objective, and this is the mindset that no one outside the country understands—but you need to imagine yourself in our shoes.
Jobs lost. Pointless wars waged. Government gridlock. Inflation. A lack of social welfare programs. Such frustration has arisen over the perceived ineptitude of the government, and their inability to listen to the people, that the best solution in the minds of most is to ‘burn and rebuild’. Who better to execute this strategy than the one person—the ‘anti-politician’—who can’t be bought? Someone who says whatever he pleases, who laughs in the face of political ‘correctness’. Someone who, essentially, is a walking, talking, sniffling bullhorn for all their anger and resentment at the powers that be. There is, however, a problem with this idea.
People have lived in a time where ‘the worst’ has never happened. No high-death toll wars for American troops have erupted, and no developed country’s economy has folded. The idea that the things people say could go wrong could actually go wrong seems more like fear-mongering and paranoia. So when people, today, believe that if they send a wrecking ball into the White House, knowing full well what they’re doing, they believe that their actions have immunity from any real consequences.
It was this same line of thought that led America to send troops to Vietnam, or to Iraq more recently. It’s been this same mentality that’s fueled all preventable, careless mistakes throughout history. It’s precisely in times such as these, when the improbable seems impossible, that mistakes are made that can have effects spanning generations.
It was the same toxic overconfidence that allowed government officials to stop caring for the common good of the country. It enabled the shift in politics to placing more emphasis on doing what’s necessary to secure re-election, rather than to act in the best interest of the country – to simply wreak havoc on the other party because the very thought of cooperating with them is ‘intolerable’. It led people like Mitch McConnell to think he could wage a war on the President, and by extent the country itself, and get away with it. After all, what could the voters do to stop them if they did? It seems now they have their answer.
It’s these kinds of situations that are scary to think about. Too many focus on the most visible outgrowth—Trump himself—and not why he’s there in the first place. Regardless if Trump wins or loses, in many ways we’ve already lost because, while the overconfidence of politicians may have been shaken, the overconfidence of the people and their desire to blindly attack the government in the hopes of attaining retribution instead of trying to reason with them will remain. Perhaps there’s hope as well. If Trump’s meteoric rise is a testament to anything, it’s that, through all the resentment and mistrust, there is still some revolutionary spirit left in this country. Misguided though it may be, it’s still able to topple the odds, and force the autocracy to remember that they serve the people, and not the people that serves the government.