A recent CNN opinion piece broke down the many ways in which Trump is not living up to his promises to support working class America. The article titled “If you’re a blue-collar worker, Trump is not your friend“ has some great arguments based on facts/statistics, but there is one critical flaw, the fact that the President, regardless of party, is simply incapable of being the “friend” of the laboring masses of the United States. The reason why the average person seems last in line in Washington is not part of a grand conspiracy. There are no men in dark rooms smoking cigars as they laugh at poor getting poorer. This is a much more natural phenomenon, that as usual, the Mainstream Media has failed to properly portray to the public.
Dictatorial Expectations Syndrome
Most people who live in “Western Style Democracies” claim to be proud of this system with its many “checks and balances” or at the very least see it as superior to the “dictatorships” found elsewhere. However, every election cycle seems like a nationwide case of cognitive dissonance as the candidates make pledges and promises as if they will take the Oval Office with a crown on their heads and free will to make everything happen instantly. It would seem to be human nature that people still, time after time, over and over again, expect that getting candidate X into power will automatically yield result Y despite there being minefields of designed systemic bureaucracy and opposition in their way.
Even if someone cherishes “Democracy”, the average person wants to vote for a dictator who will come in and do everything they said exactly as they promised for 4 years. Having dictatorial expectations from a non-dictator is probably why so many people feel betrayed after the campaign is over and realpolitik begins. It would seem that the monkey brain of man does not find bureaucratic republics as understandable as “he’s the leader”.
It should also be noted that even in a heavy-handed top-down system many orders are ignored or go uncompleted. Even removing some of the blockades of Western Style Democracy would not and doesn’t guarantee results either from the promises of any leader in any system.
If we were honest with the public, candidates would make it very clear that they cannot actually guarantee any results but that does not stimulate our tribal minds to vote. Humans find dictatorship/monarchy a much easier system to understand and that is why the first year of any new U.S. President will always be met with unrealistic disappointment.
Systemically Trump or any other candidate from either party could not simply waltz into Washington, wave some pens around and become the hero of blue-collar America. We imagine this to be the case but it is not the reality of the situation. CNN’s article lays out many failures and disappointments from the Trump Presidency, but the question is, would it be possible to do any better? Could any leader mired in a massively bureaucratic system really be the “friend” of the populace?
Blue-collar Lives Don’t Matter
One of the sad realities is that the working class in any country despite its massive numbers is one of the weakest, quietest, disorganized forces in a given nation. The perfect example is Ukraine. In a country of 40 million it took 40 thousand protestors to execute a Color Revolution while the masses watched toiling at some meaningless jobs in fields, stores and offices. This has resulted with roughly half of the population (Russian speakers) becoming an officially systematically oppressed group despite the fact that Russia and Ukraine have until the end of Communism been one and the same. So why didn’t they do anything about it? Why didn’t the other 39,960,000 citizens stand up for their rights? Because they can’t.
The silent majority is silent for a reason. Since ancient times the peasantry has quietly toiled while politics and change are an affair of a small percentage of the population with the free time and means to get it done. No matter what happens to the American worker, as long as they have food and shelter they will continue to toil for less and less as long as no one can come in and organize them to do otherwise. Blue-collar workers as individuals are NPCs in human history.
Big industry, big finance, big pharma and big army and anyone else with lobbyists has the President’s ear. As they say there are “keys to power” or one could say “keys to maintaining power” and although one has to appease blue-collar workers to some extent, this extent is very small. As long as things are tolerable the serfs will keep working the “fields” of Walmart to buy weed on Friday. It doesn’t matter what your approval ratings are if the military and security services want you out of office.
To be clear, when someone talks about the plight of the working class, immediately the conversation jumps to Communism, but be it the USSR or China, the relationship between the top of the pyramid and the peasantry looked nearly identical to what we see today. The actors in the Party move(d) society while the other 90% worked to get their “free” apartments.
Blue-collar workers are disorganized, tied to their jobs for survival, and have just enough to lose as to keep their heads bowed. This is why they (we) tend to be ignored by power and will never be a top priority. All national interests trump the working man’s needs. The blue-collar needs to be appeased/taken care of enough to keep the country afloat but not much more than that. In the dynamic between the state and the masses it is hard to see how some sort of “friendship” should be expected.
Maybe not a friend, but a ‘dear leader’?
So can we find any way for the working man to get respect or some of what he wants or is the situation hopeless with the average person being doomed to listening to a list of impossible promises every four years? Is there any way to build a friendship with the leadership of the nation?
Maduro in Venezuela, despite their economic problems, was able to rally vastly more commoners to his side of the struggle during attempts at ousting him via Color Revolution tactics. Duterte in the Philippines is famous for asking/permitting the populace to just kill off the nation’s drug dealers themselves with no repercussions from the state. The Soviet Union was known to call for volunteers to do big projects like the BAM railroad. Although these examples seem odd, and they are certainly not friendship, they show the leadership putting trust or at least giving the populace a mission or at least an opportunity to take action.
It is possible to create a more friendly relationship with power but giving some power to the masses to do something. You can have a Western Style Democracies with the freedom for the populace to feel like it has some control over its destiny or you can have a Western Style Democracy where you can be arrested for growing carrots with only a cabbage license.
Politics are very much based on feelings and no matter what Trump does economically if he could rouse the blue-collar workers into some sort of mission or objective he could at least become “endeared” to them. Regardless of statistics if the masses feel respect and closeness to the leader they will be happier with the state of affairs, but it seems that generally the bigger nations, especially the Western Style Democracies are unwilling, unable or fearful of stirring up the masses.
McDonalds Employee! You have no friend in the Presidency
Voters should not have the perception of any candidate being “their guy” who is always going to be “on their side”, because often the realities of power do not allow this. Major media organizations should not use this rhetoric to convince people that Trump is or is not their buddy. Ultimately the peasantry, serfs, working class, blue-collar workers are where they are throughout history because they are the silent majority at the bottom. They have no voice (unless an organizing force gives it to them) and are tied to the land for survival. This is neither bad nor good and we should not react emotionally to unpleasant facts. Trying to equate politics to individual human relationships via terms like “friendship” is highly dishonest.