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PT 2 Philo.docx - CHRISTIAN O. CLAUS GRADE 11 - ORIGINATORS...

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CHRISTIANO. CLAUSGRADE11 -ORIGINATORSATleast there’s one country where electionsproduce swift results.Since Donald Trump’svictory, the Mexican peso has collapsed, the costof mortgages has risen in France, the EuropeanCommission has eased its demand for budgetausterity, Japan feels encouraged to re-arm, Israelis hoping that the US embassy will move from TelAviv to Jerusalem,opinion pollsters andproponents of campaign micro-targeting have kepttheir heads down, what little remained ofjournalistic credibility is all but gone — and theTrans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is dead.A whirlwind of events and speculation makesmany Americans feel as if they are living in adisturbing dream: if a man almost universallydescribed as incompetent and vulgar hasmanaged to become president of the UnitedStates, then anything is possible. Globalcontagion from the US election seems conceivable,such is the worldwide attention its unexpectedresult has attracted, and not just from foreignpolicy experts.In the past decade, there have been manyelectoral surprises of this sort, almost alwaysfollowed by three days of soul-searching from theleaders found wanting, and then by the quietresumption of discredited policies. Thepersistence of such a lack of understanding — orthe repetition of such a sham — is easier tocomprehend when so many of the protest voterslive far from the big centres of economic andfinancial power, and also far from the centres ofthe arts, media and the universities.Hardlyanybody voted for Trump in New Yorkand SanFrancisco; London massively rejected Brexit inJune; two years ago Paris returned its leftwingmunicipality to power in an election in which theright triumphed nationally. As soon as theelection is over, the fortunate people feel entitledto go on governing in their cosy clique, everattentive to therecommendations of the press and
the European Commission, always prompt toascribe to the refractory voters psychological orcultural deficiencies that disqualify their anger.Are they anything but know-nothings, easy preyfor demagogues?This sort of perception goes back a long way,particularly in educated circles. Recent analysis ofthe ‘authoritarian personality’ of Trump’s blue-collar voters resembles the psychological portraitthat cold war guardians of the intellectual orderproduced of ‘subversives’ on both right and left.Analyzingthe prevalence of such subversiveelements in the working class as opposed to themiddle class, the American political scientistSeymour Martin Lipset concluded in 1960 that‘the lower-class individual is likely to have beenexposed to punishment, lack of love, and ageneral atmosphere of tension and aggressionsince early childhood — all experiences whichtend to produce deep-rooted hostilities expressedby ethnic prejudice, political authoritarianismand chiliastic transvaluational religion’(1).

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Term
Spring
Professor
GONZALEZ
Tags
Democracy, United States presidential election 2008

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