1) There's a battle being waged between the old and new worlds. We saw it with Brexit, and with the nationalist movements rearing their heads in countries like France, Germany, Russia and Greece. People fear change. Namely, the change brought about by immigration, the fluctuating job market and economy, and new technologies. Technological advancements have eliminated millions of jobs like coal mining, factory jobs, taxi driving (thanks Uber), and even the newspaper business. As such, hardworking people who for generations have been employed in a particular sector have to contend with their jobs, and their former ways of life, being redundant.
People living in big urban centers like New York and L.A., however, are in sync with all this change. They embrace it, embody it, and live in its epicenter. They do not fear change. Which is also why Millennials who were born into this new world don't understand what all the fuss is about and voted overwhelmingly Democrat. But folks living in the heartland of America (and Europe), like in Michigan, Iowa, and the Rust Belt don't feel comfortable with what they see. They don't like the shifting demographics, the outsourcing of jobs, and the elimination of industries that were once the life-blood of the American economy. Their very survival and way of life are at risk, and voting for Trump was a desperate cry for help.
President Obama embodied the new world order, he represented the change ("Change we can believe in"), whereas Trump represents a last ditch effort by a majority-turned-minority to reverse course. How ironic that in a "change" election, the candidate who is the total Washington outsider and disrupter, namely Trump, is the candidate who is most resistant to change, and is trying to bring America back to a place where it simply cannot return due to the reasons listed above.
2) The threshold of what we tolerate and accept in our public figures has dramatically declined. Certainly in America. Profanity, lewd comments, and sexism which were once instant disqualifiers for a candidate are no longer election deal breakers. Who's to blame? Unfortunately, the media bears much of the responsibility as well as all of us as consumers. With Reality TV shows like Desperate Housewives, Jersey Shore, and Honey Boo Boo, we have been numbed to this sort of language and imagery. It has become perfectly acceptable and mainstream. It's shouldn't come as a surprise therefore that a reality star like Donald Trump could become the real life president of the United States. Kanye for president in 2020?! Don't hold your breath, but don't count him out either.
3) Dollars trump values. Most voters didn't like Donald Trump. In fact the Donald had the highest un-favorability rating of any incumbent president. Still, people were willing to overlook Trump's shortcoming and vote for him due to one simple factor. Economics. They looked at their bank account and monthly pay-stubs and felt that with Trump they'd get lower taxes, lower health care premiums, and have greater job security. And this may be partly true, in the short run. How ironic that the famous adage "it's the economy, stupid!" which elected President Bill Clinton, is what prevented Hillary from taking office. She focused on attacking Trump and failed to tout the bread and butter issues facing most middle class Americans.
4) Life is unpredictable and that, ultimately, is a good thing. No one could have predicted the rise of Donald Trump a year ago. His election, whether you love him or hate him, demonstrates that anything is possible and that no one; no matter how smart, learned, powerful or wise knows what tomorrow will bring. Life remains a mystery and that is what makes it beautiful in its many joys and sorrows.
One thing is certain however: every election from here on is going to be a change election. The pace of technological and social change is so rapid and unprecedented in human history that uncertainty levels will continue to rise, job markets will continue to fluctuate, and technology will continue to affect business and how it is done. The certainty of uncertainty is certain.
Welcome to the new age my friends, welcome to the new age!
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