Well, no, it wasn’t interference by Russian secret services (at least not on a super massive scale), it wasn’t Facebook, nor YouTube. No grand conspiracy theory will explain the Trump phenomenon. It was unfortunately the Americans themselves, or rather the American majority who voted for Trump. And they might do it again, despite a disastrous first term, despite the obvious ignorance of their president, who doesn’t even read the newspapers, may it be out of a lack of reading skills or out of fear of destroying his grand illusion of being almost universally loved (most probably a combination of both).
Sad as it may seem, the real reason for Trump’s election has got to do with sexism (“Yes, we rather want to have a strong groping alpha male than a woman president who fights for equal rights, peace and education”).
How do I know? Well the data are here. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz in his book Everybody Lies analysed big data Google Searches via Google Trends and found that searches for "Trump for president" peaked in areas with racist and sexist searches.
But can that be really true? The majority of Americans are sexist and racist? No, of course not, however the connection is there.
For simplicity’s sake let’s assume there are two kinds of people: the includers (who do not exclude people without any a priori reasons and the excluders (who exclude people a priori for fear their communities are threatened). These tendencies have both a genetic component as well as an environmental one (mostly education). The genetic compentent being most probably due to alleles on the OXTR gene, with the includers having the genotypes AA/AG and the excluders genotype GG.
The excluders tend to quickly establish hierarchical relationships and punish deviation from the norm as they see their community under threat.
The includers (people with a high level of the hormone oxytocin) have made great progress in the past decades: (near) equal women’s rights, gay rights, inclusion of all kinds of divergent people.
The excluders have seen their world view increasingly under attack due to these developments and they are afraid of going any further. Feeling threatened in their core values, they are fighting back voting for an incompetent alpha male rather than a competent female politician. Yes, sadly, for many people nowadays it seems more ok that an alpha male gropes women without being punished as long as he builds walls and keeps potential threats away.
Those people long for they old order, in which they can orientate themselves more easily. Rapid social and technological changes scare them. Trump epitomizes everything that stands for that old order: America first, men first, white people first, American cars first etc.
However, that is the world of yesterday and it won’t come back and politicians like Trump can only promise to bring it back. People have to wake up. If these tendencies increase the world will become an even sadder and more depressed place than it is already nowadays.
Most young people usually have no big problem with the challenges of this rapidly changing world. They are the first to embrace diversity, technology. It’s the old folks, who have lost their openness and flexibility who are scared of diversity, technology and many more imaginary threats. What the old folks don’t realize they are harming the most precious thing they have: their children.
A globalized world can’t work without a high amount of openness. And this is what we are seeing everywhere in the world right now. A crumbling world community. Another current example is called “Brexit”. And it doesn’t stop there. It is time to listen to our children, like Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzai, even if some of us might not feel that comfortable with their message.
By Andreas Hofer