On Tuesday, November 8, citizens of the United States of America elected Donald J. Trump as their president. Many experts describe his campaign rhetorics as populistic as he promiced to everyone exactly what they wanted to hear. Why Americans choose as their leader candidate without any political experience and obviously without any clue about political system over candidate with notable experience in politics and overhead of competence?
Many call on populism, which is surged up in all democratic world over some late years and droved British to vote for leaving European Union, Poles delegated power to populistic fuddy-duddys, France are seriously debating such idiotisms as ban of face-covering clothing. But why all kind of populists succeed?
My experience of active participation in political processes since 2010 shows pretty often actions of power-possessing politicians are droved by fear to loose power. Even when power delegated by electorate is used to implement reforms urgently needed to society, any reform are linked with risk to loose support of voters because reforms always hurt some groups of society. Particularly reforms in such areas cruitial for all of society as education, health care, social support and taxation. In such cases, especially when elections are approaching, politicians think a lot about different moves to drive people’s attention away from those reforms, instead of patient explanation of reform’ targets and long-term benefits of and to listen to the contr-arguments. But competitors are driving people’s attention back to those reforms by any means and by turning to the viewpoint beneficial to them.
Secondly, globalization bring unprecedented changes in people’s lives many are not ready for, and naturally first response is fear and efforts to avoid them. Obviously, Trump addressed those fears more effectively and thous won. But it is impossible to avoid globalization and changes it bring. Politician’s objective is to offer solutions to use them for maximum gain, or people follow populists’ promises to prevent them.
Both cases require to politicians courage to speak with people from stance that people are reasonable and able to think. Courage to speak openly about reforms that hurt many but are beneficial for society in general. Courage to listen in critique, consider one’s mistakes, and accept if electorate take away delegation to lead.
Today, on November 11, we, Latvians, commemorate heroes fought and died on battlefields of war for independence of our country. It marks day on far-away Year 1919 when important battles for our Capital city Riga where won by Latvian army in the War of Independence, and named after Lāčplēsis (Bear-Slayer) – legendary hero and strongman. Wave of populism that is surged up in all democratic world in last years is leading to conclusion that courage is as much needed on the battlefields of politics every day to ensure independence and prosperity of a country, that is possible only by thought-out policies that are based on accurate and objective analysis of the real situation, not by promises of what we want to hear but that are impossible to implement.