Election Showdown: Establishment Vs. Angry Voters.

Tomorrow is election day. I will be somewhat sad to see it go. This has been one of the most visceral, hate-filled elections in history – in other words, honest. I like honesty. Especially when it involves mud-slinging politicians.

The key issue of any political system is representation. What does a candidate represent to voters? When a voter checks the box, what representative message are they trying to send?

On the one side, we have Hillary. She is the very embodiment of the Establishment. Her supporters are fanatical about her, but she is deeply hated by everyone else. She is perceived by most as a scheming and crooked old hag. She is perceived as the chosen agent of the Establishment.

On the other side, we have Trump. Whatever else he may be, he definitely ain’t Establishment. He is the first truly non-establishment candidate since Barry Goldwater. He flew in out of nowhere to drink Jeb Bush’s milk shake and turn the entire election on it’s head. Millions of his voters have been totally alienated by an Establishment which they perceive to not care about them. To them, he represents a living middle finger.

I consider this election to have been a true watershed in American politics. Voters like Trump for all the reasons considered “wrong” by conventional political wisdom. He is politically incorrect. He is totally fearless and unafraid of hysterical liberal reactions to his bluster and openness. Trump is not afraid to go for the jugular with zero regard to how liberals react. His supporters can sense that he is hated by Establishment politicians, the media, academia, and Hollywood, and by this voters have deduced that he is on their side. The smug elites could sneer at the alienated public for only so long before they went too far. So Trump supporters see him as a way to strike back and give the Establishment a lasting middle finger. Years of building resentment are bubbling over, and voters are ready for payback.

The Brexit vote was a major representative event. It was an opportunity for British voters to say this to the EU Establishment in front of the whole world: “Shove your New World Order up your arse. No more globalism in exchange for subsidies to corporate fatcats. We want national sovereignty back, mates.” Even if the British Establishment manages to halt the Brexit through political trickery, the cat is still out of the bag. We know where the voters stand. It calls the legitimacy of the whole system into question.

The 2016 Presidential Election is similar. Whether you think Trump can deliver on his promises or not is an argument that can be had. But voters are not concerning themselves with whether or not he can deliver his promises. They will vote for him to send a message to the Establishment: “We are done with you. No more games. No more getting screwed for the benefit of the elites. We won’t be fooled again.” 

I think Hillary will win the election. To some degree, I’d like her to win. Why? Because I predict a massive recession in 2017. I want this to blow up in Hillary’s face. If it blows up in Trump’s face, angry voters will lose heart. I fear a leftward turn toward Elizabeth Warren-style liberals resulting in a massive expansion of welfare and government programs. If it blows up in Hillary’s face, it will be easier for voters to place the blame where it belongs: at the feet of the Establishment. It most correctly belongs at the feet of the Federal Reserve, but the Establishment has done a good job of writing the Federal Reserve out of public school curricula. Most voters barely even know it exists, much less what it does. So blaming Hillary gets close enough.

What I’d like to see is for Trump to barely lose by the most slim of margins. Even better if he wins the popular vote but loses the Electoral College. If this happens, Trump needs to not ride off on his horse into the sunset with his head hanging. If he loses, he needs to make this statement: “The election was rigged, and we won’t accept it. I officially declare my candidacy for 2020 right now, and we are gonna spend the next 4 years giving Hillary hell.”

I say this not because I especially care about having Trump as a President, but because I do not want the anti-Establishment sentiment among his voters to subside. If Trump loses, I do not want voters to shrug their shoulders and wander back into the arms of the Republican Establishment. I want them to get angry. I want voters to swear political vengeance against the powers that have been screwing them.

The next economic recession is going to drive angry voters away from the Establishment. Who will they look to as their representative? Trump? Someone else? If Trump can commit to the long march toward 2020, he has an opportunity to channel the voting public’s inner Howard Beale:

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