Opinion

We Are Living in an Era of Elimination of the Elites

Trump and Netanyahu win because they are outsiders. Because they represent the downtrodden and are anti-establishment,

Donald Trump supporters in Manchester, New Hampshire, November 7, 2016.
Charles Krupa, AP

The truth is, I wasn’t surprised. I was even quite amused to see some of my friends going into shock. They had created an imaginary world for themselves, based on misleading polls and partisan media, and suddenly everything collapsed at 5 A.M. Israel time, when it became clear that Donald Trump had won. I believed ahead of time that this would happen. My friends can attest to it.

I learned the lesson from Great Britain. Five months ago that country voted to exit the European Union, in contrast to what the polls predicted and despite the media. I saw it happen in Israel, too, in the elections 18 months ago – and I learned the lesson: The world has changed. We are living in an era of elimination of the elites, and those who stick to the old conventions will fail to understand reality.

In Britain it was a struggle over the image of the kingdom, a struggle between the center and the periphery, between London and Manchester and outlying cities, between young people who consider themselves to be citizens of the world and believe in free immigration, and those from whom the immigrants took away jobs. It was the victory of the periphery, the victory of the “turnip eaters” who wanted to go back to the old values and the nation-state.

The “turnip eaters” defeated the state of London, like the rednecks defeated the state of New York.

Middle-class, white, blue-collar people, without a college education, felt that the United States was being stolen out from under them. They refused to go on funding single-parent black families (55 percent of all black families!). They don’t want to pay for the health services of people who don’t work for it. Nor do they want competition from immigrants from Mexico, who bring down their wages.

These people live with a terrible feeling of discrimination. They hate the newly rich from Wall Street. They see the corrupt establishment in Washington that makes every politician a millionaire. They are told that unemployment is low, but they don’t have a job and their wages have eroded. They are outside the circles of power and of bonuses, and the economic gaps between them and New York are only growing.

That’s why they love Trump. He’s not a politician. He made his money himself. Neither is he politically correct. He talks to them at eye level, he’s not arrogant. He says his truth even if it’s abrasive and sometimes repulsive. He is the opposite of Hillary Clinton, who is at the very heart of Washington politics.

Clinton is actually the American version of Meretz chairwoman MK Zahava Galon, economically speaking. She is in favor of increased government intervention in the economy, as well as increasing the tax burden. She supports food stamps and subsidies for the “weak,” and all kinds of restrictions and regulations. These things go against the American ethos of free enterprise and taking personal responsibility for one’s life.

Trump is the opposite of Clinton. He made his money on his own, not through the corrupt and “contribution”-heavy Clinton Foundation, which supported Chelsea Clinton for 10 (!) years. Trump favors a free economy. He says he will lower taxes as they have not been lowered at any time since the Regan era in the early 1980s. He promises to cut bureaucracy and regulations so that American industries will not leave for China.

Trump is the equivalent of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who wins elections time after time – not because of his positions on the settlements and Iran, but because he represents the downtrodden and the periphery, who feel discriminated against, who hate trendy Sheinkin Street and north Tel Aviv. Netanyahu wins because he’s an outsider. He isn’t part of the elites. He wins because he’s anti-establishment, and the establishment was and remains Mapai, the media, academia and the Supreme Court, all of which don’t let him rule.

So what if he’s been prime minister for 10 years already.