What I as a European Think the Reasons Are Why Americans Are Voting for Trump

What Trump represents will not be gone any time soon

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Image by Tibor Janosi Mozes from Pixabay

Trump was an icon in the ‘80s

Be it in the U.S. or Europe, if you were around in the '80s, then you knew who Donald Trump was. He was one of the representatives of an era that was, in contrast to the ‘60s and ‘70s, not about us, but about me “making it” — big time. In a way, it’s the same today, but back then it was the first post-war decade that was all about individual success and achievement.

Trump influenced pop culture

Today’s media portrayal of Trump has nothing in common with how he was perceived in the 1980s.

Donald Trump: black version
Maybe that’s what you need
A man that fulfills your every wish
Your every dream
Donald Trump: black version
Come on take a chance
A 1990’s love affair
The real romance

His media presence helped him a lot, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t good at what he was doing — quite the contrary— he was good, and knew how to market it better than anyone else.

The West won the cold war (is the Best)

It was the last decade of the cold war, of Rocky vs Drago, of East vs. West. I know that much of it may seem ridiculous today, but back then there was a real fear of nuclear war and the Soviet Union. But also a recognition that the West and democracy had beaten Communism.

China’s rise to an industrial world power

By 2005, most products, especially electronics and clothing, were made in China. “Made in Italy”, “Made in France”, and other country labels had disappeared and were replaced by the almost ubiquitous “Made in China” tag visible on every product.

Job losses to China

Back at the time when I lived in Berlin, I got to know a friend who used to work in an IBM plant, when IBM — believe it or not — still produced actual products in Europe. According to a 1984 New York Times article, 15 European plants made over 90 percent of what I.B.M. sold locally in those markets.

Adjustment to a new reality

Although obvious that a transition was on the way, no one really knew what to expect of the new economy. Somewhere around the 2008 financial crisis, people started realizing the consequences of the newly established economy.

Trump is part of a bigger movement

In Britain, they are called “Brexiteers”, in France “Gilets jaunes”, and in the U.S. Trump supporters. Looking at what all those movements have in common, it becomes clear that it is an anti-globalist movement which does not — as falsely reported — is rooted in some racist, xenophobic agenda, but rather in the desperation of disillusioned former middle class people.

What Trump represents will not be gone any time soon

The vast numbers of people who support Trump, or similar political options in Europe, disqualify the idea of an extremist group by default. Although there are many more factors that play into such massive global political changes, one of the main reasons will certainly be the perception that corporations have benefited disproportionately in comparison to those who benefited very little if not nothing from the global expansion.

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I write about the resistance to change, the unwillingness to take risks, and paralysis of indecision — only the good stuff.

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