The year of the insurrectionists

This is very much the year of the outsider, and the year in which the establishment machine politicians are rejected by angry voters.  Donald Trump is a complete outsider, yet in a series of bruising battles that make up US primaries, he has seen off every single establishment party-machine politician ranged against him.  Now there is only one more left against him, and that is Hillary Clinton whom he now faces in November. 

She is almost the embodiment of machine politics, and has the misfortune to face a populist outsider in a year when conventional politicians are mistrusted.  Furthermore, she is tainted as well as mistrusted, with enough doubts about her probity to dampen her support.  The chances must be very high that come November, Donald Trump will be elected the 45th President of the United States.

His popularity extends across normal party lines, and while he is despised and derided by liberal elites, he touches raw nerves among working Americans who feel they've been left behind or left out, and that economic advance has passed them by.  It is a mark of his skill that a multi-billionaire is seen by low-paid Americans as someone likely to represent their interests.
Hillary Clinton's double-digit poll lead has faded into nothing, and Trump is showing well in the working-class swing states he must carry to take the presidency.  It looks increasing likely that blue-collar Democrats will plump for the rough and ready, hard-talking, hard-dealing businessman rather than for the smooth and manicured professional politician who opposes him.

It is on an international scale that the insurrectionists have made inroads.  Trump has astutely tapped into a mood that has swept across Europe.  As a reaction to the way conventional parties handled the Financial Crisis and the economic slowdown that followed, people have turned to outsiders.  In Greece and Spain these new parties have become a force to be reckoned with.  The populist Freedom Party candidate, Nobert Hofer, lost the Austrian presidential election by a whisker.  It is a sign of the times that people, discontented by establishments, are looking outside the box.  It could be argued that this mood was behind the upset that saw Jeremy Corbyn elected as Labour leader instead of more conventional mainstream candidates.  That same anti-establishment mood might well see UK referendum voters overturn conventional thinking with an insurrectionist Brexit vote.

Trump has tapped into similar discontents in America.  Against a polished Republican politician, Hillary linton could have positioned herself as champion of the underdog, but there is no way she can take that position against Donald Trump.  He is already there, voicing their concerns, speaking up for their values, promising to meet their aspirations.  Although people in Europe, as well as in the liberal media of America's East and West coasts, mock Trump for his lack of polish and preparation, the same is not true of heartland America, and commentators who assumed Clinton would coast home against an opponent they see only as a buffoon, might well wake up with a sinking feeling on Wednesday November 9th when it will all be over and Trump sets about preparing his transition team.

Although the prospect scares some people, they can take comfort from the fact that Trump has no party.  He will have no majority behind him in either the House of Representatives or the Senate. To get anything through he will need to bargain and strike deals, to compromise and to moderate. Clinton, by contrast, would probably have had a Democrat majority in the House to back her and strong support in the Senate.

Trump is nowhere nearly as bad as he has been painted, which is just as well because he is a fact of life that we are all going to have to grow used to and learn to live with.  He is probably going to win the presidency.