Donald Trump’s personality disorders shouldn’t block our comprehending why so many Americans voted for him. To better appreciate how stoking politically combustible inequity narratives entrenches South Africa’s poverty, we should consider how this provokes bitter partisanship in the United States.

Many within and beyond US borders have benefited from that country’s decades-old embrace of free trade. These gains came at the expense of traditionally well-paid American factory jobs. Political promises to provide remedies never amounted to much. This reflects creeping acknowledgement that government efforts to grow jobs must advance economic dynamism.

Debates around assisting African-Americans to achieve economic success are older still. The US’s embrace of ‘affirmative action’ to address racial hiring biases goes back to a 1961 executive order by President Kennedy. Views on maintaining racial preferences have become increasingly debatable, as evidence confirms both ongoing workplace discrimination and massive progress.

The left responded by folding legislative redress into a broad progressive agenda where the appealing glow of desirable outcomes outshone evidence-based analysis. It is important that societies recognise the immorality of racial discrimination. It does not however follow that such recognition can serve as the organising principle around which a successful society can be structured.

The US was the first nation founded as a constitutional democracy enshrining the sovereignty of the people. Individual rights were championed; there would be no bowing to kings or queens. Yet the US was born with the original sin of slavery, which was not purged easily or quickly. Some now see an ongoing legacy of inequities, while others see progress echoing the experiences of other ethnic groups which have overcome discrimination and flourished.

The US’s most populous state passed a referendum in the mid-1990s banning racial preferences among college admission criteria. Last November, Californians were presented ballots to overturn that amendment to their state’s constitution. They chose to uphold it by a 57% to 42% margin – while favouring Biden over Trump even more decisively. Voters and legislators in other US states have similarly expressed the view that racial preferences are to be temporary. The US Supreme Court narrowly upheld the constitutionality of racial preferences for college admissions in 2003. Writing for the 5 to 4 majority, Justice O’Connor stated that, ‘25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary’.

Internet behemoths

The 21st century began with internet behemoths grabbing huge chunks of traditional media companies’ revenues. Many went out of business or were bought cheaply amid waves of job losses. Ostensibly centrist media houses could either invoke survival instincts to pursue a ‘defined’ audience or offer more balanced reporting to a shrinking centre. Journalists, along with college professors, are among America’s most progressive professionals. As his extremist supporters provoked off-putting headlines, the legitimate grievances of most of Trump’s supporters remained sidelined.

Consider a US factory worker’s perspective. His elected leaders intentionally sacrificed his interests for the greater good. The largest beneficiary was Communist China, which is now aggressively seeking to undermine the predominantly democratic world order to advance its regional hegemony – and authoritarianism generally.

Disadvantaged US workers are to accept that government retraining and job assistance programmes don’t really work and that they must fend for themselves. Yet the broadly accepted view that affirmative action programmes would be phased out was being challenged. A progressive group supported a position where African-Americans enjoyed protections indefinitely.

Trump’s 2016 campaign proposed building a US-Mexico border wall, countering China’s unfair trade practices, and ‘making America great’. The wall project and appeals to traditional American values were symbolic responses to legitimate interests which had been deplatformed. Trump was ahead of the pundits regarding China. Democrats are now no less leery of China’s aims than Republicans.

Trump’s electoral tallies vastly exceeded the number of US factory workers, as many voters couldn’t reconcile progressive ideals with traditional American values or its success impulses. Progressive elites advocated for supporting a racial group indefinitely, while abandoning those who had been set back harshly by policy choices benefiting so many others.

Liberal democracies are designed to balance the interests of various groups within diverse societies. Many progressives today presume that values – their values – should override other people’s interests. Growing awareness that China’s leaders seek to exploit such western indulgences helped keep Trump in the 2020 contest.

Disparaging legitimate grievances

The media’s and the elites’ dismissal of the legitimate grievances of factory workers reminds one of conscripted soldiers returning from Vietnam being spat upon in the 1960s. Progressives have become artfully assertive at framing politics around values that strike many Americans as dishonest and unpatriotic. Having Trump continuing his serial lying from the Oval Office as part of a divided government for a divided people seemed, to many, better than having progressives control both legislative houses and the presidency.

It almost seems that Trump has been mocking how twisted America’s national dialogue has become. If one can ignore Trump’s utterances and tweets, many of his policies can appear reasonable. While managing not to start any wars, Trump helped extend a long economic expansion into the longest on record. Black unemployment hit an all-time low. His Covid press conferences were frequently disasters but his administration actively supported vaccine development, approval and distribution preparation.

Irrespective of how we see him or his politics, it is worth considering why so many people voted for Trump. Depicting desirable outcomes as moral requirements erodes national cohesion while undermining individual initiative, at the expense of broad prosperity. Trump offered a blunt rebuttal.

[Image: Mary Pahlke from Pixabay]

The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the Daily Friend or the IRR

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34 COMMENTS

  1. “constitutional democracy”

    I was always under the impression that the US was a REPUBLIC and not a Democracy ?

    Seems the Americans themselves cannot make up their minds

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/05/13/is-the-united-states-of-america-a-republic-or-a-democracy/

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/11/yes-constitution-democracy/616949/

    https://www.heritage.org/american-founders/report/america-republic-not-democracy

    https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/why-republicans-keep-saying-that-the-united-states-isnt-a-democracy

    Full Text of The Federalist Papers

    https://guides.loc.gov/federalist-papers/full-text

    As to — free trade ;
    We already battled this out — here in South Africa

    “John Bardwell Ebden: His Business and Political Career at the Cape 1806-1849”
    Marian George
    Master of Arts UCT 1980

    • Yep, correct. Calling the US a democracy is almost as daft as harping on about the popular vote. The popular vote does not mean anything in their system. And it definitely should not.

  2. I think Donald Trump was the Best President the Americans ever could wish for.
    America is now down sliding into a situation the will for regret that they got rid of Trump.
    Only one qustion they must asked for themself
    Do they want an America who is actually ruled by themself or an America ruled by the World Order and the Anti Christ

  3. I have noted Mr Hagedorn’s qualifications. Did not note any qualifications in psychiatry, or psychology. Mr Hagedorn starts the article by noting that Trump has personality ‘disorders’?

    • Yep, and he falls into the same trap as so many other pseudo-intellectuals by making absolute statements as if everyone agrees or they’re factual eg. “As his extremist supporters ….” and, “Trump continuing his serial lying from the Oval”, etc.

      Just another self opinionated tosser lowering the tone of the otherwise credible Daily Friend.

      • Agree….one could only watch the riots and see whose supporters were the more extreme ones. I haven’t heard one lie from Trump which could affect anyone badly. I have heard a few exaggerations. But from the leftist media mob & Dems came a lot of flat-out serious lies which misled a lot of people.

  4. Garth, you mean to say people should have a degree in marine biology in order to observe that the sea is green?

  5. Progressive liberals also have a personlity disorder. It doesn’t take a qualification to be able to make that statment. It is clearly observeable.

    They suffer from authoritarian personality disorder.

    A wise man said “Inside Every Progressive Is A Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out”

  6. No word about all Biden”s lies . Like when he claimed that he was arrested trying to see Mandela during apartheid on a Letterman show in 2007 or that he was once arrested at 21 trying to enter the Capitol or that he was at the top of his class whilst actually being almost last etc .

  7. I can understand the 74M people. All my feelings for the political elite here are hatred. Ace , Zuma and every day just feeding from the trough. This is why one hopes that maybe Mashaba will have some answers.
    Pro business, controlled border etc

  8. This opinion piece should read “NOT understanding 74 million voters”.
    It is the height of arrogance to assume that it is acceptable to start off by saying that Trump has “personality disorders” when millions upon millions of people in the US and worldwide support and wish for a President such as Trump.

  9. The comparison between the American Liberal Elite’s disparagement of American blue-collar (particularly white) workers and returning Vietnam vets being spat on, is very succinct. The Vietnam War conscripts who saw combat, majority white, but a high proportion of black troops compared to the then black percentage of the population, were mostly working-class boys who could not get college deferments, or have a rich daddy with contacts who could “make a plan” or other means open to the wealthy (Bill Clinton for example, as a Fulbright Scholar found ways to manipulate to ensure he was not drafted). It was the well to do College students and the entitled American Left that demonstrated their hatred and contempt for Vietnam Vets; boys who had to serve, as such was the law. Today, the US elites and spoilt College-educated young people, sneer at the Americans in the “fly-over states” as hillbillies, crackers and of course, Hillary Clinton’s famous “deplorables”. But if there are any wars to be fought during Biden and Harris’s time in presidential office; of course fighting them will not be the BLM supporters, white or black, nor feminists nor Anitifa scum, nor the sons of America’s liberal elites. As usual it will be working class Americans who have enlisted into the US Army or Marines – I talking specifically here of combat troops – not the military’s very long “tail” (not that the latter lacks importance, it’s just that their actual lives are seldom at any risk – even when deployed overseas).

    • Well done for making these very valid points Rob.
      One seldom finds these extremely relevant facts highlighted in any published article, especially not in MSM. But then, common sense and the ability to reason rationally is in utterly short supply nowadays.

    • Exactly. I once had the misfortune of serving one of these Intemelectual American types when I was working in retail. He made an off the cuff comment about ‘these trailer trash people’. Little did he know that I was living in a trailer at the time. Thomas Sowell and Nicholas Taleb have quite a bit to say about people who are ‘book smart’ but actually morons, kept completely bubbled up sniffing each others’ farts in their own smugosphere.

      It’s easy to see why people voted for Trump. His opposition was Hilary Clinton, so Trump didn’t win as much as Hilary lost. Looking at Biden, it’s easy to see why they rigged the election.

  10. Shawn,
    I propose you go back to wherever you come from and go do whatever you used to do and stay out of ‘journalism’, particularly considering the crap you write.

  11. Well done Shawn, at least you did not completely condemn Donald Trump.
    I however agree with the criticism of many of the commenters. I would not say that Donald Trump has personality disorders, I would rather say it seems he has a great personality – that is exactly what an America on a cliff edge needed. I looked at Trump and Hilary when they ran for the presidency in 2015/2016. All I knew about Trump then was his program Apprentice and that Hilary was Bill Clinton’s wife. Somehow I liked what I read about Donald Trump. Prior to the 2020 election and being aware of his comments on the state of matters in South Africa, I felt this may be an ally to help recover our own country – some how…. I followed the 2020 election and became very worried when I learned about the manipulation of votes on various fronts. The outcome filled me with dismay.

  12. Donald Trump has personality disorders? I’d like to see a citation for that.

    The United States has free trade? Yeah, sorry. Can’t take this op-ed seriously.

  13. Irrespective of the lack of research going into this post, the mystery is not why people voted for Trump. That much is easy to see if you just cast a sceptic eye outside the Overton window. The mystery is why anyone who isn’t dead voted for Biden.

    • You are so right! I am amazed to find all above comments to be so rational and not pro-OneWorldOrder.
      The media all over the world is so screwed up and so adamant that their truth is the only truth, that we sit with Biden and his team, even though he is a puppet. Trump is not in any one’s pocket and he touched their golden streams of income. Their hatred of him is actually laughable, but I actually think they fear his comeback, trying to close any avenue to prevent it.

      • Part of the OP, which is only partially right, is that plenty of legislation has now trickled down to state level. It goes both ways. An off the cuff example is Trump banning a racist ideology like Critical Race Theory from getting federal funding. That is now being ratified on state level in a few states, which means regardless of Biden issuing presidential orders in the manner that he himself on a bright day has described as being authoritarian and fascist, it still won’t fly on a state level. Similarly, plenty of states impacted by the definitely no election fraud whatsoever are rolling back laws and ensuring that they clean up their elections. Trump has given the decent people moral fibre, while simultaneously shaking the parasites to their core. He’s not going anywhere, and now, thanks to the widespread election fraud and him not ‘winning’ the election, he will be around for far longer than his term limits. It’s a blessing in disguise, because he was rattling their ivory towers in cruise control, and now he’s angry to boot. When the going gets tough…

  14. How sad that opinionistas feel compelled to open with an unsubstantiated condemnation or insult of President Donald Trump. Most of these writers are merely engaging in self-preservation.
    Lee Smith’s book “The Plot against the President” is now a 90 minute documentary by filmmaker Amanda Milius, providing ample evidence of a conspiracy to sabotage President Donald Trump.

    The year 2020 has changed my life view. The 2020 US election exposed the disgusting underbellies of mainstream media (locally in SA and internationally), the US democratic party alliance, and the absolute rot of the ANC that has irreversibly destroyed South Africa.

    • Obamagate by itself is ample evidence that this is a bigger conspiracy than Watergate. Not sure how anyone is engaging in self-preservation when they throw shade in Trump’s direction. By the same token, I can’t blame anyone who still trusts the legacy media and big tech ‘fact checkers’ to reach the conclusions that they’ve been spoonfed. I just expect a little more from Daily Friend contributors than run of the mill peanut gallery soapboxing.

  15. I like how so many pundits call out Trump’s lying as if politicians are known for speaking the truth and Trump was some kind of anomaly in this regard. In addition, there was not a president in my lifetime, to my knowledge at least, that received so much media scrutiny than Trump. I think if the same kind of scrutiny were to be somehow applied to previous presidents Trump would’ve come off light.
    Regarding his ‘disastrous’ press conferences, people don’t seem to get it: it is only a disaster when the media tells you it was. Biden and his new press secretary had a very turbulent first month if you look at executive orders signed, responses to criticisms and outright lies (The Biden administration apparently did not inherit any vaccines from the Trump administration even though Biden was himself vaccinated under a Trump administration). Yet all we got from the media was ‘relieve that press conferences were boring again’.

    • Not just media scrutiny. Years and years of tax dollars and official enquiry coming from a panel of partisan angry democrats. And even they had to admit well, the Russian Collusion thing is just another paranoid delusion of Hilary Clinton. I hope she doesn’t suicide me as well for saying that.

      The way the media is currently trying to spin the exact same cages that they put the children in under Biden is Orwelian doublespeak. It was Obama and Biden’s cages to begin with, but under Trump it was called cages and prisons and concentration camps. Now under the child sniffer, they are called migrant facilities. Same facilities. Same policies. Same dude in charge responsible for the same policies. Even the narrative manufacturing Snopes had to admit yeah, that’s Obama’s and Biden’s ‘migrant facilities’.

  16. The ‘United State’.. Joke yes… Is still answerable to the Queen of England. Why do you think one of Bidens first ‘ dictatorial’ orders was to dismantle looking into the original constitution. Sadly in SA we are the same. Lakeys of the British crown.
    If you believe the present US ‘Democrats’ believe in equality you must be a moron. DT had 4 years in the WH… Bidens been on Capitol Hill for 47…. We wonder why their hatred and viriol is so openly displayed.

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