10/6/16

Over 2 years ago polls in Israel predicted the demise of then-Prime Minister Netanyahu in the forthcoming elections. He went on to win convincingly and is still the Israeli Prime Minister.

About 2 years ago, in the mid-term elections here in the USA polls predicted a weak performance by Republicans in the Senate, more or less guaranteeing the continued Democratic majority there and stable or weak performance in the gubernatorial elections . The Republicans went on to significantly increase their House majority, win a decent majority in the Senate and astounding gubernatorial success in staunch Democratic strongholds like Maryland and Massachusetts.

About 18 months ago, polls in the UK predicted a “hung” parliament in the UK elections. The Conservative party went on to win a very convincing majority.

About 6 months ago, polls in the UK predicated a fairly convincing win for the “stay” vote in the EU referendum. The rest is history; the “leave” vote won by about a 5% margin.

This weekend, polls predicted a strong win in the referendum in Columbia for those wanting to approve the peace agreement with the terrorist group FARC. In astounding result, Columbians rejected the peace agreement (it is probably THE most difficult thing in the world to do, rejecting a peace agreement).

Why is that? What is it all over the democratic world that is causing polls to get things so horribly wrong and to so poorly misjudge the mode of the people?

I believe that the answer is in two forces working in tandem:

  1. Failure of Leadership. Since the terror events of 9/11/2001 the world has been thrown into a period of unrest and anxiety. National security, as well as economic events, combined to make us all very uneasy with the direction of our country and the world. Facing these events, leaders in the world democracies have been less than inspiring. George W. Bush was OK for the first few years after 9/11 and provided strong leadership and hope. His demise came at the end of his term due to the economic crisis where he failed to show leadership in the handling of it. Obama . . . well, words fail here. He is the worst president of the US ever in terms of showing leadership. Under his leadership—if one can call it that—the world is on fire, the dictators of the world gain ground all over the world, and the economic anxiety has grown due to a lackluster performance for many years. The same can be said about leaders in most of the democratic world. We live in an era of dimming, or even failing, leadership, which causes serious unrest amongst the plebes, the people.
  2. The Increasing Separation between the Elites and the Real People. Political progressives elite, fully supported and thus very much amplified by media elites (which cover the vast majority of the media as a whole), further strengthened by the academic elites, the celebrities of the world and even a significant part of the business elites—they all live in a cocoon. Hermetically sealed in their conviction of their own moral superiority, convinced of their higher intelligence than all others, contemptuous of any suggestion that they may be wrong, they have become more and more distanced from the actual world reality of the plebeians. The real people. That separation is not just physical, it is in thoughts, in ideas, in failure to recognize reality and in rejection of any suggestion that they may be incorrect, that they need to review their “truths,” lacking any self-criticism.

I recently had the occasion to meet a person that is part of these elites. A person who supposedly is a great intellectual, brilliant mind, very experienced, well connected, etc.

As a result of this encounter I have come to understand that these elites are not only disconnected from the reality of real life, they have no intellectual curiosity to understand the reasons for the unrest and lack of satisfaction of masses of people. They actually do believe that many of these people are irredeemable, and possibly deplorable a-la-Clinton. Their minds are set and sealed to any effort at challenging their beliefs and, thus, their just, moral, and superior views—according to them. They really adhere to the “do not confuse me with facts, I made up my mind” mantra.

That person’s superficiality when discussing the political situation was surprising to me. I expected much more depth of analysis, more nuanced observations and intellectual arguments. The discussion started by this person’s statement of faith in Hillary Clinton’s suitability for the job due to her experience and track record. When asked to point to one significant achievement of hers as Secretary of State, the discussion deteriorated fast to stating aggressively, and with no attempt at justifying the statement, that the terrible situation around the world is not her fault. But I was not saying that it was her fault. I asked what did she actually achieve as a positive achievement. A vague statement about it was really all Obama’s fault was countered by me stating that either she should have resigned if she disagreed and that, anyway, she is embracing Obama’s policies. The response then was a vague “things could have been worse.” Really?

Moving on to the economic record of Obama, given that Clinton is vowing to continue on the same path, again the discussion started by a statement of faith. When faced with actual numbers indicating that Obama’s economic record was terrible, even if given credit for the deep recession he inherited, I was told that facts are not necessary relevant.

It used to be a statement of faith by Democrats that one is entitled to one’s opinion but not to one’s facts. It seems that now these elites think that facts do not matter either when they do not serve their stated position and goal.

It suddenly dawned on me that this paragon of the ruling elite, this clearly brilliant and intelligent person, is so far from reality that it lives in its own cocoon. It doesn’t help that this person falls easily into my by-now famous definition of “stupidity”—its arrogance exceeds its intelligence. Which, by the way, explains neatly why it is now a retiree.

There are very dangerous currents stirring emotions of the people in the world democracies. Stoked by calls from these elites for more “fairness” and other politically correct movements on the one hand, and by the actually pretty lousy state of affairs out there in the real world. There is a distinct feeling by the masses that they lack economic, personal, and national safety.

I am not sure that Donald Trump is the answer to all that. I do know that Clinton, living well inside the bubble, completely sheltered by the cocoon of the elites, is not the answer.

As things stand today, Trump’s only slim possibility of winning relies on the passion, unhappiness, and significant feelings of uneasiness stirring around the masses of people.