Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Why do the Poor Vote for the Rich? Trump, Berlusconi, and the Empire of Lies


Trump and Berlusconi: the rich voted by the poor


The results of the US elections were not so surprising for me; after all, I live in a country where politics has been dominated by a financial tycoon, Silvio Berlusconi, for more than 20 years. Berlusconi and Trump share many characteristics, but the most curious one is that they are rich and that the poor vote for them. Why is that? Are the poor stupid or what?

But the poor are not stupid. It is true that they are badly misinformed by the Western media, but they also perceive that they are facing a true Empire of Lies and that they are being lied to, consistently, brazenly, and gleefully. There are plenty of studies (*) showing that people detect lies not on the basis of rational considerations, but on a much simpler test: consistency. They take into account what a person does, not so much what that person says.

In other words, if you want to help the poor and gain their trust, you have to be poor. That's why Franciscan monks wear a brown tunic, pledge to own nothing, and are forbidden even to touch money. If you want to have the vote of the poor, you don't have to arrive at such extremes, but you have to be consistent: what you are has to be in agreement with what you say. And, if you are rich, you shouldn't even try to disguise yourself as being poor. As I said, the poor are not stupid.

That was the problem of the Italian Communist Party that was supposed to represent the workers. Over the years, it came to be led by wealthy people who claimed to represent the workers, but who were not workers; they were at best well-paid bureaucrats; at worst, thieves. Eventually, the workers started voting for Berlusconi en masse and the Italian Communist Party was swept away from history. It turned into the present "Democratic Party," a mongrel that we could define as "Berlusconi 2.0".

Berlusconi was brash, silly, nasty, politically incorrect, a womanizer, and more, but he mainly said what he thought, he was not lying. People perceived that he was not the front man for someone else. Now, over 80 and mostly retired from politics, he could probably come back and win again.

It is very much the same thing for Donald Trump. You may hate what he says, but there is little doubt that he says what he thinks; he is not lying. It was exactly the opposite for Hillary Clinton, who was perceived as having much to hide, despite what she kept saying. And, in the end, it makes sense to prefer an honest son of a bitch to a smooth-sounding liar, no matter how pleasant is what she says. (**)

So, things went the way they should have. One thing that should never surprise us about the future is that it always surprises us. Will we ever learn that?


(*) If you have the time to read the book "Big Gods" by Ara Norenzayan, do so. It is an eye opener in this matter.

(**) Remarkably, it was the right-wing Berlusconi government that created the Italian solar industry. Then, the (theoretically) left-wing government of Matteo Renzi destroyed it. Renzi killed tens of thousands of jobs in the solar industry while, at the same time, maintaining that he was creating jobs. Did I say "Empire of Lies"...... ?





25 comments:

  1. Hit the nail on the head, as we are inclined to say. Thank you, Ugo!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I poveri sono un castigo divino hanno il cervello nella pancia dolente che li guida nel rimanere nella merda anziche ragionare con il cervello che hanno sulla testa e che pare non serva ai poveri di tutto il mondo altresi farebbero a meno dei ricchi. Paolo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paolo, con rispetto, tutti gli intelletuali e cervelloni dei partiti "democratici" non hanno fatto una sega per gli attuali poveri nei decenni recenti. Negli USA la situazione dei neri e' peggio che mai in vita mia, grazie alle migliaie di "programmi" ineffettuali sotto di cui siamo soffocando insieme a loro. Ragionano i poveri con la panza e' cosi' continuano a votare per i "pseudo-democratici" come Clinton che lavorano giorno e notte per non perdere gli affamati. No affamati, no party!

      Delete
  3. http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com.es/2016/01/donald-trump-and-politics-of-resentment.html

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you Ugo, really good and realistic picture, difficult to learn from experiance when most of all massmedia are corrupted and keep misleading us, as you say we shpould stick to facts, but misinformation tend to produce facts contrary to people interest.
    Paolo, meglio avere il cervello nella pancia piuttosto che nella testa di xxxxx come quella che lei sembra rappresentare, altrimenti non si spiegherebbe come fa ad arrivare ad una conclusione logica simile.
    Giovanni

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello,

    Looks like you are happy with the results. I'm not. He speaks like any populist on earth, a good understanding of our daily problems, and I agree that he is honest on this part of his speach, but than proposed solutions are totally crazy : climate change and peak oil don't exist, build a wall to keep mexican out of the USA... should we buid a wall around Lampedusa, would it also be a solution ? All these solutions that I would call "kicking ass pedagodgy and solutions" just don't work if you have to deal with people having traumatic experiences behind them, which is a reality for too many people.

    Best regards,

    Etienne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never said I was happy about this result. Let's say that I am not more unhappy than I would be if Hillary had won

      Delete
    2. Surrealcracy!

      Marco Sclarandis

      Delete
  6. Donald Trump is a liar too although his lies are different than those of Hillary Clinton. Hillary tries to hide her emotions whereas Trump lies about ideas and events.

    http://www.salon.com/2016/10/07/even-donald-trumps-lawyers-think-hes-a-habitual-liar/

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/10/trump-files-how-donalds-lawyers-dealt-his-constant-lying

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ...maybe true, but at the end of the day politic elections are more about emotions than ideas (are emotions that convince you to act, not ideas). This is an unfortunate arrangement of human beings shaped by (failed?) evolution process

      Delete
    2. You did not read the post. Let me quote it to you.

      "There are plenty of studies (*) showing that people detect lies not on the basis of rational considerations, but on a much simpler test: consistency. They take into account what a person does, not so much what that person says."

      Delete
  7. So, good lies need to look consistent and be consistently repeated. (Didn't Goebbels say something like that?) That explains why even educated people believe the lies spread about Hillary for decades. And why again they voted for trickle down reagonomics, etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes...and no one has been more consistently lied about and villified than HRC. I call it "Hillary Hysteria" and I've observed it for decades.
      Don't discount the misogynism either. You have to have read so much of it by now throughout this campaign.

      Delete
  8. Here is Stefan Ramhstorf take:

    "White US males are among the highest income earners the world has ever seen. ...Trump voters, FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver found, had a median household income of $72,000, a fair bit higher than the $62,000 median household income for non-Hispanic whites in America. A major study from Gallup's Jonathan Rothwell confirmed this."

    You cannot be BOTH right.

    Alex

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have many gypsy friends, probably the poorest class in Italy. And they have always been great supporters of Berlusconi.

      Delete
    2. Apart from Gypsies, it is clear that Trump (and Berlusconi) won with the working class - I used the word "poor" for that, a little strong, but that's the meaning

      Delete
  9. The real reason Trump won was because he played to populist outrage over an elitist political structure that ignored the plebs for far too long with four decades of falling wages and living standards. He's a consummate con artist. The message was correct even though it came from someone who has no real interest in changing the system that created this wealth disparity. Interestingly, an AI system had predicted that Trump would win the White House(http://www.cnbc.com/2016/10/28/donald-trump-will-win-the-election-and-is-more-popular-than-obama-in-2008-ai-system-finds.html). The combination of a Trump presidency and a Republican Senate spells doom for equality, the environment, and ultimately the economy.

    In Trumpland, hard realities of resource depletion and environmental degradation don't exist because it's a "yuge" world out there. The pill is a bitter one to swallow and it's not even within their realm of thinking.

    (Prescient from April 2016):
    Trump is a symptom of the ongoing breakdown of the social pact...capitalizing on this breakdown by...playing on the attempt of the white (former) middle class to maintain at least some of its previous prosperity and privileges. Trump is...an unavoidable consequence of resource depletion.
    http://cassandralegacy.blogspot.com/2016/04/donald-trump-and-collapse-of-western.html

    ReplyDelete
  10. ¿Y por qué a nosotros, cuando decimos la verdad, nos llaman catastrofistas y no nos vota nadie?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great observations Ugo.

    Trump released a "contract with the voter" back in October. If you haven't read it, it's worth the 5 minutes.

    https://assets.donaldjtrump.com/CONTRACT_FOR_THE_VOTER.pdf

    Four pages long, bullets, in plain language, it lays out an absolutely radical plan for his first 100 days that is crystal clear, with no obfuscation or hidden agenda. Its this kind of directness that won people over. If you vote for Trump, what you're going to get is contained in those 4 pages.

    Unfortunately for those of us who care about things like the environment and the planet, the contract tells us exactly what we can expect. Drill baby drill, burn more and faster, and de-fund anything that smells of climate action. It's probably the most anti-environmental stance I've seen anyone in politics take. For the optimists among us (I am not one) who believe that an energy transition of some sort is possible before disaster sets in, I don't see how that will be feasible after four years of Trump.

    Suicide by carbon- it's right there in black and white.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, there is a good chance that he might bring down the economy in a crash bad enough to save the climate.

      Delete
  12. Jamie Dimon for Secratary Treasury....what a goooooood start....if this is the first move of Donald..well...what remain to say to poor American voter?

    ReplyDelete
  13. According to exit polls, the lowest income voters--those from households making $50,000 or less--gave majority support to Hillary Clinton. This was a significant slice of the electorate. See: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/us-election/white-voters-education-swing-states-the-data-behind-trumpswin/article32784716/

    ReplyDelete
  14. Who voted for Donald? More men, more white, more old, more uneducated, more middle class and rich. ( http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-elections/who-voted-for-donald-trump-white-men-and-women-most-responsible-for-new-president-elect-voting-data-a7407996.html )

    ReplyDelete

Who

Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome and the author of "Extracted: how the quest for mineral resources is plundering the Planet" (Chelsea Green 2014)