The core political actors for the political struggles to come
The thing that the Trump phenomenon shows the most vividly is that, despite the mythology, the government in a democracy isn’t really accountable to the people. It is accountable to an amorphous set of people whom Jason Kuznicki aptly called “professional media consumers” (“media” meaning serious news and commentary). To the extent they have legitimacy with the public, they can stir wider outrage at the behavior of public officials, and get them to comply. Standing together with them is probably a certain kind of businessmen who pride themselves as being “socially conscious”, so to speak. This attitude of businessmen, unsurprisingly, seems to correlate with the innovativeness of their enterprises, with Peter Thiel being a notable exception.
The problem is, however, that the core Trump voters detest those very people, whom they derisively call “the establishment”, although the vast majority of those people are far less wealthy and have far less direct power than most of the guests of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. Including Richard DeAgazio who tweeted the selfie with the soldier carrying the ICBM launch device, and claimed that Trump’s choosing not to move to a secure location to discuss the North Korean missile test showed his “closeness to the people”.
What is interesting, though, is that, at least in the US, very rich people like DeAgazio and Trump are often indeed closer to “the people” in terms of their intellectual sophistication, values and worldview than, say, ordinary journalists getting close-to-average NYC/DC salaries. This allows folks like Trump and DeAgazio to delude themselves (with the help of deeply dishonest intellectuals like Bannon) into thinking that they are part of the people opressed by the elites. It is these people who are probably the true backbone of many populist political movements (the Turkish AKP seems a particularly good example) because they, as any political force, actually have to rely on activist minorities with some means, and it is one of the few such minorities populists can rely on.
So, in the modern world, the core actors in the political struggle will tend to be professional media consumers and innovative businessmen on one side versus more “down-to-Earth” businessmen and probably, increasingly, also trade-union activists. As Stephen Davies hypothesized even before Trump’s victory, the political struggle will be increasingly about globalism vs nativism, or moderate classical liberalism vs conservatism in the true sense of the word.
What will probably ultimately spell the defeat of the nativist project is the fact that cities are where the action is in the modern world, and the globalist pressure groups are, without question, decidedly more legitimate among the urban populations than the nativist ones. But the road there will be rocky because large parts of the globalist pressure group coalition are still distracted from the core issue by the legacy of the dying leftism, including alarmist environmentalism, identity politics and healthy-living-obsessed lifestyle that were embraced by many leftists after direct socialism became a non-starter, and have been sold to not-very-leftist highly educated people as progressive stuff every educated person should accept as given.