Why can’t we just get along? This is a question that I have been working on in my new book, Divided: Colliding Ways We See the World. This series of blogs looks at five worldviews that each have defining characteristics. Understanding the five worldviews—indigenous, traditional, progressive, globalized, and transformative—is a necessity in this complex and rapidly-changing world. The next several weeks I will be examining the traditional worldview, an often misunderstood and demonized worldview. I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.
“Tradition is a guide and not a jailer.” ― W. Somerset Maugham
The Populist Right, Part 3
As indicated from the 2016 presidential election results, it is apparent that the Democratic agenda did not resonate with the needs of the working class. The Reagan Democrats, many of the white working-class who switched to Republicans with the 1980 election of Reagan, often switch back and forth between the two parties depending on the candidate and agenda.
They voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996 and Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. But in a decisive move, many switched to Donald Trump in the 2016 election, especially in the critical “rust belt” states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
In early 2016, no one would have imagined that the forces of globalization would be challenged from both the left and right; populism was taking on a left and right variant. The Democratic and Republican parties of old were overshadowed by a new brand of politics: the populist right and left.
On the right, populism had a new leader: Donald Trump. He was different, both ideologically, psychologically, and emotionally, from the other Republican candidates. Spouting populist rhetoric, he pledged to smash through the ideological divide and to “Make America Great” again. It sounded good and enough people believed him to catapult him to the highest office in the land, despite his crass outbursts and lack of experience. At the time of this writing, Trump seems intent on dismantling the levers of liberalism and the checks and balances on his power. He is carrying out a populist agenda point by point.
During his campaign, Trump railed against free trade agreements—the cornerstone of the globalized worldview—that he claimed hurt American workers. He has nixed the Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement with Asian counterparts. On occasion he chastises American corporations planning to send jobs to Mexico or overseas.
Populists want an end to free trade agreements, such as NAFTA, and a return to bi-lateral trade negotiations.
They are in favor of levying a tariff on goods imported into the U.S. from American firms manufacturing in countries who have taken advantage of low-wage foreign labor. He is also bent on righting trade imbalances and intellectual property theft by China by imposing selective tariffs on imported goods. He claims that he is fulfilling his campaign promises to his constituencies, however, the results are mixed.
About the Author
Dr. Denise R. Ames is a long-time educator, grade 7-university, author of seven books, and president of an educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. CGA provides books, resources, and services with a holistic, global- focused, and perspective-taking approach for their three programs: Global Awareness for Educators, books and resources for educators and students grade 9-university; Gather, Global Awareness Through Engaged Reflection, a self-organizing study and conversation program for adults focusing on seeing different perspectives of pressing global issues; and their most recent program Turn, Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network, which encourages lifelong and transformative learning to help us arrive at a place of personal and global well-being using a seven “path” approach.
For more about worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldviews: How We See the World. $9.95