Andrew Sullivan’s May 2 article in New York Magazine, “Democracies end when they are too democratic,” makes the case that voters want a Putin-style autocrat in office. His attempted argument not only misses the target, but also patronizes the millions of voters who have lined up eagerly at polling stations these last few months.
The truth is that we are in the midst of a truly democratic moment in this country. Voters have been given stark choices.
In the simplest terms, it is Donald Trump versus the establishment on the Republican side, and Bernie Sanders versus the establishment on the Democratic side.
The result, as we have seen, is that primary voters have opted in droves against the establishment.
Why? Because they perceive that the establishment is not working for them. They don’t feel heard. They don’t feel understood. They don’t feel like they are winning. And all of those feelings are true.
We are not winning any more. Economic growth numbers are weak. Wages are stagnant. The American dream seems lost to most Americans.
Trump, Bernie Sanders, and indeed President Obama before them, have all captured voters’ hearts and minds not through spreading hatred, but through providing optimism and hope.
But Sullivan misses this point when he writes:
“as I watched frenzied Trump rallies on C-SPAN in the spring, and saw him lay waste to far more qualified political peers in the debates by simply calling them names, the nausea turned to dread.”
The only qualification for an elected candidate is that they are elected.
Sullivan’s argument is tissue paper thin, but one that certainly would appeal to the elitists inside the beltway who have lost touch with the vast populace who live in the real world.
Sullivan has targeted the messenger, and by belittling Trump supporters, he misses the obvious fact. Voters perceive that the crop of elected officials have failed to deliver for them.
I have worked at Goldman Sachs and on factory floors, and I can assure you, we are all the 100%. We are all looking for the same thing: jobs, GDP and wage growth and an ever-increasing standard of living. While Trump and Sanders’ platforms both aim at getting more money in voters’ pockets, Trump is the only candidate who understands free market principles and job creation. Trump is the only candidate whose policies will unleash prosperity for all.
Trump is not inspiring tyranny. He is inspiring voters to vote and, in particular, vote in historic numbers for a Republican candidate.
Trump supporters feel heard. They feel understood. Perhaps the real reason they like him is that they are desperately hoping for someone in Washington who represents them and their interests.
Isn’t that what democracy is all about, Mr. Sullivan?