You don’t have to like it, but it’s coming: another four years of President Trump. His base has never been stronger, he’s got a massive war chest, and he has singular focus. The Democrats are eating themselves alive and the party is at odds with itself.
Whatever side of the political spectrum you identify with, one thing I think we can all agree on is that American politics have been driven to the extremes. The Republican Party has to wrestle with an incumbent president they can’t control. The Democrats have to realize their party’s legacy power players (e.g. Pelosi) are out of touch with the rest of America and are losing ground to the more extreme party members like Ocasio-Cortez.
How did we get here? Income inequality is one of the big reasons.
I was at a recent event in New York where some Harvard business professors were speaking with business leaders. One of the professors asked people to raise their hands and let everyone know why they believe America is the greatest country on the planet. “You can be poor and still have the same opportunity to succeed as anyone else” was a common answer. It used to be that way, but the data says that, today, it does matter what family and class you’re born into, the same way it matters in Russia and Brazil. Think about that for a bit.
The middle class has mostly vanished. Getting it back would be extremely challenging and would involve a massive overhaul of our education and financial system by strong leadership. This seems unlikely by the very nature of our democracy, which rewards short-term thinking in a rapidly changing, technologically fixated world. It might be time to reflect on this a bit, because America is losing its edge to the rest of the world. U.S. politicians are forced to think short term, not long term (“What do I have to do to stay in office for another four years?”). If you’re Putin or Xi Jinping of China, you can afford to think about the long game, instead. Would you rather play chess or checkers? Let that sink in.
Set all the hyperbole aside for one minute and focus on the facts that ensure we’ll have Trump in office for another four years: The economy is strong, unemployment is low, and business is good. Trump’s actions on immigration and his trade war have continued to bolster his already-strong base.
It’s easy to be blind to the Trump phenomenon when you live in cities like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles that produce contact bias and one-percent living.
It’s clear that Trump has the edge in 2020—whether we like it or not. That said, we have big problems to solve in America. An outdated education system and predatory healthcare are two big ones. It will take all of us to fix it; we just need to start thinking long term.
Featured image courtesy of Gage Skidmore