The Trump phenomenon is both tragic and horrifying. Regardless of whether or not he wins in November, we must realize the depth of cultural pathology that his ascendancy represents, diagnose it and find the cure. How can we live at a time when our communication and social tools are so incredibly sophisticated and our political and public discourse is so moronic?
The only response that can be meaningful over the long term is to elevate the general level of intelligence and global awareness in the public. Trump's ascendancy reveals that the US populace has been reduced to a level of stupidity that is going to be extremely difficult to change. The people have been hoodwinked by the mass media to become passive and irresponsible subjects of a regime of totalizing social control. They have lost their ability to think or reason for themselves and simply respond to cues and buzzwords. It is pathetic.
I would blame a collusion of financial interests, political ruling elites, and corporate mass media for this catastrophic state of affairs. I agree with the analyses of people like Chris Hedges (The Death of the Liberal Class) and Noam Chomsky (Manufacturing Consent) for the most part. What are we going to do, people?
The problem is this public, civic disaster is not just a localized phenomenon. From where we are now, it could bring about our extinction as a species. We confront two existential risks: climate change and nuclear war. I tend to think the ecological crisis is the greater risk - but Trump might change my mind.
The corporate media, tied to the complex of hyper-consumerism and capital accumulation, is the main engine driving us toward a species-level collapse. Warning is spiking now and we know from past epochs that once feedback loops are engaged, we can get a 6 - 8 degree rise within a half century. At that point, with forests gone and oceanic plankton no longer reproducing, we run out of oxygen and asphyxiate.
Personally, I made an initial admittedly naive attempt to create an alternative media platform and transformative corporation / nonprofit when I started Evolver a decade ago. Through our nonprofit, we developed a model for local communities to come together to explore transformative ideas and practices such as permaculture and complementary currencies. Alas, we couldn't find a revenue model that supported our volunteers to scale the project, and it ultimately collapsed. The company wasn't able to attract the investment capital we needed to create powerful alternative media.
I still feel that basic model combining media with social tools and on-the-ground local communities is the model most likely to be effective. The vision behind such an enterprise has to go beyond Clintonian Neoliberalism: We need to rally around a profoundly new vision of what we want to be and do together as a civilization.
We have to do something to counteract the forces that have reduced the mass of the US people to a level of inanity that has few historical precedents. Otherwise, even if Trump loses there will just be another even more horrible and dangerous demagogue down the line. Obviously, I don't think the neoliberal corporatism of Obama/Clinton is the answer. The political system is broken, but this also reflects the reality that the mass consciousness has been debased to a terrifying level, where people lack the most basic tools for understanding the complexity of the world they are in.