10 Reasons Donald Trump Won

There is a Buddhist teaching called The Law of Dependent Origination, which states that nothing occurs unless the conditions are right for it to occur. The biblical concept that “you reap what you sow” makes a similar point.

Here are ten conditions that I believe played a key role in making Trump’s triumph possible:

1. The accumulated loss of decent jobs due to automation and the export of manufacturing overseas, leaving many voters desperate for more than modest, incremental change.2. Mass media (especially Fox News and radio talk shows) spreading fear, distortion, and propaganda for decades (augmented by social media echo chambers), coupled with the psychological vulnerability of people under sustained stress to the appeal of an authoritarian or dictatorial leader .

3. Complacency in both the Republican and Democratic establishments, who haven’t had much in the way of fresh ideas for decades and have left too many crises unresolved, opening the door for a bold outsider.

4. The dangerous resurgence of White Christian Supremacy in the face of cultural and religious diversity; the long-term strategy of white Christian Reconstructionists to mobilize white Evangelical voters; the failure of white churches to name, confront, and overcome America’s “original sin” of personal and systemic racism.

5. Trump’s clear, simple, entertaining, concrete, confident, and narrative-heavy messaging in contrast to Clinton’s complicated, vague, abstract, and less-compelling messaging strategy.

6. The use of abortion by Republicans as awedge issue that trumps all others for religious voters, especially when coupled with Supreme Court vacancies, and the corresponding failure of Democrats to a) present abortion reduction as a moral alternative to criminalization, and b) to appeal to religious voters at all in a concentrated way.

7. The appeal of scapegoating by a demagogue.

8. Decades of successful gerrymandering andvoter suppression by Republicans.

9. Trump’s simple promise that people will make more money if he is president.

10. The struggle between patriarchy and post-patriarchy.

Those of us who are deeply concerned about the impact of this election would be wise to pay attention to these conditions.

For more on a constructive response to these conditions, please see my book The Great Spiritual Migration.

I’ll be writing more on #10 in the coming days.