Earlier this year, in a vote that surprised pollsters across the globe, Britain voted to leave the European Union. Financial markets reacted with one of the worst three-day periods in modern history. News outlets desperately dug through the data, trying to understand why their models were so wrong. World leaders even called emergency cabinet meetings to figure out what effects Brexit might have on their own fragile economies.
In the end it, Britain’s vote came down to one issue — frustration with government. The British were tired of being ruled by a governing entity that they felt misrepresented their values. They were tired of a declining economy and a ruling class that seemed to care next to nothing about those they claimed to serve. They willingly chose a direction that would almost guarantee a short-term financial crisis.
Yesterday, America made a similar decision. Once again pollsters and media outlets failed to recognize the deep frustrations voters felt with the current system. And so, once again, they underestimated those voters power.
I have already heard celebrities, news outlets and politicians calling the results proof of America’s continued racism, sexism, and hatred. Some outlets are even calling Trump’s victory a racist backlash against Barack Obama, the country’s first African-American president.
Regardless of who Trump is at his core, this claim is nonsense.
I did not vote for Donald Trump, a fact that I may be proud to claim in a few short months. However, it just so happens that I have hundreds of friends and neighbors who did. I have had many discussions with them both online and in person about their decision. Their choice was based on a variety of reasons. Some felt that the Supreme Court was the most important factor in this election cycle. Others simply felt that Hillary was too corrupt to be allowed in the presidency, and that four years of Trump would be better than eight years of Hillary. Still others were passionate pro-lifers who felt that Donald’s Trump (current) stand on abortion was worthy of a vote.
The one thing all of their reasons had in common? They had nothing to do with racism, sexism, or hatred against any particular class of people.
What they did all have in common was a frustration with mainstream American politics, particularly on the federal level. They were tired of feeling like no matter who they chose to put in office, things continued to get worse for “the little guy.” No matter who held the highest office, or which party had legislative power, the result was the same — corruption, regulation, and crony capitalism.
Many were frustrated that they were being forced to pay for healthcare that was steadily losing value and gaining price. They were tired of politicians from both sides of the isle spewing blatant lies — yes, I know Trump is no different — and holding no accountability. And finally, they were sick to their stomach upon reading leaked emails that showed just how corrupt America’s political system and leaders had become.
And so they voted for Donald Trump. They plugged their noses, closed their eyes, and voted for a man they knew deep down did not represent their values or traditions. Like trapped animals, they chose what they felt was the best of two awful options. Someone that, at the very least, did not come from politics. Someone that was not part of the “establishment” that they read about. And someone that was simply not Hillary Clinton.
In all reality, no one has a clue where a Trump presidency will take us. Many initiatives he has brought up will likely never pass, even in a Republican-controlled congress. Others were likely campaign promises, given on a whim, with no base in reality.
One thing can be sure. It will no longer be business as usual in Washington. And that is exactly what America voted for last night.
Spencer Mecham is a huge fanatic of politics and the financial markets. He is the founder of BeginningStockTrader.com and a contributor to many financial publications.