Tuesday, May 17, 2016

An Explanation of the Popularity of Trump and Duterte

The president-elect of the Philippines is a man referred to as the "Trump of the East."  Rodrigo Duterte earned this name because of his shooting-off-the-cuff and tough-guy persona. Duterte reportedly called Pope France, the "son of a whore." He also joked about an Australian lay missionary, a rape victim, saying, "She was so beautiful, the mayor should have been first, what a waste."

After the recent May election, he talked of killing criminals, cracking down on smoking, drinking, and staying out late, and amending the Philippine Constitution -- sending shivers up the spine of civil rights watchdogs in the Philippines.

Duterte won by a landslide -- more than 9 million votes, or 40% of  the 54 million registered Filipino voters.

In the US, presidential-hopeful, Donald Trump, has also surprised many by his mass appeal. Trump's outrageous statements gave birth to the word, "Trumpism," defined by Urban Dictionary as "the belief system that encourages abrasive, pretentious, narcissitic behavior as a way to achieving money, fame, and power."

The style of these two tough guys do not appeal to me. In fact, they make me cringe and I've had to ask myself why they are very popullar.

I think I have an explanation.

These two men provide an answer to many who have experienced an increasing loss of power. The gap between the rich and the poor has widened, and the leaders of the past have disappointed a huge segment of society.  The "mavericks" who offer hope for change appeal to those who hunger for change.  Even though these two men come from a higher social level than their supporters, they have presented themselves as "Robin Hoods" who promise to empower the Have-Nots.

There are other world events which may account for their popularity. Perhaps their tough image evokes a sense of stability that counters the instability in many parts of the world. The Robin Hoods can take on ISIS and other Bad Guys swiftly and without dithering. The Robin Hoods will impose some kind of law and order, even if they're going to take away people's freedoms. Etcetera.

When Duterte won in the Philippines, my heart skipped a beat at the thought that Trump could win in the United States. I'm right there with the 70% women who view him unfavorably.

I hope that Americans will be very thoughtful about their election choices. It's not just the US that'll be affected but the rest of the world.

Read also
Photos courtesy of Wikipedia

Tags: politics, Trump, Duterte, Philippines, United States, president, election, populist

This is all for now,

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