Marvin Zonis fue mi profesor de Globalización en el GSMP que hice con la Universidad de Chicago Booth e Instituto de Empresa Business School en 2008 y desde entonces es mi amigo y Maestro. Tiene una casa espléndida en Umbria (la región vecina de mi Toscana) y viene a vernos a Madrid al menos una vez al año, ocasión que aprovechamos para ponernos al día sobre los temas de actualidad política más rabiosa.

Marvin es sin lugar a duda el mayor experto mundial en geopolítica relacionada con Middle East y el mundo Árabe en general; ha sido asesor personal de los últimos presidentes Demócratas y no suele equivocarse.

Comparto aqui un artículo salido de una charla reciente suya sobre un tema que horroriza a todo Americano progresista del siglo XXI (en Silicon Valley hoy se habla más del ascenso de Donald Trump que de los IPOs de las start ups más cool o de los próximos unicornios, y es todo un decir).

¿Como es posible que tenga tanto apoyo popular este ricachón ignorante (que además presume de no haber leído un libro jamás en su vida), racista declarado, arrogante, super facha, enemigo declarado de la inmigración (Mejicana y más), que propone ejecutar a terroristas y a sus familias, que es capaz de hablar del tamaño de su pene en lugar de intentar hilar un programa político mínimo, …?

Marvin explica el éxito de Donald Trump con el mismo concepto que ha creado la Intífada en Palestina y los territorios ocupados y movimientos como Al-qaeda en Arabia Saudí, Isis y el fundamentalismo radical en el mundo árabe. El sentido de humillación de un pueblo entero.

Desde 1948 el mundo Árabe se ha visto vencido y sometido política y económicamente por un País pequeño (y odiado) como Israel y sus aliados, cuando hasta entonces ellos (y su religión y su cultura) habían sido los dueños de esa parte del mundo, al menos desde más de un milenio.

De acuerdo con Marvin, los Americanos quieren a Trump de Presidente por razones parecidas, por sus recientes y continuadas humillaciones.

Aqui van…

As so many have made so clear, the social and economic transformations of the United States have left many Americans on edge, dissatisfied with the status quo and searching for solutions. Donald Trump offers what many of them believe to be those solutions.

That Trump is a populist, outside the pale of the political establishment, is part of his appeal. But there are many other reasons why a large swath of the American electorate supports him so fervently.

To understand the Trump phenomenon, one needs to start with those Americans. In the last 15 years or so, they have come to experience a deep sense of humiliation. That sense of humiliation stems from many diverse sources:

  • The brilliantly executed terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the loss of 3000 lives;
  • The loss of the war in Afghanistan;
  • The loss of the war in Iraq;
  • The rise of Islamic inspired terrorism within the US;
  • The stagnation of cash wages;
  • The transformation of the American economy, particularly the disappearance of the world’s once strongest manufacturing base;
  • The economic collapse of 2007-08;
  • The failure of any of the moguls responsible for the collapse to go to jail but instead to have received government bailouts;
  • The catastrophic collapse of house prices;
  • The rise of the LGBT movement and the legalization of gay marriage;
  • The rise of females to positions of greater power; and
  • The election of a Black President and the increasing “blackening” of the U.S., starting with the President and many senior government positions but extending throughout the economy and society.

These and other factors have produced a world completely unfamiliar to vast numbers of Americans. The “disintegration” of their world as they understood it to properly be has been deeply humiliating.

As with every deep humiliation, the consequence has been rage — an abiding anger that seeks to strike out at the root causes that have brought about that disintegration.

In so many ways, Donald Trump is the ideal leader for these Americans. What makes his appeal so powerful is precisely because he offers so many ways in which enraged voters can become Trump followers. As Freud would have put it, Trump’s appeal to his followers is “over determined.”

Trump is a narcissist. It would be difficult to find an American politician who more clearly fits anyone’s definition of a pathological narcissist: grandiosity, shamelessness, entitlement, arrogance, need for affirmation and admiration, magical thinking. The list goes on.

The consequence is that his sense of invulnerability and strength – his “I couldn’t care less” character – provides the solid foundation that so many enraged Americans seek.

Moreover, he effectively creates a new social order, transforming the existing order that has been so unkind to so many. It is no accident that he is white, super rich and a boor. His lack of manners, shamelessness and ignorance become an asset. Through this style, he effectively depreciates the old social order, represented by the two Presidents Bush and also Mitt Romney, who while white and super rich were hardly boors.

Through his boorishness, his lack of any apparent intellectual interests, his seeming avoidance of reality in the formation of his policy positions – build the wall while deporting 11 million plus illegal Mexican immigrants – he speaks to the rage filled impulses of his followers. By being white and rich and invulnerable, he also legitimizes them.

Trump’s appeal is bolstered because he is not a calculating political strategist but a show business star. His lack of deliberation has been an asset because it establishes distance from the calculations and political correctness of his opponents.

Pundits point out how he risks a major misstep. But Trump couldn’t care less. His point is to mock the careful political grooming of establishment politicians (even while he is personally carefully groomed, at least coiffure wise).

His mocking approach is not a thoughtfully devised strategy meant to win over the public. He is just too narcissistic to feel empathy for others. Rather, he is just doing his (genuine) thing, expressing his own emotions and worldview that, in turn, win him wide support.

Yet another powerful emotional connection with his followers is his simple-mindedness. All the well-chronicled developments that have humiliated Trump supporters also have left them dazed and confused. They find it difficult to digest the complexity of the new economic, moral, social and technological realities. Many of them are poorly educated or are evangelicals with simple frameworks through which to view the world. Trump’s simple-mindedness — his magical thinking, obliviousness to consequences and poor judgment — appear to these Americans as something they understand, and appreciate. To them he sounds like the only reasonable, straight-talking candidate out there.

In his narcissistic grandiosity, then, Trump presents a figure of great strength — an invulnerable force to stand against all manner of enemies – perceived by his supporters. But, of course, it is impossible to actually pin down responsibility for the humiliating changes that have afflicted so many Americans. So Trump and his enemy list serves as a handy catchall collection. Whether or not they are actually responsible is less important than that someone can be blamed.

In his narcissistic grandiosity, then, Trump presents a figure of great strength — an invulnerable force to stand against all manner of enemies – perceived by his supporters.

Trump’s popularity, in short, stems from the intense emotional bond that he has generated in so many Americans. That bond has two sources. First, he himself has managed to escape the humiliations that have beset so many of them. Second, he promises to “Make America Great Again,” that is to make them great again. That none of this is particularly rational or, indeed, feasible, is besides the point when dealing with the powerful emotion of rage.

Marvin Zonis is Professor Emeritus, Booth School of Business, The University of Chicago. Mike Kaufman is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at The University of Chicago’s Center on Aging.