As the political centre distorts under popular pressure from left and right-wing populists, it is worth considering at least one factor in this story: The lies and guarded, PC speech of the elites (mostly “Bullshit” formal variety) makes political extremists look authoritative for stating obvious facts that mainstream political narratives have deemed unmentionable (although the old Overton Window is being disintermediated by the internet too, see Seth Godin’s tweetstorm via Stratechery.)
Venkatesh Rao explains it in “Be Slightly Evil“:
“We give people authority even when we don’t like them and are not afraid of them if they possess valuable information or skills.
There are many such “authority-earning” skills, but one of the most important is the ability to see reality as it really is, in minimally-deluded ways…[and] to see and convincingly frame realities in ways that turn matters of opinion into matters of fact.“
Whilst elites are denying obvious problems and pandering to special interests, they are allowing skilled extremists to present themselves as the only ones who see reality as it is and therefore the only one competent to lead.
In addition, you have had 40 years of election cycles where the elites have been pandering to swing and minority voters, at the expense of the white working class. Now everyone is baffled that a nativist is wildly popular amongst, well, the natives.
Trump will fade, either the GOP establishment will engineer a pretext why he is disqualified or he will be assassinated or simply lose to Clinton, but he has unleashed political forces that will be very hard for the elites to contain. He has done a service to us all popping the bubble of PC Bullshit that makes politics so artificial and alienating. He has established that the PC over-engineered, scripted and memorised soundbite bullshit is now political liability, a badge of insincerity and duplicity.
The problem of course is that thoughtful politicians who weigh their carefully chosen words will be seen to be inauthentic bullshitters.