Opinion: America′s silent majority has finally spoken | Opinion | DW | 09.11.2016
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Opinion: America's silent majority has finally spoken

Against all predictions, Donald Trump has been elected US president. The victory shows just how the media and the elites in Washington have lost touch with a broad segment of the American electorate, says Gregg Benzow.

As the saying goes: Public opinion is one thing and published opinion is another. On Tuesday, public opinion in America broke its silence and voted for Donald Trump as president. There were good reasons for his decisive victory.

Attacks on American values

No one in this campaign understood better than Donald Trump the long-held and deep-seated disgust that large parts of American society feel towards Washington and left-wing liberalism. America's conservative backbone has had enough of the political and media elites' constant attacks on their way of life and their values. Hard-working, honest people who go to work every day and pay their taxes are sick of upper-class liberals who even think they're progressive by messing with their lives. That doesn't go down well in America's heartland – there, where people consider their personal freedom to be the highest good. People there have an almost allergic reaction when do-gooders and know-it-alls from the capital try to dictate how they should live and what they should think. Or what they can say in the public arena, and what they cannot.

DW Kommentatorenbild, Gregg Benzow (DW)

DW's Gregg Benzow

This discontent had long been simmering below the surface. But then, Donald Trump came along and stuck his finger in the wound. In front of the world, he bluntly said the very things that millions of Americans had long been thinking, feeling - and hating.

Of course these people are also concerned about poor schools, crumbling infrastructure, terrorism, the higher costs of Obamacare, their mortgages, and many other issues. But what motivated these people on election day more than anything else was the erosion of their culture and the betrayal of archetypal American ideals - personified by Hillary Clinton. She was and is the symbol for all those things that upstanding Americans detest: corrupt, power-hungry, dishonest, and out for her own personal gain.

The hated carpetbagger

Hillary Clinton is the prototype of the carpetbagger. Every American knows this term. In 1865 after the end of the American Civil War, northerners came to the South, took over important positions, and told the defeated populace what they had to do and how they needed to live in future. They were called carpetbaggers because the luggage they traveled with was sewn out of pieces of used carpet. For America's silent majority, Hillary Clinton and the Democrats - like the Left Party and the Greens in Europe - are modern-day carpetbaggers.

So, what now? We have a campaign behind us that was fought with unprecedented brutality. It's no wonder - there was, and still is, a lot at stake. Donald Trump is the leader of the biggest movement America has seen in recent history - bigger even than the movement against the Vietnam War nearly 50 years ago, and with considerably greater, more far-reaching consequences. The revolt in American society has just begun.

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