I like this essay much, Prof. Spivey. DJT had a simple emotional appeal: "We're losing. Why? We should be winning. Make America great again." Essentially no public intellectuals liked him or voted for him, but he went and listened to and had rallies with people who have felt dispossessed in the last few decades -- and for good reason, because it's evident to me that the neoliberal project is a bipartisan project. (Except for community college, how much of the average college student's tuition is covered by government contributions?) That his policies will exacerbate the problems was less germane than the fact that frustrated people were being recognized. Indeed I just saw a headline that life expectancy is dropping in the US. Something is wrong when honest people can't make a decent living sans connections and years of education. The election had two reviled candidates and many people decided to vote for the wild card who might "shake things up," as one gentleman told me a couple weeks before election day, even though the Democrat in the race proved DJT's unfitness. That people voted for someone who appears to be a narcissist-sociopath instead of the status quo (i.e. a third Obama term) speaks volumes.
An analogy may provide insight here. The French Revolution occurred not only because the clergy and the aristocrats paid little or no taxes and the bourgeoisie were heavily taxed, but also because ambitious men sans connections were systematically blocked from careers in the church or government. In a country with over 20 million people, only a few thousand were eligible to enter these careers. To me, that sounds much like the complaints everyday people have about "the elites" in government, media, even academia. (In academia, who among us has not complained about the academic administrators lining their pockets while we teachers get fleeced and our profession casualized?) Yet, those people get to vote. We have a system where we have a potential bloodless coup d'état every two or four years. Prof. Spivey didn't put it this way, but his essay makes me reflect that we get the government we want and the government we deserve.