This started as an answer to bardcat
but sort of outgrew its original context.
Seen from the other side of the Atlantic this is the most miserable American Presidential election I have seen in the 50 or more years I have watched them. I wish I could believe that either side has the deep integrity needed of a leader of the country with the world’s largest armed forces at its command. I do not.
What I think I see in Trump is a revolt of the masses against what a British political commentator recently called ‘the past forty years of liberal dictatorship’. We have got ourselves into a position, on both sides of the Atlantic where we are supposed to take positions on particular social-moral issues (indeed in some cases we can find ourselves in court if we express our disagreement too loudly) which deep-down we don’t feel comfortable with.
No, we are not Ku-Klux-Klan, but yes, we do believe that the ‘white’ contribution to civilization is considerably greater than the ‘black’ or ‘Muslim’ one, and we do not want to ‘de-civilize’ our societies to accommodate blacks or Muslims, especially when they are relative newcomers. No, we are not die-hard pro-lifers, but we do feel that abortion on demand is too much (and proper use of 80cent condoms is cheaper!). No, we are not anti-gay, but neither do we want our kids taught that gayness is perfectly normal. We find it fair that permanent same-sex relationships not be discriminated tax and succession-wise, but we do not want a gay relationship equated with heterosexual marriage, nor the age of consent for gay relationships reduced from 18 to 16 in line with heterosexual relationships. No, we don’t want to condemn intelligent women to 40 years of domesticity or second-tier jobs, but nor are we sure that many women are cut out to be senior executives and ask whether having too many of them in such positions (including President) does not upset a fundamental balance and co-dependence of the sexes that we believe to be vital to society. Trump has realized that a helluva a lot of people feel uncomfortable in this area, and is playing on this.
You will note the verbs I use: ‘believe that’, ‘feel that’, ‘do not want’, ‘not sure’. These are verbs which take us out largely outside the ‘rational’ sphere. And yes, it is the sphere is which religion largely operates. The ‘liberal dictatorship’ has tried to make us believe in ‘rationality’ as the only yardstick for key human moral choices, and use this to try to force its social agendas on us, and largely hates religion – except perhaps for a certain liberal Protestantism - for questioning its right to do so.
Incidentally, this revolt against the 'liberal dictatorship' is probably what, deep down, Brexit was all about, the 'liberal dictatorship' being in this case 'Brussels'.