Heather du Plessis-Allan is a columnist for the Herald on Sunday

Heather du Plessis-Allan: We created Donald Trump

A few months ago I met a man from Brussels who works for the European Union. He wore a sharp suit and tie, and rarely anything less formal.

Queuing in a Washington DC food joint, he told me Donald Trump's supporters were too stupid to understand the danger they were voting for. Therefore, the man from Brussels said, they were too stupid to vote. In fact, he thought, voting was best left to people with an education, who understood political philosophy and the history of the institutions.

That man couldn't have seen Trump's win coming. Nor could politicians and media around the world, because we didn't want Trump to win. If the Don won, he would do it by breaking all our rules.

If the Don won, he would do it by breaking all our rules.

We wrote off Trump's supporters as racist, white men, but they're not.

His victory is not about racism - 29 per cent of Latinos voted him in and 29 per cent of Asians voted him in.

It's not about putting women in their place - 45 per cent of women voted for him.

It's not stupid people voting for him - 45 per cent of college graduates gave him their vote.

This was a protest vote. Winston Peters calls it a revolution.

In light of Brexit and the rise of the ridiculously named Pirate Party in Iceland, it's starting to look a bit like a sort of revolution, albeit one executed with the ballot box instead of guns.

We were once were ruled by kings, tzars, emperors, feudal lords and communist cliques. We got rid of them because they told us what to do, failed to care for us adequately and kept the likes of us out of their exclusive clubs.

We replaced them with democracy. But, over time, democracy has created its own kind of rulers: the political class.

The politicians turned professional and learned how to answer our questions without telling us the truth. They started using taxpayer money to bail out reckless bankers and businessmen.

But - however frustrating you might find that - the politicians could get away with it, because they played by the rules.

So, American voters elected a man who broke all the political rules, with his runaway mouth and his gaudiness and his lack of political experience.

They wanted a reality TV star. They wanted a President who hasn't served in the US military or previously held political office. They wanted anything but a politician.

And these voters were also fed up with the rest of us: the political hangers-on. If the politicians are the new kings, then the media, lobbyists, pollsters and business heads are the members of the king's court.

If this is a revolution - although that word still feels too strong - it's as much a social revolt as an economic one.

Sure, this is a push back against globalisation, which makes some people very wealthy, and some people very poor.

Yet, it's also a push back against political correctness. For years we've ignored the talkback callers who, one after another, complained of PC gone mad. We've written them off as rednecks who will eventually catch up with 2016. We told ourselves they'll eventually get used to the rules of correctness we've imposed on them.

Sam Ben-Meir calls political correctness "a miserable failure". He says Trump has proved that PC hasn't wiped out hatred and racism, it has only quietened it down. And by mocking the "inherent fakeness" of PC, "Trump has managed to create the perception that he is somehow honest and authentic".

The man from Brussels mightn't have seen Donald Trump coming, but he and his kind - my kind - are to blame for Donald Trump.

- Herald on Sunday

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW
Heather du Plessis-Allan is a columnist for the Herald on Sunday

Heather du Plessis-Allan is a thirty-something living between Auckland and Wellington. She has more than a decade's experience hosting and reporting on TV and radio. Heather's worked in Parliament's Press Gallery, covered the 2012 London Olympic Games, and reported from as far afield as Antarctica.

Read more by Heather du Plessis-Allan

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 26 May 2017 15:31:02 Processing Time: 707ms