Obviously, the belief that “the system is rigged” not only resonated strongly in this election cycle, but was extremely powerful.
It was brilliantly powerful in getting people to vote against their interests.
But the thing we have to do to lay the ground work for a better political alignment is to understand what people actually think they mean by the phrase. More importantly, we have to find the way to communicate the truth about how it is “rigged” in a way that is true, that appeals to a wide a variety of current perceptions, and that will build support for true “un-rigging.”
Here is a list of some of the things that people think when they respond to the phrase.
“I no longer get the help I used to.”
“Government is helping people who are not like me, and not helping me and people like me.” (Five Star Euphemism Alert)
“Government is helping banks and companies to take away from me.”
“I pay more than my share of tax and get nothing for it.”
“Nobody listens to me and my friends.”
“Government helps bad people.” (Four Star Euphemism Alert, but could refer to corporate malefactors.)
“People in government are just out for themselves.”
“Nobody helps the people who need help.”
“The system is run by people very different from me who want to impose their values on me and make me do things I do not believe in.” (Three Star Euphemism Alert.)
“Money gets you everything.”
I am sure I am missing lots of important ones — please add in the comments.
After identifying the generalizations that appeal, then we need to look for the indicia that people use — what do they see that convinces them of these generalizations.
Once we understand what is going on, then the “Trump Monitoring” can be focused on what will disabuse people of their allusions and help them develop better understanding. In other words, first we find the facts that counter not so much the generalizations(those get explained away), but the facts that counter the believed facts that support the generalizations. That is harder to ignore.
Of course, some of the generalizations are true. The lessons from those are far harder, because we have to develop policies and examples that make them untrue. That’s going to be the real challenge for the coalition.