Tonight, I will present narrative of some of the factors that led to the very bad election of 2016.  It is based on some of the facts, and socio-economic sciences.  If we are going to address the problems, we must take an honest look at the causes. I want to begin with looking at another situation: the uprising in Syria. To help us understand…

Understanding economic pressures and political dissatisfaction: Syria

Does anyone know what led to the uprising in Syria?

A drought that lasted several years prior to the uprising.

  1. ground water used for farming was depleted, hurting the economy
  2. In 2009, the government cut certain subsidies to farmers
  3. Syria began importing a lot of goods from Turkey, which hurt local small businesses and workers.  It also led to the growth of the wealthy elite, and there are accusations of crony-capitalism.
  4. the appeals for government to provide relief were ignored
  5. when the people protested, they were met with military suppression
  6. very quickly, the peaceful protests were co-opted by militants
  7. the US saw an opportunity for regime-change, and jumped into the conflict
  8. So, beginning with some hardships that were more easily addressed, bad policies exacerbated the problems, resulting in a total disaster for the country and its people.

Muslims cannot avoid policy: our daily lives are shaped by policy.  Now, bad policy is coming after us…again.

Make America WHAT Again? The Causes and Dangers of a Trump Presidency


Opening: a Quote from Prof Richard Rorty who wrote this in 1998, at the HEIGHT of the economic BOOM



Nate Cohn: massive rural shift, 1996-2016

How Did We Get Trump?

  1. “Forgotten People” is a recurring theme in Western politics
  2. History is repeating itself, because capitalism is a machine that replicates its own disasters
  3. 40 years of neoliberalism in a nutshell
    1. Beginning in the 1970’s, an economic ideology called neoliberalism was initiated. It was developed through organizations such as Heritage Foundation and ALEC.  Its plan was to unleash the captains of industry through deregulation and privatization. In the last 40 years, it has co-opted the EPA, FDA, financial regulators, the media, and the education system. They broke the trade unions, decimated the living wage, and shifted record profits to themselves creating record-setting inequality.  Due to failure in education and media, we are now a society that has lost its memory and its political IQ.
    2. The US has tremendous wealth, currently totaling $90 Trillion. But the top 10% own almost 90% of that. This was a heist. Americans are spending their lives working longer hours for less money, while our institutions are being left to crumble.  This is no accident: it is deliberate policy. To reverse our horrible condition, we must reverse the horrible policies.
  4. the normalization of social catastrophes being reported in one day, and forgotten by the time of the reports of the next day.
  5. when pain finally reaches forgotten Whites
    1. the real human concerns that we all have in common are what Whites voted for in 2008, and supported Bernie Sanders for in 2016. White America turned-out in support for the Occupy Movement in 2011. The pains of poverty and systemic hopelessness had finally reached White America, after being endured for centuries by ethnic minorities.
    2. these legitimate concerns seeking system change are co-opted by the Angry White Activist – the Tea Party, White Supremacists, and those whose agenda are predominately anti-Immigrant or anti-Muslim. They feed on sense that the world is attacking them.
  6. Bernie Sanders offered the solution: the establishment was deaf and defensive
  7. enter the awaited Strongman
    1. Eventually, the moment would come when both the economic and the political systems were threatened by complete paralysis. Fear would grip the people, and leadership would be thrust upon those who offered an easy way out at whatever ultimate price. The time was ripe for the fascist solution. The fascist solution of the impasse reached by liberal capitalism can be described as a reform of market economy achieved at the price of the extirpation of all democratic institutions, both in the industrial and in the political realm. Fascism was rooted in a market society that refused to function. ”  – Karl Polanyi
    2. Noam Chomsky

      – Noam Chomsky

  8. Cornel West: ” This lethal fusion of economic insecurity and cultural scapegoating brought neoliberalism to its knees. In short, the abysmal failure of the Democratic party to speak to the arrested mobility and escalating poverty of working people unleashed a hate-filled populism and protectionism that threaten to tear apart the fragile fiber of what is left of US democracy. And since the most explosive fault lines in present-day America are first and foremost racial, then gender, homophobic, ethnic and religious, we gird ourselves for a frightening future.
  9. What we can expect from Trump
    1. Trump inherits horrible power already used by Bush and Obama: drone strikes, prosecuting whistleblowers, massive surveillance, 2.5 million deportations of undocumented people.
    2. Trump is self-serving, narcissistic, and a compulsive liar.
    3. His mode is authoritarian which is a precursor of fascism
    4. His office appointments range from extreme-right politicians like Pence and Gingrich, to warmongering neocons and anti-Islam fanatics like Michael Flynn.  His appointment of Steve Bannon to Chief Counsel is particularly disturbing.
    5. At the least, he will be the most extreme right-wing President the US has ever known.  At the worst, a new Hitler with 1,000 times more power than Hitler ever had.
    6. Climate Change in the time of Trump

Universal Challenges

  1. THIS is International: Europe, S. America, Muslim Lands
  2. Economic Failure and Re-asserting Human Need
    1. Unlivable wages
    2. The LOUSY gig economy
    3. Machines replacing humans
    4. The NEXT economic collapse
  3. Climate/Environmental Destruction and Restoring the Future of Life
  4. Independence from corporate media, offering People’s Education
    1. the American Right wing thrives on ignorance.  Ignorance must be countered by education and reliable information.
    2. 95% of our news is produced by an establishment. It is either propaganda, fake news, diversionary, or uncritical garbage. It is a dangerous tool that normalizes disasters and impropriety. It is essential to be connected to real news sources. Our Prophet made dua’a: “Oh, Allah. Show us Truth as Truth and empower us to follow it. And show us falsehood as falsehood and provide us with deliverance from it.”
  5. Re-connecting our disconnected people
    1. Having real conversations and agreeing on common concerns and preserving democracy and our sense of humanity
    2. Refusing to succumb to cruelty
    3. Not being indifferent, but being actively involved. Indifference and sitting-by watching corporate and nefarious powers run the system for 40 years is what got us into this situation. If the People want our broken society to make a recovery and not collapse into tyranny, we must be active participants in rectifying our institutions.
  6. Working to build the future we want for our children
    1. We must understand that the policies and conditions of the last 40 year have led to the current crisis, which will get worse if policies are not changed.  However, policy change can only be enforced by the citizens.

What is Islam Forward

  1. Islam teaches human beings how to form and manage a good civilization. So, we must learn those aspects of Islam with teach us how to engage in public policy and public institutions.
  2. Understanding our current public institutions, so we can preserve them or reform them
  3. Understanding the common thread: economics
  4. Providing relevant news
  5. People’s education
  6. Working with other programs and organizations
  7. Policy Studies for higher-level political engagement
  9. *** ask anyone interested to send me an email ***
  10. [[[ most questions need to be answered by: “I can’t answer in 5 minutes. Understanding the foundations of policy is a long educational process.  That’s what Islam Forward is for.” ]]]



The Economic, Political, and Cultural Blind Spots That Created Trump-as-President


The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang – Cornel West

Trump’s new anti-Muslim chief strategist in 14 Breitbart headlines

How Trump won the vote of Mich.’s white working class

Trump Was Stronger Where The Economy Is Weaker

The Democratic Party’s abandonment of the working class cleared the space for Trump.