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11 November 2016updated 09 Sep 2021 1:09pm

Donald Trump promised a different type of capitalism. Can he deliver?

Small media, red hats, and capitalism with a small “C”: how the president-elect’s folksy rhetoric could become reality.

By Pippa Malmgren

America has taken a turn to the right. The White House, the Congress, the Senate and the majority of the Governorships are all Republican now. The last time this happened was under Ronald Reagan, but this is different.

The old version of capitalism, whether under the Republicans or Democrats, is out. There is no more appetite for the Capitalism with a capital “C” – the corporatist, cronyist approach that begat big money, big names and big firms. Trump’s mandate is the capitalism that gives everyone and every small business a shot.

Capitalism with a small “c” means smaller government, fewer rules and less red tape. It supports small business rather than big business, which helps explain why even some black and Hispanic people, and white women, supported Trump. They know the government won’t be able to look after them, given the huge debt problem. They want the freedom to build their own future. That means moving big government out of the way. Trump is the bulldozer that promises to clear onerous rules, ossified policy and the orthodoxy.

Why did they reject the Democrats? They saw incremental change was not working and that the old parties were incapable of delivering. In Trump, they get a loudmouth who speaks blue collar better than any politician in Washington. They see him as a friend to them because he attacks the Republican and Democratic establishment alike.

They see it working. He’s already profoundly disrupted the traditional business model in politics, proving that things can change. He spent nearly nothing on pollsters, which was wise because they were worse than useless, as Hillary Clinton discovered to her cost.

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Instead, he spent money on cheap red hats. He understands that brands convey meaning and hope. Trump’s votes did not require big money. His votes cost less than $5 each. As a result, he suggested that American politicians no longer need to sell their soul to raise money. Trump is a dangerous man because the lobbyists and big money know that he succeeded without them. Inside the Beltway, they’re sweating about their future.

The big mainstream media business model has been blown apart as well. This election proves that the future of politics is no longer mainstream. It’s digital. It’s local. It’s driven by single private organisations like Twitter and Wikileaks.

The New York Times and the Washington Post can declare a candidate unfit for office but the public doesn’t care. Or, worse, such declarations against a candidate merely enhance their anti-establishment credentials. Mainstream media missed the shift. They backed the wrong team and then they wept about it and in so doing, revealed their bias.

Voters trusted Twitter more than the Post and Wikileaks more than the New York Times. Big media was thrown out of power along with the rest of the establishment. Small media is here to stay.

What about healing the divided nation? Well, the Republicans are not Trump. He will attack them as hard as he attacks the Democrats and the rest of the establishment. Trump will almost certainly go after the Clintons. That may look like vengeance. But it also may force the Democrats to remove the stain of corruption allegations and turn toward capitalism with a small “c” too.

The public voted for this President to have fairly unrestrained power, whether wittingly or not. His intention is to use it. Trump intends to downsize the establishment and attack its corruption until capitalism with a small “c” has enough oxygen and sunlight to thrive again. The country demanded a complete change of direction and that’s what they expect to get – a turn to the right and a “C” change the like of which is long overdue.

Pippa Malmgren is an American policy analyst and former presidential adviser.

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