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George Friedman: Trump Reflects a Global Shift in Politics

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Published on Feb 3, 2016

Subscribe to Friedman’s free publication “This Week in Geopolitics” (http://www.mauldineconomics.com/subsc...) and get an in-depth view of the forces that will drive events and investors in the next year, decade, or even a century from now.
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Are you confused as to why Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders—who are true opposites—lead the polls?

Geopolitics expert George Friedman has the answer. He believes politics has reached a point where empty promises and memorized talking points no longer work.

“The idea of always pivoting to your talking points regardless of the question has run its course,” said Friedman in a Mauldin Economics interview.

Trump’s rise is akin to the populist movements of Europe. Appalled by economic weakness and immigration pressure, voters are willing to toss out the incumbents and let billionaires and socialists try their hand.

The calibrated, rehearsed, and polished presentations of both Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are not resonating with voters seeking authenticity.

In contrast, voters think Trump and Sanders will say what they honestly believe and not care about the consequences. Friedman says neither candidate has a deep hunger to be president. This gives them great rhetorical freedom.

“Trump may sound absurd to some, and Sanders’ ideas may seem extreme, but no one doubts they believe what they say.”

The views of all candidates matter little, according to Friedman. Presidents rarely see their desired policies implemented. Congress and the Supreme Court present institutional obstacles, exactly as the Framers intended.

Modern day presidents are defined more by circumstances than policy. George W. Bush in 2000 had no idea the 9/11 attacks would define his term in office. Whoever wins in 2016 will likewise have to deal with unforeseen and uncontrollable events.

Friedman believes today’s voters value character over policy specifics. They want a president whom they can trust to make the right decisions, whatever the future holds.

Bill Clinton openly admitted to what Friedman calls “political triangulation”—finding out what voters want, and then speaking it back to them.

The age of triangulation may be over.

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