The Atlantic Coast of South America is experiencing a strong erosion: every storm is reducing the beaches and last week 21 houses fall into the sea in a quiet Uruguayan beach. Why? Because the slow increase in sea level, by the centimetre, comes into effect on storm days. And the effect has been impressive over the last decade. Every storm claims more dunes.
The same is happening with the social networks and informal information sources of the new era: one day you hear a soccer player died while he is perfectly well, tons of conspiration theories, news on your neighbour, fan club, etc. pollute our environment and make us always less capable of knowing what is true, verified or not. In most cases, the buzz on social media seems harmless. Until a storm comes.
I would compare the US elections to one of these storms: choosing the most powerful person on the planet has always created strong winds. The 2016 election is the first one in more than one aspect. First, the very fact that a Donald Trump can be candidate, like Pepe Grillo was in Italy for instance: Being famous is enough to get you a ticket to run for president. Throwing affirmations at the public is enough to make a part of it believe in them. Conveniently organizing Wikileaks, for the profit of whom, is enough to throw a campaign into disarray. Airing a soundtrack of a candidate’s abusive language. You name it, all this garbage is thrown into the public and the public - me included – has no clue what to start with that, and becomes so disgusted that in the end of the day we end up thinking that all politicians are the same corrupt lot.
Popular intuition that things are not working is correct: the formerly highly successful American integration model does not work anymore, people are losing their jobs and politicians cannot do anything about it, the rich get richer and the middle class is losing ground.