DONALD TRUMP, an outspoken real-estate magnate, has become the frontrunner among US Republican voters. He has bested well-established Republican names, like former Florida governor and presidential brother Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
On the other hand, Hillary Clinton’s commanding lead among Democratic Party candidates is being eroded in part by rising interest in longtime Vermont senator and maverick Bernie Sanders, the longest-serving independent in US congressional history.
A Wall Street Journal analyst says that antiestablishment candidates like Trump and Sanders are gaining traction because of an unhappy and unsettled electorate. Surveys indicate that American voters are discontented with the direction of the Obama administration, in particular, and in public institutions, in general.
This reflects the simmering trust crisis among politicians, political parties and their constituents. A June 2015 Gallup poll showed that only 8 percent of Americans had confidence in their Congress-the second-lowest poll survey registered for any institution since it started measuring confidence ratings in 1973.
The European Union (EU) is experiencing similar alienation and lack of trust in mainstream politicians and traditional parties.
Since the decade of the 1980s, Spanish politics has generally been a two-party contest between the conservative Partido Popular and the left-wing opposition Partido Socialista Obrero EspaAol. In the run-up to the November 2015 general elections, however, the populist anti-austerity Podemos We can Party is emerging as a strong third-party contender. Podemos was founded in January 2014, but by November of the same year, it already bested both mainstream parties in surveys.
The populist left-wing Syriza Party (Coalition of the Radical Left) of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is a similar story. Greece went into a debt crisis, forcing the EU and the international financial lenders to prescribe austerity measures so severe that thousands of jobs, pensions and social services were cut. The Syriza Party won on the back of an anti-austerity platform.
A wave of antiestablishment of populist political parties and politicians are chipping away at the dominance of more established mainstream centrist or conservative counterparts. Voters all over the world have been reveling against the ways of the old guards-riddled with double-speak and political charades.
We may be seeing the same trend happening here in the Philippines.