By Beatrice E. Rangel
Newspaper reading and newscast watching have truly become annoying and boring.
Almost all outlets predict the imminent demise of President Trump from the White House while supporting their views on the impeachment process that sent President Richard Nixon to San Clement for the rest of his life. And we watch a parade of people we thought dead or definitely retired forecasting the day and time President Trump will cease to enjoy the Republican support that brought him to the White House.
Needless to attempt to point out that this is the 21st century when information outlets have diversified to the point that makes the established media opinion building role impossible. To be sure -- lest they concentrate on the surviving “couch potatoes” of the Baby Boomer generation that still watch TV, read newspapers and listen to the radio at fixed times of the day -- the internet wins the opinion shaping battle.
But to these individuals, social media are the space to exchange pictures of themselves, their children and grandchildren and their vacation anecdotes. This segment nowadays is a minority, henceforth does not represent the opinion of most Americans let alone be good material for political forecast.
Second, is the fact that millennials have taken over as the new majority. Given that they don’t see today’s government as the best venue for performing their civic duty, they tend to dismiss all politicians. The need to sack President Trump for yet another unprincipled Baby Boomer” is not worth the effort.
Finally, there is the Red Circle.
The Red Circle is a concept concocted by Mexican pollsters to lump into a population segment the country’s “Talking Heads” and other elite members.
It is a segment that, depending on how well or not wealth is distributed in a society, can be as large as 20% and as small as 5%.
These are individuals that represent the commanding heights of their societies. They attend the same schools and universities; they linger in the same clubs; they enjoy similar vacation destinations and buy similar products and accessories. They live in a world of modernity and innovation.
The Red Circle is in a sense an elaboration of Plato’s Theory of Forms. Plato's idea was that there is another world, a world of ideas, separate from the imperfect physical world we know through our sense organs.
And that perfect world has nothing to do with day-to-day reality. That reality is lived by the remaining 80% of the population that deals with other forms of life.
Measuring the opinion and political preferences of this population segment is quite difficult today because they lack land lines, they don’t read the leading newspapers and they only watch reality shows.
The rest of their lives is taken by work and social media where they pick their political ideas from the exchange of comments to varied posts. This outsiders to the Red Circle are determinant to the success of products, ideas or causes. Yet they are underrepresented in most polls. This explains the shock experienced by most analysts with results from the Brexit referendum and the U.S. and French elections.
The next shock is about to take place South of the Rio Grande where, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the leader of Morena, is making extraordinary inroads into the 80% of the population outside the Red Circle.
Just like a stalagmite that slowly but surely creates a palace from water concentration, Mr. Lopez Obrador is taking over Mexican political preferences.
He has connected with a population that has just left poverty and is finding life to be too challenging in terms of security; income growth and quality of public goods. They also are appalled at rampant corruption prevailing among political leaders that up until ten years ago was effectively hushed.
Their perception that on top of being corrupt, their leaders are also ineffectual in defending Mexico’s interests vis-à-vis the U.S. whose leader is building a wall and taking away jobs is leading them to seek a savior. And Mr. Lopez Obrador seems to be casting himself in that role. This is exactly what President Trump did for two years to win the presidency. Stay tuned for 8 interesting years in U.S.-Mexico exchanges!!Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.
For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.
You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.
Also by Beatrice Rangel in her Latin America from 35,000 Feet seriesBeatrice Rangel: Rio -- Demystifying the Olympic Games
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