The Powers That Be are few. and they derive power from the Many. They cannot maintain power by force alone -- because they need to recruit soldiers and police from the Many. They do not teach the people what to believe -- so much as the people teach them -- and they work to maintain a certain homogeneity. The Mongols took China, killed a lot people and then settled in to become ...Chinese.
All mass cultures since the invention of agriculture are hierarchical, aggregates of groups or communities, one stacked above the other. Such cultures may be regarded as a social technology -- tools -- and as with all tools the basic operating principles are generally understood. In the case of large scale societies, that means division of labor, regimentation, property, and a power structure. These basic memes are implicit, memetic and accepted by public mind -- so long as the whole machine works.
External events like great catastrophes -- famines, floods, wars, epidemics -- or from the influence of new technologies -- can upset the functioning of the social machine, allowing some groups to move up -- or bringing others down or destroying the whole culture -- which is why no empire ever lasts longer than a few hundred years.
Empires are just too large. In culture, size equals complexity. And complexity means inefficiency.
Today we talk a lot about "inequaliy", which is something that public has always accepted to a degree. What human groups do not accept is unfairness and the suffering imposed on others by hoarding.
We don't care about the Koch's billions. We do care about not getting education, healthcare, childcare, good food, infrastructure -- the basics because someone has sucked by all the wealth.
Yet, we also fear change.
In my business, we sell our clients -- big companies and governments-- the illusion that they can control the public mind and get people to do whatever they want. So we pimp and pander -- the Client is always right even when they are very, very wrong.
Edward Bernays did not sell tobacco to women. He did not persuade them to smoke. He just got big companies to buy a lot of advertising, which made him rich. Women were going to smoke anyway. In fact, they had started with the end of WWI, which had disrupted social mores by having women work while the men died in a useless war.
What this means today is that Donald Trump is not responsible for the debasement of American society and politics -- the American people are. Trump is a very unoriginal expression of our belief system - at least some of it. If you voted for Trump you supported that belief system. If you voted for Hillary you voiced your support for the same system. In either case, you voted for American imperialism and predatory capitalism and inequality. Lesser evil? Fifty shades of grey. It's still abuse. But as with BDSM, people do it because they like it.
Don't blame the Donald for your sins.
You could have -- if you had wanted -- just voted for Jill Stein