This has been a very strange presidential election. However, it is not difficult to understand when viewed from the perspective of the financial aristocracy. Their priority is to retain, consolidate, expand and safeguard their power.
They must guard against potential outside threats. The first line of defense is media control, giving their message full throated distribution. Any who challenge that message or who present alternatives, get scant, or negative, coverage.
The second line of defense is control of the playing field. The elite have built the political arena and control it's workings. They can decide the combatants"the two fully co-opted major parties and their carefully chosen candidates. These are candidates who have been vetted through the process of media popularity and who have accomplished the task of appropriate fund-raising from big donors.
The economic elite have made it clear, and it has been accepted as conventional wisdom, that theirs is the only game in town and that it will be held in their lavishly appointed arena. No one else need apply.
Within those confines they can allow any candidate that seems to appease the masses as long as that candidate accepts the rule of the economic elite. So we can have rich presidents and poor presidents, we can have black presidents and women presidents, even Jewish or Muslim or homosexual presidents, if that appeases the masses and if those candidates have been co-opted.
But then, something unexpected occurred. One of the less important representatives of the masses began to speak up. He addressed problems with the rule of the economic elite that everyone knew and experienced in their everyday lives. He said that the people can do better by replacing the rule of an economic aristocracy with more representative governance, attending to the voices of the real people of the empire, to solve the problems in a more fair and just way, i.e., Democracy.
The economic aristocracy were sure that he would never get the requisite support to make it into their arena, i.e., media coverage and fund-raising. They would simply withhold funding and media coverage and that would be the end of it.
However, this upstart ignored their rules and appealed directly to the citizens of the nation. People listened to his message and agreed with him. Word of mouth spread his message and his appeal and soon he had massive crowds listening to him.
Not only that, but he had turned his back on the need for big money supporters and had raised massive amounts from small donors. He had simply ignored their Maginot Line and gone around it to attack the heart of the problem.
He was at the front gate, the public gate, through which ordinary citizens came to bring their problems to the empire"in hopes of solutions.
The elite saw this as a direct threat to continued dominance, and a threat that was unforeseen. They scrambled to deal with it. First they denied media coverage, but the rallies got too big to ignore. Then they gathered their intellectual elites to discredit him. It did not work.
Finally they attacked it at the root. The party which traditionally had been the representative of the common people and within which he operated, was given an ultimatum"they could manipulate their rules to take him out of the running, leaving only the vetted and co-opted candidate who was to run in the first place or they could lose their place at the banquet table of the economic aristocracy.
The party chose to manipulate the upstart out of contention. The economic elite would continue to fund their party and the economic aristocracy would retain control of the nation.
Now the economic aristocracy are left with only an in-family contest as they had agreed upon.
However, as within the Roman Empire, there are occasional challenges from one of their own who wants to become the ruler of the nation and of the aristocracy. In other words, someone who wants to rethink how to use the enormous power of that ruling elite to more directly accomplish a new set of ends. In effect, he wants to take the gloves off the power, being more direct and less subtle.