So. Trump. Any lesson?

RNZ’s Phil Smith has been a useful analyst on the US elections, but he seems a bit surly now.

Lessons

  • Even in a modern liberal democracy, you can gain power with a message of hate, fear and resentment. Having harnessing those emotions, you can tell almost any lie, promise almost any outcome and act, all with seeming impunity.
  • In a quickly changing society, where the advance of human rights and equality has left some bewilderedly wondering where the 1950s went, misogyny, racism and bigotry can work in your favour.
  • Political polling is officially broken. In a world with few landlines and even fewer people that will answer questions on them, getting a fix on opinion in a scientific way is now beyond us. “Bugger the polls,” as Jim Bolger famously declared.
  • More money, more staff, more adverts, and an overwhelming ground war does not assure victory. Also, fighting negativity with negativity gives little for voters to latch on to.

Phil also missed that the Media are getting filtered out.  The Media are.  Pushing.  S0. Hard.   And the public know it and refuse to drink the Koolaid.  

Who wins?

  • Donald Trump does. If his tax plan becomes law, so do other billionaires.
  • The Republican Party, who ironically benefit from a working class rage against politicians that has been significantly amplified by their own refusal to compromise with a Democratic president.
  • The moral conservatives of the religious right will be excited at the prospect of stamping out gay marriage and abortion, for starters; if Mr Trump sticks to his stated intentions regarding the Supreme Court.
  • China will be excited at Mr Trump’s apparent lack of interest in its sphere of influence, and will look for opportunities where it once would have felt push-back from the US. They will certainly plan to move to expand their territory in the South China Sea. Beijing has been developing a more significant navy and may see this as its chance to become a real super-power.
  • Russia. The Duma reportedly applauded the result. Vladimir Putin will be tentatively making plans for the return of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine, Georgia and the rest of greater mother Russia back ‘into the fold’. That’s much more possible with an isolationist US president.

The winners are also the half of America that actually voted for this result.  Cries that democracy is broken and that this is somehow a result nobody wanted are not genuine.  No matter who won yesterday, half of America would have felt disenfranchised.   But the other half are winners.

Who loses?

  • World stock markets in the initial shock of the unexpected. But that should be temporary.
  • The aforementioned Former Soviet Socialist Republics must be feeling genuinely nervous.
  • Civil society. Whether Mr Trump actually acts as president in a way that matches the swagger of his ‘lock her up’ denial of legal and societal norms doesn’t matter. He has presented a role model for behaviour that can only be detrimental. Which parent can now say to their child ‘don’t be sexist, bigoted or racist because it leads to unhappiness and unpopularity’. It apparently can also lead to fame, glory and power.
  • The ‘coalition of the ascendant’ who helped elect Barack Obama and who, in daring to dally with equality, have helped make the white working class feel so threatened. Women, immigrants, Muslims, Jews, the LGBTQ community, Hispanics, African Americans, the disabled … basically, the majority of the population that is ‘the other’. They are now proven successful political targets, and will feel every inch of their ‘otherness’.

“The others”, the non-white, the weird, the wonderful, perhaps, have had their run.  The tolerance of the downtrodden white vote has reached its limits.  To suggest that this means a return to an oppressive 1950s style world is just scare mongering brought on by temporary uncertainty.

Yes, perhaps we tell post-op transgender bi-sexual “theys” to pick a toilet and stick to it. Perhaps we stop building new safe spaces.  And perhaps kids will be allowed to break an arm falling out of a tree again.  But that doesn’t mean the disabled will be rounded up for medical experiments and Muslims lined up and shot against the White House wall.

 

– RNZ

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