Wednesday, 9 November 2016

The Post Election MAGAPOST

Well it looks like that glass ceiling will remain intact for awhile at least. Donald Trump is going to be the next President of the USA. I'm not happy, but honestly I wouldn't be happy if Hillary Clinton had it in the bag.

I'd like to say I'm not surprised and pretend to cleverer than thousands of career politicians but there were a few times like Donald Trump's insulting of the grieving family of a dead serviceman or his "grab em by the pussy" line and his generally very sketchy behaviour regarding women and the allegations of sexual harassment would tank him. The religious right is a big part of the modern Republican party and I couldn't see them supporting such an open womaniser. These are the same folks who made married couples on TV shows sleep in separate beds, for fear that such racy imagery as a couple tucked up in a kingsize duvet  would plunge the nation into Godless hedonism, and then finally Communism. And to be fair a few of them didn't support him.

In the months since Jerry Falwell Jr. endorsed him, Donald Trump has been inexorably associated with Liberty University. We are Liberty students who are disappointed with President Falwell’s endorsement and are tired of being associated with one of the worst presidential candidates in American history. Donald Trump does not represent our values and we want nothing to do with him.A majority of Liberty students, faculty, and staff feel as we do. Donald Trump received a pitiful 90 votes from Liberty students in Virginia’s primary election, a colossal rejection of his campaign. Nevertheless, President Falwell eagerly uses his national platform to advocate for Donald Trump. While he occasionally clarifies that supporting Trump is not the official position of Liberty University, he knows it is his title of president of the largest Christian university in the world that gives him political credentials. Associating any politician with Christianity is damaging to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But Donald Trump is not just any politician. He has made his name by maligning others and bragging about his sins. Not only is Donald Trump a bad candidate for president, he is actively promoting the very things that we as Christians ought to oppose
But by and large that vote block seems to have remained strong. I guess the lesson here is that moral guardian movements are more interested in power than purity.

But even in the moments where I thought for certain Trump was a chump I never got the bizarre sense of self assurance of the Democrats. I saw polls and talking heads saying there would be landslide, and that Hillary would take Florida and crack the deep south by taking a few states and coming close to the others, and the Senate and House were up for grabs. Yesterday (in the UK time zone) the radio news headline program was repeating every hour a brief chat with a Clinton campaign aide saying she was going to win, the only question was by how much, either she'd have a landslide or it'd come down to one state and one county. Those were the only possible results he predicted.

If I were a gambler I would of put money on the Democrats remaining in the White House but by a pretty slim margin. So never take betting tips from me is what I'm trying to say here I guess. But at least I wasn't off the mark by a country mile.

Given how toxic Donald Trump is and how quick he was to alienate, and then insult and anger large demographics of the US population we can forgive the Democrats for a little optimism. But spending a few minutes on American left of centre websites and forums and you'd think they had nominated some sort of clone hybrid of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, when in reality it was the worst candidate they could've picked  There candidate has been a target for hate and fear since 1992 at the latest. 24 years of constant negative associations is quite a handicap even if your a saint, and no one with a snowballs chance in hell of becoming President of the United States is spotless. And while much of the allegations and smears trumpeted by the `lock her up` crowd were grossly exaggerated if not completely made up, Hillary Clinton was more than a bit mucky.

Her allies in the Democratic party hierarchy like disgraced former DNC Chairwoman Schultz were undermining her Primary opponent Bernie Sanders and had cultivated extensive covert links with members of the American media and given favours to wealthy donors.  Its a bit hard to write off accusations of vote rigging, media bias and corruption -your opponents main points of attack-  when people close to you have been caught out doing just that. And in a way that was to your benefits you to boot.

I can also only assume that many American democrats lived in bubbles, because they completely misread the mood of the country. This is a period where belief in the American system and its institutions is at an all time low,

that is why Donald Trump did so well against the Republican also rans and ultimately why he won today. He ran as an outsider on a populist anti-establishment platform and against this the Democratic party in its wisdom put up the person most closely linked to the political establishment, and ran largely on that connection. Thus reinforcing the arguments levelled against her. Indeed she had a lot of trouble beating Bernie Sanders to the nomination, her own establishment credentials and record alienated a very large segment of her own party. The internal opposition was so large that I remember some Democrats were worried that the nomination fight would jeopardise the election campaign.

Multiple Democrats talked at length at how Trump had no experience while Clinton had decades of it. The problem here is that's a double edged sword, lack of political experience is strange as it may seem is a positive with many people, it makes a candidate look more down to earth and in touch with the people. Now admittedly its strange how a millionaire who inherited his wealth, has managed to come across as a champion of the common man, but I suspect his campaign team(s) advised him on how to tap into it*.

Though once again the Democrats seem to have helped him out here, by picking someone even more associated and tied with the established and discredited order than him. 
For many Hillary with her decades in DC and exclusive talks with wealthy business interests and foreign capital for very high fees just makes her seem aloof and corrupt. And they didn't even try to lessen the damage with a "radical" new policy platform.  Honestly I'd prefer to live in a country with her platform over Trump's but there isn't much in the way of a break with the status quo that could counter the criticism or energise their voters.  Though in retrospect I think the Democrats were relying on the fear of a Trump Presidency to motivated the masses instead.

It worked for Chirac I guess.

Going Forward

So what can we learn from today? Apart from the obvious don't put a person already hated for over 20 years as your candidate for a popularity contest. Well I think this election is a very good example of how fragile and useful voting as a mechanism for social change really is.  We had a man championed by racist militia's and open Fascists, and the best opposition that could be put up against him thanks to vested interests and the party system was the very embodiment of what he was mobilising against and was already hated and feared since 1992**.

And with Congress under the control of the Republicans, and some Supreme Court judges nearing retirement it looks like his first term will have no effective official opposition. For Americans the choice is now just hang on, take your lumps and wait four years to try again, or build alternative support networks and structures for resistance. Its sink or swim time, America's vaunted checks and balances no longer apply the country is under the control of open reactionaries. Violence against minority groups is only going to continue and I honestly doubt Trump will make good on any of his vague promises to ease the burden on the working class.

But on the other hand this would have been the case if Hillary's cheerleaders had been correct too. And also if the US government remained split, however in that case electoralists would have an easy scapegoat in the party their sad loathes the most.

Governments that won election have been defeated by protests and strike action, in some cases they've even brought the government down. Casting ballots is not a substitute for political or economic activism, even if your Trump supporter and pleased as punch for today's result its only a matter of time before another political gang gets in and starts undoing your hard work.

Basically what I'm trying to say is don't mourn organise, but by organise I don't mean canvass for the democrats in the mid terms.

*Though now that I think about it many populist leaders claiming to be concerned with the plight of the down trodden have come from upper income brackets, like Napoleon who was from one of the wealthiest families in Corsica, or FDR.

** Yes I keep saying this, because it deserves to be repeated, the Democratic party was so out of touch it didn't see a problem with choosing a woman who'd been a figure of hate on a national level since 1992 if not a bit earlier.

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