Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Trump's Dummkopfs

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  • Rich of Observationz,

    It's interesting if you look at the history of universal suffrage. It was originally instigated by the merchant classes in order to enlist the working classes as allies in their struggles with the landed gentry. It worked initially in that goal, but has created increasing problems. One of the world's largest economies doesn't bother with it at all, preferring to vest power in the 5% or so of the population they consider trustworthy.

    Maybe it's getting time to reconsider - before you all start screaming, I'm not suggesting gas chambers, sterilisation or slavery. Just applying similar rules to that which most countries apply to people from outside their borders wanting to become citizens- some sort of assessment of ability and attitude.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Boden,

    Having lived overseas now for 19 years I have always had to deal with a bit of embarrassment at being an American, given all the awful things we get up to around the world. Trump and his supporters have multiplied that embarrassment exponentially.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 81 posts Report Reply

  • Nik Dirga,

    I agree with Joe, it's depressing now being an American in NZ and trying to have to explain Trump and defend the many millions of Americans who deplore him and everything he stands for.

    I have to admit, anyone who actually thinks Obama was president during 9/11 should just lose the right to vote because obviously they're brain dead.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Bell,

    It's not as if we're talking about a handful of bigots here - those polls scare me.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 168 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Boden,

    Well, a large proportion of Trump voters are people (such as evangelicals) who will vote Republican no matter who is on the ballot, so they may not be pro-Trump as such and agree with his "values". The rest are primarily undereducated white people (who apparently are all-in with Trump's appeals to racism, sexism and xenophobia).

    The past eight years have taken the mask off of America's supposed "post-racial" culture and revealed just how deeply embedded racism is over there.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 81 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Stewart,

    An ill-fitting baseball cap would appear to be part of the uniform.

    Pt Chev • Since Feb 2012 • 70 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Ross Bell,

    It's not as if we're talking about a handful of bigots here - those polls scare me.

    Indeed but large parts of many countries scare me.

    I admit to being something of a poll junkie and was gratified to see the slew of national polls arriving at 538 yesterday afternoon (US time) all giving HRC two to six points, which was quite a turn.

    HRC scares me too and it really is the best of two evils, but the chasm between the two evils is vast.

    If Trump does get in, the only thing that would lessen the blow is that the senate is leaning strongly Democrat.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Ross Bell,

    Attachment

    Stoptwatcocks!!

    a handful of bigots

    These spigots are all part of life's rich tap history...
    and Trump is tapping a rich vein of bile-spouting craziness, plumbing new depths of dissonance - a veritable vast disturbance in the faucet.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7886 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Bell, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Yeah, but surely there's a limited number of spigots, and that a large number of "normal" people are also backing Trump, including a whole lot of Republican women [not that I'm saying that women would naturally vote HRC, but that Trump is such a misogynist surely they wouldn't vote for him].

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 168 posts Report Reply

  • Conal Tuohy,

    I won't excuse the bigotry, but I think the main factor in Trump's appeal is his "outsider" status. Being outrageous and politically incorrect is a means to bolster that status in the minds of potential voters who have lost all faith in the political class. The US political system's legitimacy is trashed, for those people. For all their ignorance and prejudice, their lack of faith is in fact well-founded. In the current crisis, literally millions of people have lost jobs, homes, everything they had. Meanwhile the US ruling elite have been bailed out, given 'get out of jail free' cards, and paid themselves handsome bonuses. HRC is clearly one of them. They pay her wads of cash for 'speaking fees' and she tells them what they want to hear, and will do their bidding as president. This is the fundamental reason for Trump's popularity, I think, rather than a sudden rise in ignorance and bigotry in the US population.

    Melbourne • Since Oct 2008 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Beagle, in reply to Conal Tuohy,

    To put it more succinctly: Trump is the symptom, not the cause.

    New Zealand • Since Nov 2007 • 46 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    This last weekend, I was at the National Writers' Forum in Auckland. Chris Cleave gave a surprisingly political keynote which I've been sharing everywhere:

    And so hate hates Mexicans, then women, then Moslems, then the European Union, then Obama, then gun control, then me, then you. But you could give hate the exact things it was screaming for – and you could annihilate all those things that hate hates – and hate would just hate you for doing it.

    That’s why hate is dangerous – because it can never stop. It’s a shark and it drowns if it ever stops swimming. Britain isn’t in trouble because of Brexit. Britain is in trouble because its leaders released hate in order to get Brexit, and now hate is in the tank with us, and swimming.

    The world isn’t in trouble because of Donald Trump personally. Donald Trump isn’t actually bright enough to be that kind of evil mastermind. Hate is just wearing that man like a glove. Because he’s an easy man for hate to wear in these times. He’s a man who is never going to have a train of thought that can’t be expressed in 140 characters, and so hate is taking Donald Trump for a swim. And hate will cheerfully eat all of us, and it won’t even spare Donald Trump. Hate ate him first of all, truth be told, and hate is just wearing his face. He’s as much of a victim in this as we all are, which I’m sure he’d hate me for saying.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Stewart, in reply to Conal Tuohy,

    Hammer, meet nail.

    The question for us, is when/if we see something similar here. Although I don't believe our democracy is any where near as broken as it is in the US, we're certainly heading down a similar path with increasing numbers becoming disconnected and participation rates falling.

    Pt Chev • Since Feb 2012 • 70 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Conal Tuohy,

    This is the fundamental reason for Trump's popularity, I think, rather than a sudden rise in ignorance and bigotry in the US population.

    For the same reasons, Bernie Sanders rode the same wave for those of a more reality-based persuasion, but he had to start from a zero base against the well-connected and well-known Hillary.

    Either way, the politico-economic orthodoxy of the past generation is slowly but surely imploding. 4 years ago, the WaPo's David Smick wrote as such, and that there was no obvious model to replace it at the time. That model could well be some kind of populist revival, be it alt-right Trumpism or neo-Leftist Corbynism.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5415 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen R,

    Thank you for the link Emma. That was a very positive way to end a crappy Thursday.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Conal Tuohy,

    a sudden rise in ignorance

    Ya mean they're all ways been this bad? :)))
    Now we get them beamed to whatever device is at hand.
    Exhibiting all manner of human failings themselves, which they are completely ignorant of, until caught out. But that moment pass's and its back on the Trump Train.
    Thats the funniest and saddest thing.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Conal Tuohy,

    Meanwhile the US ruling elite have been bailed out, given ‘get out of jail free’ cards, and paid themselves handsome bonuses. HRC is clearly one of them.

    Not nearly as much as Trump is. As the NYT reported this week, his New work property business is built on nearly a billion dollars in subsidies and tax favours.

    His foundation looks like a money-laundering operation. It doesn't even have a rating from CharityWatch, while the Clinton Foundation gets an "A" and has has played the principal role in nearly 11 million people getting access to HIV/AIDS medication. It has helped save lives on an extraordinary scale.

    They pay her wads of cash for ‘speaking fees’

    Goldman Sachs paid her the fee set by her speaking agency. Her fee is set high, but only compared with other women. It's crazy money, but that's what the market is. And she has so far given $17.6 million of her fees to charity. Trump, by comparison, gave other people's money on the pretence that it was his to give.

    and she tells them what they want to hear, and will do their bidding as president.

    Well, not if she keeps to her campaign platform. The Trump Republican platform, to be fair, does call for a return of the Glass-Steagal Act, but that's something that Trump has never spoken about. Not once.

    This is the fundamental reason for Trump’s popularity, I think, rather than a sudden rise in ignorance and bigotry in the US population.

    It is, in the sense that people have a completely fantastical idea of what's actually going on. The bigotry just reels them in.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    For the same reasons, Bernie Sanders rode the same wave for those of a more reality-based persuasion

    Some of the local Bernie fans I've interacted with are really not reality-based at all. The time I tried to point out to a couple of them that their ammunition-shortage conspiracy theory was just a lightly-adapted version of a long-running right-wing conspiracy theory was ... memorable.

    The alt-left and the alt-right have been on the same page quite a lot lately.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Nik Dirga,

    I agree with Joe, it’s depressing now being an American in NZ and trying to have to explain Trump and defend the many millions of Americans who deplore him and everything he stands for.

    Oh, I know. All the Americans I actually know are like you guys. And I’m really aware of how American brilliance has improved my life and American popular culture has helped me define myself.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Emma Hart,

    That's bracing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Joe Boden,

    The past eight years have taken the mask off of America's supposed "post-racial" culture and revealed just how deeply embedded racism is over there.

    Us settler societies all have some way to go.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Zach Bagnall,

    Guardian hosted a couple of good pieces recently:

    Meet Trump's Hispanic Supporters

    and especially this:

    How the ‘Great Paradox’ of American politics holds the secret to Trump’s success (audio version) -- on what drives people with every reason to vote against Trump to support him instead. Wondered where this one was going at first, but it winds up with a fairly strong thesis.

    Colorado • Since Nov 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Tinakori,

    "The question for us, is when/if we see something similar here."

    Meet Winston Peters our very own Trumpster for the last 20 or so years, but with much better hair. There's a chance he could be our next with a supporting cast of Labour and the Greens, in what would be a very interesting government to watch, but not necessarily to work in or be ruled by. Listen to the UK Labour Party economist Anne Pettifor on RNZ Nine to Noon yesterday praise Trump's causes but tut, tut about his style.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2013 • 118 posts Report Reply

  • Tinakori,

    "There's a chance he could be out next leader with a supporting cast...."

    Wellington • Since Jul 2013 • 118 posts Report Reply

  • Conal Tuohy, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Of course Trump is one of the wealthy elite himself, but there's a difference in perception which is based on a real difference. Clinton is 100% an 'establishment' candidate in a way that Trump absolutely is not. She has been a senator for donkey's years; a First Lady; a Secretary of State, and she has long been seen to be in the pockets of Wall St; giving secret speeches for money and defending them from taking all the blame for the crash. Her financial wealth must be a fraction of Trump's, but she acquired it by leveraging her political connections. Her wealth is political wealth. The disaffected Americans who've been shat on by banks and offshoring businesses hate the political class for hanging ordinary folks out to dry, and Hillary is the epitome of that class.

    Trump, meanwhile is seen as a self-made man; not a politician. He is supposed to have made his money from sharp business practices (canny, businesslike). Sure he inherited a fortune, but who wouldn't? ;-) In political terms he's an outsider; he basically stole the Republican Party candidature from the Party bosses on a wave of populism. Wall St hate him, because of his policies on financial reform and free trade.

    It's the same mechanism behind Brexit.

    I know if I were American I would hold my nose and vote for Clinton, and I think the Trumpist bigotry and hate is truly awful, but it's a mistake, I reckon, to see these political phenomena as primarily ideological (however entertaining it may be); they are mostly a reaction to the economic crisis.

    Melbourne • Since Oct 2008 • 14 posts Report Reply

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