Wednesday, 9 November 2016
Trump - an equal and opposite reaction
Like most, I went along with the broad prediction that Clinton would scrape it and serve as a lame duck for four years until the GOP got its act together. I even viewed this as satisfactory. I took the view that the US could probably limp through a term of Grandma Death and then we would see a reform candidate emerge. I took the view that Armageddon was coming - but it would have to wait a while longer.
What changed that view was listening to a panel of "experts" on a BBC panel show - where the panel was the usual BBC suspects - only token Americans this time. I noted the series of cleverdick quips based on the same formulaic humour as the News Quiz, where the punchline of every week smart Alec remark was simply Donald Trump in place of Nigel Farage.
This is when I knew I was listening to a transnational politico-media liberal snobbery that not only deserved to lose, but probably would - so unlike Brexit, I was not at all surprised to wake up in the middle of the night to see Trump emerging as the victor.
Though voting for someone on the basis of who they are not is a pretty dismal approach to voting - and not one I based by Brexit vote on, as a disinterested observer of US politics, I began to understand why so many other Brits most definitely did base their Brexit vote on a two fingered salute. It really illustrates well while the polls are a poor means of measuring. It is difficult for them to detect a change of key in the mood music among voters who have become quietly resolute.
It seems the media and liberal establishment on both sides of the Atlantic need a reminder that gloating and superior snobbery and self-satisfied posturing is the most direct route to electoral failure. In that regard, Mr Trump is right in that this very much is "Brexit times five".
The voters in the rust belt (a patronising term if there ever was one) have most certainly set the cat among the pigeons to the absolute horror of those who consider themselves the paragon of virtue. By this time last week you would have to be quite obtuse not to see it coming.
In this Trump ticks all the boxes. He says all the wrong things, he wilfully places himself on the opposite end of the decency spectrum and offends all the people who very much need to be offended. That the commentariat see Trump entirely at face value (which is almost forgiveable) actually speaks to their own lack of comprehension. They invented a popular folk demon and Mr Trump was more than happy to oblige them.
The truth of the matter is that Trump is a good deal more shrewd than he looks, and even though he is lacking any real depth, the Trump we will see in the oval office will be markedly different from the Trump we have seen on the campaign trail. What will most offend the US liberal left is not what Mr Trump says, but what he does. And what he will do, in his own ham fisted way is a lot of the things Americans have wanted for a very long time.
If Trump is even half the reform candidate he pretends to be then I rather imagine the well cosseted and entrenched US intelligentsia is about to be turfed out on its ear. If we do see any radical moves the left will be quick to draw parallels with Erdogan - though it will be a thin pastiche of what is happening in Turkey - if it's even that radical.
I rather hope it is, but it really will demonstrate the US media's complete lack of rationality and lack of self awareness. I guess we are about to find out just how good those constitutional checks and balances really are. If they are as weak as we suspect then that rather demonstrates how the liberal elites have hollowed out the constitution in the last thirty years. The house will be built on their intellectual sand. Trump is very much the canary down the mine that the US left needs - and very much deserves. This is their equal and opposite reaction.