I’m going to weigh in on the US Presidential elections again, and I’ll stop doing so when I think I’ve run out of stuff to say.
I read three blog posts this morning that I thought, when combined, illustrate the point which I think the vast majority of the world has missed by a mile, including the supposedly enlightened, educated middle-classes.
The first is from the ZMan:
One of the many things that has been exposed by the Trump campaign is that America does not have a two-party political system. It has a 1.3 party system.
The truth is that about a third of elected Republicans would prefer to be Democrats…There is another third or more of the party that is not interested in rocking the boat. They just like the good life and generally think the status quo is pretty good, at least for them. In another age, many would have been seat warmers in the Democrat Party, but time and circumstance put them in the GOP.
The portion of the country that self-identifies as liberal is around 20% and the portion that identifies as conservative sticks around 40%. The rest are low-tax liberals and conservatives that live in liberal states. In all probability, this group of “moderates” breaks 2-to-1 to traditional American conservatism.
The math suggests that about half the country has no party representing their interests. At best they have a third of one party, which happens to be controlled by the other party. The other 5/6ths of the political class speaks loudly and aggressively for the 20% of the public that identifies as liberal…The House leadership has made it clear that the troublesome right wingers are to remain quiet and out of the way or else.
In other words, the Republicans no longer represent those who used to vote Republican (in much the same way Britain’s Labour party abandoned their core supporters years ago and relied upon hatred of The Other and family habits to keep them voting). This is a point most people fail to realise: those moderate, reasonable, smart Republicans didn’t win the nomination because they are Republicans in name only and have no intention of looking after the interests of those Americans who identify as Republicans. As the ZMan says, they are basically Democrats (with the grand irony being that Trump is also a Democrat). Why Europeans should not only understand this point but also take note of it is because it is highly likely the same situation applies in their own countries. It is absolutely the case in Britain.
The second is this one over at Cracked, which is not generally known for its right-wing outlook, which explains the vast cultural divide between rural America and its cities:
See, rural jobs used to be based around one big local business — a factory, a coal mine, etc. When it dies, the town dies. Where I grew up, it was an oil refinery closing that did us in. I was raised in the hollowed-out shell of what the town had once been. The roof of our high school leaked when it rained. Cities can make up for the loss of manufacturing jobs with service jobs –small towns cannot. That model doesn’t work below a certain population density.
If you don’t live in one of these small towns, you can’t understand the hopelessness. The vast majority of possible careers involve moving to the city, and around every city is now a hundred-foot wall called “Cost of Living.” Let’s say you’re a smart kid making $8 an hour at Walgreen’s and aspire to greater things. Fine, get ready to move yourself and your new baby into a 700-square-foot apartment for $1,200 a month, and to then pay double what you’re paying now for utilities, groceries, and babysitters.
In a city, you can plausibly aspire to start a band, or become an actor, or get a medical degree. You can actually have dreams. In a small town, there may be no venues for performing arts aside from country music bars and churches. There may only be two doctors in town — aspiring to that job means waiting for one of them to retire or die. You open the classifieds and all of the job listings will be for fast food or convenience stores. The “downtown” is just the corpses of mom and pop stores left shattered in Walmart’s blast crater, the “suburbs” are trailer parks. There are parts of these towns that look post-apocalyptic.
I’m telling you, the hopelessness eats you alive.
And if you dare complain, some liberal elite will pull out their iPad and type up a rant about your racist white privilege.
It really does feel like the worst of both worlds: all the ravages of poverty, but none of the sympathy. “Blacks burn police cars, and those liberal elites say it’s not their fault because they’re poor. My son gets jailed and fired over a baggie of meth, and those same elites make jokes about his missing teeth!” You’re everyone’s punching bag, one of society’s last remaining safe comedy targets.
They take it hard. These are people who come from a long line of folks who took pride in looking after themselves. Where I’m from, you weren’t a real man unless you could repair a car, patch a roof, hunt your own meat, and defend your home from an intruder. It was a source of shame to be dependent on anyone — especially the government. You mowed your own lawn and fixed your own pipes when they leaked, you hauled your own firewood in your own pickup truck.
Not like those hipsters in their tiny apartments, or “those people” in their public housing projects, waiting for the landlord any time something breaks, knowing if things get too bad they can just pick up and move. When you don’t own anything, it’s all somebody else’s problem. “They probably don’t pay taxes, either! Just treating America itself as a subsidized apartment they can trash!”
Read in conjunction with the ZMan’s post, who is representing these people in rural America who make up about half the population and have seen their way of life disappear due to forces way beyond their control? Or more importantly, who was representing them? The Republican party? Nope, they’re wannabe Democrats and they despise rural, conservative Americans as much as the inner-city Democrats do? Nobody was representing them, and they have been derided, ignored, and insulted for a generation or more and finally they’ve had enough:
So yes, they vote for the guy promising to put things back the way they were, the guy who’d be a wake-up call to the blue islands. They voted for the brick through the window.
It was a vote of desperation.
To those ignored, suffering people, Donald Trump is a brick chucked through the window of the elites. “Are you assholes listening now?“
It doesn’t matter that Trump isn’t going to solve any of this, just like it didn’t matter that the people who took over African countries turned out to be false prophets when the colonial powers pulled out, or were kicked out. When the nice, moderate, polite, guys just take sides with those who are standing on your neck you vote for the first and biggest asshole who will at least appear to be on your side. Charges of misogyny, groping, and all the rest don’t matter one jot at this point. The educated classes who haven’t figured this out, and continue to show bewilderment at Trump’s popularity and mock those who support him as racist thickos, make Marie Antoinette look like a girl down wiv the masses and her finger on the pulse.
Ultimately this isn’t about Trump.
It’s never been about Trump.
And that’s exactly it. It has never been about Trump as a person since he started leading in the Republican primaries. It is about what Trump represents, and what he represents is something that two thirds of Republican politicians, the Democratic Party, the American media, and millions upon millions of supposedly smart, insightful, educated people all over the world have got disastrously wrong. Trump doesn’t represent boorish oafs who grope women, he represents those who are absolutely sick of the cosy stitch-up the establishment classes have imposed on ordinary Americans without a shred of shame or decency. Trump as a person is an irrelevance, he is merely a conduit for the raging anger of millions of Americans.
As I said in my previous post on Trump, the forces which have brought him this close to the Presidency won’t go away if and when he is defeated. There seems to be this delusion that if Hillary wins, the movement that has carried Trump will vanish having been shown the error of its ways by a tsunami of Schadenfreude from right-thinking people on Twitter and Facebook. That simply won’t happen.
Hillary is going to find it hard enough to govern as it is, even supposing her health problems are a right-wing fabrication. Barack Obama has effectively thrown his hands in the air and walked away from the clusterfuck he’s made in Syria, leaving American forces sat in the desert with no clear objective facing off against Russians whose mission is crystal clear and who have all the political backing they need. Obamacare is fast unravelling with insurance companies pulling out of the programme and people’s premiums skyrocketting (boo-hoo). The Black Lives Matter movement is growing in confidence and black men will continue to be shot by policemen, meaning we can look forward to another series of riots in US cities in 2017. Areas which were supposedly gentrifying are going to ungentrify as the police – branded as racist to a man by Obama and his gang – pull back and let Lord of the Flies play itself out on primetime news. The legislature and courts are going to tie themselves in knots trying to figure out whether feminists have the right to their own toilets or transsexuals can barge on in.
And to whom is who is she going to turn to implement the business end of her foreign policy decisions, quell the uprisings in America’s cities, and enforce the law? Why, those same ordinary Americans that her and the rest of the establishment absolutely despise. If Clinton wins and continues with Obama’s policies of gutting America’s institutions – particularly the military, DoJ, FBI, police, and Supreme Court – she might find parts of the country become ungovernable before her first term is out.
As the Zman says:
Popular government cannot work when it is not popular.
This will not end well.
(See also this from Duffy in the comments.)