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Day to Day Politics: I have been Trumped.

Friday March 18 2016

When I wrote my piece titled ‘Only in America: Looking at Trump from Down Under’ I must confess that secretly in the labyrinth of my being I thought the American people were too intelligent to succumb to Donald Trump’s populist outbursts.

Stupidly I, like many others, assumed that over time his utterings of nefarious intent would be seen for what they were. The ravings of a pathological ratbag intent on obtaining power by any means. In my piece I covered the man’s personality disorders, his inappropriateness to even be considered as the Republican nominee and then I tied together current Australian conservatism with that of the American right.

As the Republican debates got underway it became apparent that Trump was not just a flash in the pan contender. People actually loved him for his bigotry, for his racism, for his anti-immigrant rhetoric, for his uncouth mouth, for his incitement of violence at his rallies. The more he did so the more they cheered him. The more hatred he spat out the more his supporters encouraged him. Even reciting an oath of allegiance on his command.

They loved him for his prejudice, his lies, his sexism. His racist tweets, and his offer to pay the legal fees of those who commit violence. His supporters worshiped when he advocated the use of torture and the murder of terrorist’s families.

They almost wet themselves when he gleefully told stories of executing Muslims with bullets dipped in pig blood. And they fell over themselves with excitement when he compared refugees to ‘snakes’ and claimed that ‘Islam hates us’.

They applauded him when he tweeted racist images and racist lies. When it took him 48 hours to disavow white supremacy there was not a murmur.

Cheers and raucous joy arose at his rallies at his every hate filled denouncement of minorities and everything he sees as un-American. As if America has some sort of ownership on all morality and righteousness.

Having observed this man, his vile behaviour and listened to his rhetoric, the anger he elicits, and the reaction of the American people to it I have to admit I was wrong. Rather than Americans seeing him, as I thought they would, for the fool he is, they are embracing him as their champion.

If I was wrong about Trump I also regrettably have to concede I was wrong about the American people or more particularly Republican Americans. Wanting a person like Trump as President speaks as much about their mindlessness as it does about his inappropriateness.

At some stage I reconciled that he might win the Republican nomination but could never win the Presidency. Am I also wrong about that?

Commentators are saying that if he gets the nomination we will see a more reasoned Trump. A more lucid personality.

The logic of this suggestion escapes me. I know who he is, what he stands for, and it frightens me. It should petrify the world.

My thought for the day.

‘The pedlars of verbal violence and dishonesty are the most vigorous defenders of free speech because it gives their vitriolic nonsense legitimacy. With the use of free speech, the bigots and hate-mongers seek to influence those in the community who are susceptible or like-minded’.

30 comments

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  1. Sandra Hill

    My mind still finds it hard to accept that this is not some sort of comedy. Are the American people so uneducated – does Trump show the failures of their education system – or is he the president that they (and the world) deserves?

  2. John Kelly

    I think, in Trump, we are witnessing an American phenomenon. Not since the days of Boris Yeltsin have we seen such crassness, such utter lunacy, such breathtaking and bizarre political upheaval. Perhaps he will win the GOP nomination. If he doesn’t he’ll surely run as an independent and split the right wing vote. But even as the Republican candidate he surely can’t win. Surely, either Hilary or Bernie will win the presidency. I’m still holding out for Bernie, but in the meantime, it’s all a great piece of theatre. Pity the fate of the rest of us stands in the balance.

  3. quiltingforkids

    As an American, I am both deeply shocked and embarrassed that we could have such a vicious clown represent us in any way.

  4. Deadkatbounce

    I’m not sure he is still not a better choice then Cruz.

  5. Kizhmet

    Trump terrifies me. I cannot see anything other catastrophe and utter anarchy whenever I think of him as the President. Frightening times.

  6. OzFenric

    Trump is cleverer than we give him credit. Like Tony Abbott, he presents a different front for his various audiences, and the Redneck Nazi Trump is not the man’s true identity. I believe that once the primaries are done, we’ll see a different Trump in the General Election, one who reserves his rhetoric exclusively for attacking Democrat positions. He’ll slowly resile from his big-ticket stump promises – the Wall, the Great Deportation, the Gold Star program (the Muslim database). I expect him to win against Hillary, after a particularly ugly fight. I’m bracing myself for a Trump presidency and counting myself (as always) lucky not to be an American. Trump, in power, will be a figure of frustration, because the POTUS does not actually have all that much power and in his quest for the nomination Trump has been burning all the relationships he will need to get anything done when in office. The POTUS is constrained by the Constitution and the Congress and President Trump will find neither of these particularly cooperative.

  7. Zathras

    I’m also in the “worried-about-Trump” camp, not for their sake but for the rest of the world and I agree about the supporters’ positive response to his behaviour.

    Then again, when you consider how dumb the average voter is, by definition half the population is even dumber than that.

    We had our Abbott so maybe the Americans deserve a dose of Trump.

    Perhaps one day they will move away from a choice between money or family dynasties as a way of choosing their leaders.

  8. Steeleye

    Once Trump got past his first few months, I always felt that he was a reasonable chance to win the nomination. A couple of months ago, my adult kids were disbelieving when I said that I thought he had a chance of going on and winning the presidency. I think we are all starting to worry seriously about this possibility. Trump is a buffoon (and lots of other vile things besides), however the alternative of Ted Cruz is really frightening. On the other side? Sanders cannot win the nomination and Clinton does not inspire. The state of politics in the US is parlous (do I get brownie points for stating the obvious?)

    Neither should we think that he is only an unfortunate US phenomenon and that similar things could not happen in Australia. Christensen is the obvious embodiment of Trump-like lunacy (just substitue ugly gut for the somnalent possum). While he is obviously not leadership material, how about if someone with serious leadership credentials and similar views comes along? I have spent some time in recent days looking at the comment threads for some stories from a variety of Australian sources. On some of these threads (many of them mainstream, rather than pure ratbaggery) the vitriol, racism and stomach churning and mindless hatred totally dominate. We generalise that these views are a tiny minority at our peril. The voters of Dawson have elected Hideous George twice. Why should we think that they are in any way untypical of the rest of the country?

  9. cuppa

    However imperfect, we (the world) do not deserve this.

  10. Here we go.

    I see reflections of this mentality in Australia. I have essentially become a hermit due to the sheer numbers of “grubs” out there. F you all, you are on your own. I no longer care.

  11. Matters Not

    pathological ratbag intent on obtaining power by any means

    by any means? I don’t think so. All his ‘actions’, ‘behaviours’, ‘exploits’ and the like are entirely within the law. He’s not employing any means just the legal ones and as for being from ‘left field’, there have been some notable examples over the years. Try George Wallace, David Koch, Pat Buchanan and a whole host of others with ‘unusual” ideas.

    You can check them out here.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_presidential_candidates

    What makes Trump somewhat different is that unlike previous ‘nutters’, whose star status was short-lived, he is the likely GOP candidate. What HE says, now assumes great import because what he says could be operationalised. He could be the one with the ‘finger on the button’ while previous ‘nutters’ were never a real chance.

    It’s democracy in action. All legal and above board.

  12. Gangey1959

    I hope trump does not get the republican nomination, because although I don’t think septics are quite as stupid as this campaign makes them out to be, I do not believe that America per se is ready for a woman to be president, especially straight after Obama.
    I think Hilary will win the Democrat nomination. (If she is not arrested first)
    Just my opinion.

  13. Michael Taylor

    Matters Not, is inciting violence legal? Probably yes. Morally no.

  14. Michael Taylor

    There are rumours coming out of America that the GOP will not endorse a Trump victory. More on that later.

  15. Matters Not

    Michael, I make no comment on the ‘morality’ but if he has ‘broken’ the law where are the prosecutors? ?

    Having questionable ‘morality’ hasn’t stopped candidates in the past.

    If the GOP powers that be don’t accept Trump, he will in all probability run as an Independent. Then the GOP will ‘lose’ no matter what.

  16. Matters Not

    Put it another way. The Republican Elephant will ensure the election of a Democratic Donkey. ?

  17. John Hermann

    The average U.S. citizen has been completely duped and dumbed down — largely by the corporate-controlled mass media. A perfect environment for the development of fascism.

  18. Matters Not

    GOP will not endorse a Trump victory

    The election of the US President (and Vice President) is not straight forward. For a start, voters do not vote ‘directly’ for either position. In reality, they vote for people to become members of the Electoral College who then elect both the President and the Vice. (Currently 538). Generally, members of the Electoral College are elected on a whole State by State basis (Nebraska and Maine do it differently). It’s a State by State ‘winner take all’ arrangement but there are ‘complications’. While members of the Electoral College have pledged to vote for a particular presidential and vice presidential candidate, depending on State Laws, it’s possible to become a ‘faithless elector’ and vote contrary to your ‘pledge’. It has happened. There have been 157 cases of faithlessness (some accidental); not that it changed the outcome.

    A further complication is the method of selecting who is to be a candidate for standing to be elected to the Electoral College. More often than not these ‘candidates’ are long-term party supporters (political hacks) but it’s not clear whether the party or the presidential hopeful will choose who is to be the Electoral College candidate(s). Usually it’s a moot point because the Party and their presidential nominee are at one. No conflict involved. But maybe not this time.

    You have to love US democracy.

  19. Diane

    Every time I think “The Americans won’t elect HIM as president” I remind myself that WE elected Tony Abbott…

  20. Backyard Bob

    Eventually someone will remind Trump that his nation has a notable tradition of shooting their politicians. That may quiet him a tad. It would me.

  21. James Morrison

    Very good reason to be worried about him in the general election. So far he’s concentrated on his Republican opponents and done them quite successfully. Just wait until he sets his venom on HRC, a very rich target for his spew. From her husband’s philandering to her documented lies, her support of Wall Street and her neocon hawk backing, I can easily see him shredding her like so much confetti.

  22. Stevie Buckman

    Basically, Trump is the result of the silent majority having had a gutful of being ignored by BOTH major parties, and the leftard mainstream media. It’s not just the US either, check out Europe, and, wait for the election results here. The by-election for the blue ribbon seat that Hocking had, should have been a wake up for the Libs and Turnbull, but they ignored it.

  23. minbani

    Backyard Bob – thanks for the afternoon laugh.

  24. Salstarat

    Tyrannical psychopaths like Trump (Abbott and Turnbull) LOVE free speech until THEY attain power … then, and ONLY then, will they introduce sweeping laws to UNDERMINE legal protests and free speech when it goes AGAINST them! This is what the loathsome Mike Baird is doing in NSW … introducing LAWS to prosecute protestors who are LEGALLY exercising their RIGHTS to protest against the despicable CSG mining and fracking in the heartland of NSW’s richest agricultural belt! Like Trump, these purveyors of hatred, division, misogyny, homophobia and xenophobic racism, use free speech to spew out their character assassinating LIES, slander and hyperbole to DESTROY anyone and everyone who opposes their diabolical fascism … but just WATCH what they do once they crawl across the electoral line like rats leaving a sewer. Democracy and truth are the FIRST CASUALTIES of their reign as seen by the litany of remorseless, relentless lies and broken promises by the worst PM in living memory, Abbott. Trump is literally channelling Abbott … vicious, vindictive, unconscionable liar, thief and cheat …. just when you think these bastards can’t get any lower, they start digging! God help us … the USA and Australia now take the WOODEN SPOON as the worst, most insanely dysfunctional neoliberal Oligarchs in the western world. How far we have fallen in only two years of reckless, diabolical mismanagement, environmental vandalism and ramped-up terror campaigns run by self serving, rapacious sociopaths!

  25. musicinhills

    Trump is America, a big part of it, as the right wing are in Australia, Their supporters are the ones i fear, in all my life i have never seen such hatred, before it was there, it has always been there, a group in germany found it, and exploited it, the shear death toll calmed every one then the post war it was build and restore, in the last 40 years we have had a better life style than any time in past history, and still people get angry, It tell’s me there is no such thing as peace not continuing peace, we are animals with awareness we cant handle it and it is going to destroy us, very unfortunate for genuine thinking people who are aware of the beauty all around and dont chose to hate. But the haters allow their own selfish emotions, to make them the center of the universe, thoughtless stupid mongrel mindless fools who will take hatred over love, for only the purpose of destruction, All you need then is simple minded cunning fool’s who savor the power of hatred to organize there feelings. Fools and their desire for the pain of others to make them feel superior. Yes something so complex can be made to look so simple, and none of us can see it, it might just all go away.

  26. OzFenric

    “…in the last 40 years we have had a better life style than any time in past history, and still people get angry…” This is not inherent in human nature. Rather, it is instilled in us. Marketing operates by convincing us that there are things missing from our lives. Capitalism operates by promoting the lifestyles of the “haves” and fostering the dissatisfaction of the “have nots” – it cannot operate properly if everyone has all they need. Trump’s core audience of dissatisfied middle-to-lower class have been fed by decades of growing inequality between those at the top, whose money influences policy, and the rest of us. It’s understandable. Bad enough that Trump, a member of the elite, is using this unrest to promote himself as a member of The People. Worse is that he has no intention of following through on his promises. The American people will feel triply betrayed when Trump’s actions continue the old money-go-round – but they’ll swallow a good few years of lies before this happens.

  27. Backyard Bob

    Excellent post, OzFenric. Sadly, the insatiable nature of the ego will forever make us vulnerable to manipulation of that perceived lacking. I recommend Buddhism 101.

  28. Sir Scotchmistery

    Right at the beginning it was noted this was an American aberration. But we are seeing it here as well. I’m so glad I don’t have to be here much longer.

    We have become a nation of scum in reflection of America. We deserve this.

    Thankfully some of us still own our humanity. Unfortunately some of us may have to go armed intro the face of unreason to change a few minds.

    I was thinking the other day that one way of stopping CSG cold would be to despatch a bunch of truckies at long range to stop supplies getting through. Maybe the same needs to be looked at to stop trump.

  29. Jenni

    He scares me silly – I a student of history and of politics and seeing him, hearing him and the baffling response of the the US people is like watching the past unfold before my eyes. He’s leading the US down a road already traveled and one history has proved to be littered with the dead. What’s worse is that I’m sure most understand this to some degree but still embrace the chaos that he promises, the lack of respect he displays and his willingness to allow violence to be an answer to just about every question. He won’t change because nothing will force him to and if he becomes President then we’re all pretty much screwed regardless of the country in which we live.

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