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Donald Trump: The Fear Whisperer

I hate Huntsman Spiders. Correction – I am terrified of them. It doesn’t matter that I know they can’t kill me. They are a HUGE, brown, hairy spider – and when I see one, my heart starts to race, the Adrenalin starts pumping and all I can think of is that it must die. IMMEDIATELY. OK, maybe they aren’t hairy – I wouldn’t actually know. By the time I’ve emptied half a can of fly spray onto one, followed by a frenzy of banging – it’s a little hard to tell.

There’s nothing logical about my fear. I know that. And ironically I’m not scared of all spiders – if I see the relatively small but extremely venomous redback spider, I will calmly and carefully get rid of it.

But that is the nature of an irrational fear or phobia – when it takes over, you’re not thinking, you’re just feeling. And no amount of reasoning is going to convince me that the eight-legged monster of death on my wall is not an immediate threat to life – or at least many limbs.

“What’s that got to do with Donald Trump?” I hear you ask. Good question.

The authoritarian voter and the Huntsman

Research released earlier this week confirmed an aspect of human nature that political scientists have been studying since World War II and which helps to explain one of the key drivers behind Donald Trump’s success with American voters. That research found that there is a high correlation between people identified as ‘authoritarians’ and people who support Trump. In the context of this research, an ‘authoritarian’ is described as being someone who:

  • is more fearful than other voters of two particular threats:
    • threats from ‘outside’ (such as terrorists and foreigners); and
    • the threat of social change (like marriage equality and gun rights);
  • wants to ‘impose order’ in the face of a threatening change;
  • desires “a strong leader who will defeat those fears with force“.

What jumped out at me from this description is that the type of fear that seems to be driving the authoritarian’s behaviour is very much like the response you would expect from someone with a phobia. And that just like when I see a Huntsman spider, when the authoritarian Trump voter’s fear is triggered, they cannot be reasoned with and demand a swift and overly aggressive response.

“But terrorism actually is deadly” – I hear you say – “and a Huntsman isn’t”.

OK, I’m not entirely convinced that’s true – the bit about the Huntsman not being deadly that is. But let’s go with conventional wisdom for now and assume that a Huntsman is not deadly and instead compare the authoritarian’s reaction with another common phobia – aerophobia, or fear of flying.

One in fifteen people have aerophobia – an irrational fear of flying – and as many as one in four people are ‘nervous flyers’ or ‘phobic’. And yet flying is far less dangerous than driving – by a huge magnitude. The fact is that you are far more likely to be killed in the car on the way to the airport than in the plane you catch from that airport.

However it would be inaccurate to tell an aerophobic that flying is completely safe and that planes never crash. They rarely crash – but very occasionally they do.

The same is true of terrorism. It would be inaccurate to tell an authoritarian Trump supporter that terrorists aren’t dangerous or a threat. But the probability of them being hurt by a terrorist is very low. As I wrote last year, you are far more likely to be killed by falling out of bed than by a terrorist under it. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take steps to protect ourselves against terrorists – just as the fact that flying is relatively safe doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take steps to regulate flying to keep it safe.

The issue is that the level of fear that the authoritarian Trump voter feels towards groups like terrorists, Muslims and foreigners – is completely disproportionate to the threat they actually pose, as is the corresponding action those authoritarians want to take. They may or may not have a phobia in the diagnostic sense, but they are definitely ‘phobic’.

And just as I can’t be reasoned with when it comes to the Huntsman spiders – nor can the phobic Trump voter be reasoned with when it comes to their fears – no matter how irrational those fears are. Here’s why…

The physiology of fear

At a physiological level, research shows us that when we feel fear, the amygdala – or the emotional center of the brain – is triggered before we even have conscious awareness of a particular threat. Basically we feel before we think. Unfortunately, when this is combined with stress, the activity in the amygdala (our emotional centre) suppresses activity in the cortex (which is where we generate thoughts and solve problems).

Social psychologist and Professor at NYU Jonathan Haidt has also done a significant amount of research into the authoritarian voter. His research confirmed that:

“when gut feelings are present, dispassionate reasoning is rare”.

This is why it can seem so difficult to argue with an authoritarian Trump voter about these issues. And why even the likes of commentator John Oliver – who did a brilliant piece recently shooting holes in all the ‘reasons’ Trump supporters give – can’t convince the authoritarian voter not to vote for Trump. When it comes to who they support, authoritarian voters arguably aren’t being driven by reason, they’re being driven by pure unadulterated Huntsman-whacking fear.

Importantly – and I can’t stress this enough – this doesn’t mean the authoritarian voter is never in a rational state of mind, nor that they are stupid – it just means that in regards to this issue, their fear has control of their actions and while not impossible, it is very difficult to reason with them.

Hear the fear

Once you know this, it can help in understanding otherwise seemingly nonsensical comments from authoritarian Trump supporters. If you listen to the words of Trump supporters in the video below from vox.com, you will be able to spot some authoritarian voters. For example, one of the guys interviewed, when asked if it was fair to say that Muslims are ‘the problem’, responded with:

“If you break it down. Yeah. They’re a problem. Sorry to say it. But I can’t help it. I can’t help but feel that way. Right now – I don’t feel safe. ” [Emphasis is mine to highlight key words.]


The irony of course, is that while these authoritarian Trump supporters talk tough, underneath it all, when it comes to these issues at least, they are anything but tough. Their show of bravado, their talk of wanting to be tough disguises the fact that they are actually very very afraid. Trying to argue with them will just convince them that you don’t ‘get it’.

And this is where Donald Trump – the Fear Whisperer – comes in….

Donald Trump: The Fear Whisperer

Whether consciously or unconsciously – and I suspect it’s the former – Donald Trump is playing the tune that he knows the authoritarian voter wants to hear. To them – he “gets it”. And like flies to honey, they are drawn to him. Trump does this in two ways:

1. He gives a voice to the authoritarian voter’s fears

The first thing that Donald Trump does to draw in the authoritarian voter is that he gives a voice to their fears. He calls Mexicans ‘rapists’ and ‘criminals’, and says things like “there is a Muslim problem in the world..there is something out there that brings tremendous hatred.”

Trump expresses their fears in a way that authoritarian voters wish they could – but can’t for fear of being condemned if they do. In their words:

“He says what people think when no-one else can. He’s not politically correct.”
(unnamed Trump supporter from the video above)

A theme amongst authoritarian voters seems to be that ‘political correctness’ means they can’t voice their fear – across both sides of the political spectrum.

Certainly, while authoritarian voters are more likely to be Republican (or right-wing) supporters – there are also authoritarian voters who would traditionally be Democrat (or left-wing) voters. And unsurprisingly, at least some of them are Trump supporters – albeit often in secret. The Guardian ran an article this week with quotes from traditional Democrat voters who are secretly Trump supporters. Here’s what a 50 year old college professor who lives in California had to say about why he would vote for Trump:

I’m a liberal-left college professor in the social sciences. I’m going to vote for Trump but I won’t tell hardly anybody….. I’m also furious at political correctness on campus and in the media. I’m angry at forced diversity and constant, frequently unjustified complaints about racism/sexism/homophobia

2. Trump promises to defeat their fears with decisive quick brute force

Having given voice to their fears, Trump then promises a seemingly powerful, swift solution to the authoritarian voter’s fears saying things like:

This is the authoritarian equivalent of me spraying half a can of fly spray onto a Huntsman spider and then whacking it into oblivion. But Trump’s “simple, powerful, punitive” response – to use the words of political scientist Stanley Feldman – is very attractive to the authoritarian voter. Here’s what one of them- a 48 year old scientist and self-declared Democrat (left-wing) voter who lives in San Francisco – had to say:

“I voted for Obama. I am a closet Trump supporter and I haven’t told any of my friends or co-workers….I’m very concerned about radical Muslims, and liked Donald’s idea to stop all Muslim immigration. I’m a patriotic socialist, but my strong-borders patriotism wins over my socialism if I have to choose. As Donald says, we either have a country or we don’t.”

Aren’t authoritarian voters just Islamophobes, Homophobes and racists?

Technically, I guess this is true – although not all authoritarian voters will fear the same thing. But when people use the words ‘Islamophobe’ or ‘Homophobe’, even though they have the word ‘phobia’ right in the name, typically we are focusing on them as being descriptors of hatred rather than fear. We speak of ‘hate crimes’ and ‘hate speech’ as being expressions of this.

Now there’s no doubt that Islamophobia, Homophobias and any of the other phobias that come under authoritarianism do result in hatred. Just as an aerophobe’s fear of flying results in them hating flying. But the difference is that the primary emotion behind a phobia isn’t hatred, it’s fear. This is an important distinction.

Don’t get me wrong here – that doesn’t make the hatred right. But it does change the way we should think about how we respond to it. And this is exactly what Trump has done. Listen to the words of one of the Trump supporters from the video again:

“I – I don’t have a racist bone in my body – I’m not that way. I just think we need to vet people a little bit better and find out why they are here and that kind of thing.”

Authoritarians object to being called racists, homophobes, islamophobes etc – exactly because those words are associated with hatred, and the primary emotion they are feeling is fear – or more accurately terror. If you were talking to someone who was afraid of flying, you wouldn’t tell them off for hating aircrafts or call them stupid. Instead, if you were trying to change their behaviour, you would focus on dealing with their fear.

And this is how Trump has become the Fear-Whisperer to authoritarians – he’s made them feel understood. And then he promises them the destructive over-reaction that their fear desires

If Trump were playing ‘fear-whisperer’ to aerophobes, he would be promising them that he would blow up every aircraft on the face of the earth, or alternatively ban all aircraft from entering the United States.

keep-calm-at-least-it-s-not-a-spider So what’s the answer then?

Answers are always much more difficult than questions unfortunately…

In many ways Trump has half the answer – he’s speaking to the authoritarian’s fear rather than at the resulting hatred. That’s definitely a start. The key is to work out how to do that while at the same time promoting a solution to the fear that is constructive rather than destructive and generates less (rather than more) hatred.

I don’t know what the answer to that is. But if I had to throw an idea out there, I suspect it lies in appealing to the authoritarian’s bravery rather than – as Trump has been doing – encouraging a cowardly response. (And there is nothing brave about bombing something into oblivion with drones from the other side of the world.)

If you look at World War II, you could argue that Hitler manipulated the German people with hatred and fear while the many of the allies motivated their citizenry through a call to bravery. In the end, it was obviously the allies that won. There are some that say that Trump’s strategies are inspired by Hitler – that he was a student of Hitler’s speeches. I have no idea if that is true or not – but if it is, we know what won the day back then – bravery and courage. We need leaders who speak to peoples’ fears in these terms to counteract the proliferation of hate that could otherwise ensue.

A final footnote

Now just to be clear, I’m not saying that everyone who votes for Trump is an authoritarian, nor that this is the only reason people vote for Trump. Nor am I saying that everyone who is an authoritarian will vote for Trump – or even vote conservative. Authoritarians are just one subset of voters. But since the research shows that this group is not small and is likely to fluctuate in size based on the perceived threat level – which appears to be growing right now – they are a group large enough to potentially decide the next US election.

There’s also signs of a similar trend here in Australia. Our previous Prime Minister – Tony Abbott – was not above a bit of fear-whispering himself, and given half the chance, I’m sure he’d be all too happy to take that tack again.

This article was first published on ProgressiveConversation.

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16 comments

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  1. Ginny Lowndes

    You left out the one group of people that All Authoritarians want to control & belt back to the Middle Ages – women.

  2. jeffrey

    Obama had trouble with all progressives policies.
    guantanamo
    Iraq/Afghan
    healthcare
    firearm control.

    obvious that he was not the overwhelming power to force the changes.

    Consider that a republican candidate wins.

    If trump, then he may be bellicose enough to disobey the owners of the federal reserve.

    if cruz, he will be a puppet/scapegoat to instill the trump agenda as the federal reserve owners now recognise the willingness of the populace to embrace the extreme right wing policies.

  3. Kaye Lee

    Someone who uses fear to gain power is not a leader. They are an opportunist. Leadership is a process of social influence which maximizes the efforts of others toward the achievement of a greater good. Leaders are those who empower others.

  4. hemingway13

    I will be voting absentee for the Democratic Party’s nominee no matter who that turns out to be. It is concerning that there’s a great deal of self-proclaimed superiority in the Australian MSM’s commentary about America’s presidential candidates.

    Australian voters elected Abbott by a comfortable margin of victory despite the clear warning expressed in Parliament by one of the most respected Independent politicians of this century, Tony Windsor. He even exposed the vulgar metaphor used by Abbott during their negotiations to win Windsor’s support for a minority Abbott government. But whose views on Abbott’s suitability for the PM job did the voters heed? Rupert Murdoch’s ubiquitous tabloid minions, Alan Jones, Ray Hadley, Andrew Bolt and the cabal of rightwing fear-mongerers on SkyNews. Now, despite not significantly diminishing Abbott’s IPA ultra-conservative agenda, our shiny new PM is spruiking his shiny new mantra about what an exciting, clever and agile mob Australians are. That’s all it took to lull the non-Murdoch sector of the MSM back into drowzy acquiescence and for Labor’s long-held lead in the polls to vanish.

    If Trump (or the even more diabolically reptilian Ted Cruz) wins the November election, then the Australian MSM can justifiably go the mongrel on the American electorate. Until then, a good long look in the mirror would be an antitdote to this totally unmerited supercilious tone toward American voters who reelected Barack Obama by approximately the same margin as Abbott’s victory here.

  5. mars08

    In the case of Trump supporter, their fear is as a result of their ignorance. They are easily manipulated because they are so stubbornly, shamelessly stupid.

    No wonder Trump loves the poorly educated.

  6. musicinhills

    Hi Ginny Lowndes,how true is that, we can love and die for our own Mother’s and Sisters, but there is this unbridgeable gap, were we can without empathy, kill other peoples Mother’s and Sisters. So were does that leave us, all alone on this planet as an extinct species in the not to distance future.

  7. John Kelly

    I like huntsman spiders. I never kill them. Rather, when one exposes itself in the house, I capture it in a bottle and release it outside. That’s what someone should do with Trump. He is not to be feared, just taken outside and released, never to return. If he comes back, just take him outside again. He’ll soon get the picture.

  8. Annie B

    A long but brilliantly written article Kate M …. getting to the underlying motivations for authoritarian minded people – which is, and always has been – fear.

    I know quite a few Americans, and have met many many more. There is one thing that stands out to me, in their speech, their stance, their written word and the way they deal with issues, in general.

    They are defensive – from the get go. They appear to live by the old mantra ” the best defence is a good offense” …. There are a helluva lot of great Americans – good people, kind and generous, and non-combative. But – there seems to be an increasing number of the ‘other kind’ … these days – afraid, and their fears as Kate showed, are being fed – loudly, grandly, violently and contentiously, by Trump, who is currently delivering it all.

    It can also be underscored ( somewhat ) by the fact that their ‘code of law; (?), is to call foreigners, visitors, people with visas to work, tourists etc. …. all Aliens . There are many other descriptions that could be applied with welcome and generosity, but the least welcoming, the least friendly, the most insulting is to call someone from another country – an alien. The word also means outsider, stranger, peculiar, bizarre, remote, in conflict with etc….

    In British English ( which is actually the only correct English language there is btw ) …. the word alien “means belonging to a different country, race, or group, usually one you do not like or are frightened of.” ( Collins English Dictionary ).

    It’s time all the stronger and nobler of the Americans stood up to be counted. To put aside their fears, and embrace the world as equals and not toady to the idea that Americans are ‘above’ and better than everyone else. A stance I believe, that also comes from fear.

    If they stay on this downhill slippery slope – they will all know what fear really is …. and the rest of the world will suffer for that, as well.

  9. Kate M

    John – Good idea. As long as they don’t release him here.

    Annie – thanks for your comment. I too have spent quite a bit of time in the US, and have a lot of respect for them and their culture. One of the things that hit home to me when I was researching for this article was that people with this authoritarian phobia come from all walks of life and education levels. And like any phobia – you don’t know someone has it until you are with them in a situation where it comes up (or they talk about it – but a lot of people don’t). But like any emotion, it can be channelled into something negative – which is what Trump is doing – or into something inspiring. It’s all about the way leadership present it and talk to it. And right now there doesn’t seem to be anyone on the positive side. Perhaps Bernie Sanders. But I’m not sure his voice will be heard by many of these voters.

    We are lucky we don’t have Abbott anymore – and while I don’t think he was quite as bad as Trump at this, he certainly could have gotten there given time. Although I’m sure he’s reading Trump’s speeches and taking notes for use if he ever gets the chance again. And under his leadership we saw the rise of groups like Reclaim Australia. To give Turnbull his due – on this one issue, he has at least dialled back the fear rhetoric. He hasn’t put much positive in its place – but he has least dialled down the fear tone.

  10. randalstella

    Stop killing huntsman spiders. Stop killing spiders period. Stop it.

    Stop using buzz words inanely. How is Trump any kind of whisperer?
    Could you mean hoarse?

    Cruz is worse.

    If we still had Abbott we would very likely be in the last few months of a despicable Government.

  11. hemingway13

    Being raised mainly in Southern California and visiting relatives/friends in a couple Western states every few years, I’ve found it “problematic” to make sound judgements about the attributes (or lack of attributes) of America’s political cultures.

    First concern is whether a visitor to the Southwest who’s attempting to gain valid impressions has some comprehension of the Spanish language as well as Mexican-American history when that is the primary ethnic heritage/identity for a majority of Californians now. For instance, my absentee election ballots have had mandatory Spanish translations on one side for decades. This is quite different than understanding the nature of immigration and multiculturalism in Australia because Mexican-Americans have, in effect, reclaimed the territory where their ancestors lived for many centuries (From Texas and Western Colorado to California) before it was stolen (euphemistically called “Cession”) from the newly independent Mexican Republic by provoking a war one generation prior to the U. S. Civil War. America’s Army occupied Mexico City and eventually forced Mexico to hand over approximately half its territory. The ardency of New England politicians to steal the entire country was thwarted because Southerners, lead by future Confederacy President Jefferson Davis, reckoned the lower half’s larger peasant population would be too strong a competition against the slave economy of the Deep South. Arguably, San Francisco’s merchant seaport constituted their greatest prize.

    Secondly, it would be helpful to have a superficial knowledge of African-American history and the richly varied forms of expression involved with jazz and current elements of hip hop to even begin to comprehend the large subcultures of, say, South-central Los Angeles and communities around San Francisco Bay.

    Furthermore, Native American subculture has been growing in the past few decades because of Federal Courts finally enforcing their treaties with a measure of governance returning to the Indian nations, the most obvious economic manifestation in California being their ubiquitous small casinos which have provided employment. A significant development in their exploration of self-identity was the 2004 opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D. C.. I had the good fortune to share experiences, as his college dorm roommate, with the Founding Director of this museum, Richard West, who is a Cheyenne Peace Chief and back then the National Universities Debate Tournament champion. While the NAMI has not drawn a large attendance, it is most helpful for visitors as a first step to gain a rudimentary idea of the lifeways, past and present, of numerous American tribes including those of the Southwest who, prior to the Spanish conquest, created substantial settled communities.

  12. Kate M

    Stella Randall or Randallstalla – you are right, I should not kill spiders. And you will be pleased to know, that as a general rule I don’t. I am scared of the large ones, so I typically get someone else who isn’t to deal with them in a more humane fashion. My use of this example was to explain a concept. Which brings me to….

    Your response is a great example of the problems we face on the left-side of the political spectrum – and vice-versa – in communicating our perspective. The reality is that different people communicate differently – and judge/value issues differently. Judgy responses like ‘stop it’ or ‘that’s stupid’ are not helpful ways to connect with someone who thinks about an issue in a different way to you. And it is exactly that issue that my article was about – that calling the growing number of right-wing supporters worldwide stupid, islamophobes etc is probably the response most designed to put their back up and cause them to conclude that you don’t ‘get it’ and that they are right in thinking the way that they do. There is a great article by the Guardian (linked to in my article) which provides comments from Trump supporters. It includes comments from scientists, professors, people with degrees from Ivy-League universities – all of whom are Trump supporters – and they are clearly not stupid people. Concluding that all people who think differently to you are ‘wrong’ or ‘stupid’ will not win them over to your way of thinking. In fact it will do the exact opposite.

    And the thing with a democracy is that the majority wins. If those of us on the left-side of the political spectrum want a government that reflects our views at the next election, then we need to win over the majority. Not everyone – but the majority. And simply standing in our corner and yelling “You’re stupid” at people who don’t agree with us is not going to win over a majority of voters. Rather, communicating with people who think differently to you means understanding what’s important to them and where they are coming from. That was the purpose of my article, to attempt to understand what research shows is a large subset of Trump and right-wing supporters in general. Because right now, support for people like Trump in the US and groups like Reclaim Australia here in Australia is growing, not declining.

    In fact, globally there is an increasing fragmentation in support for different political parties. Political systems that have typically supported only two parties – such as in the UK – now find that they have three or more parties that are viable political forces. And one theory of the authoritarian voter is in fact that they will end up forming a third party in the US – and that would attract voters both from the Republican AND the Democratic support base. I personally think this is a good thing – but it does mean that parties need to learn to work together better in order to get things done. We’ve seen first hand how the LNP have struggled to do this in the Senate. Not having a majority there means they haven’t just been able to push what they want through – they’ve actually had to talk with people who think differently to the way they do – and they can’t cope!

    If we want to win the political ideological war for how this country should move forward, then we need to learn to understand each other better rather than thinking we have a right to command someone else to think the way that we do. And that – not killing spiders – was the point of my article.

  13. Annie B

    A great answer to many here, Kate M ( March 8, 2016 at 10:08 am ).

    Am not sure about the democracy comment ” And the thing with a democracy is that the majority wins ”

    To a degree, that does happen here, although the mish-mash of preferences often muddies the outcome – as I believe it did in the last election. Small parties, with not one tiniest hope of winning any mandate to govern or even put a bum on a Senate seat, seem to be there to affect only the outcome – by giving preferences. A plethora of these tiny – unheard-of-before parties sprang up almost overnight prior to the 2013 elections. I will forever wonder about that !!

    IF there were a first past the post situation – here and elsewhere in the world, we might get a modicum of democracy showing. But that would take mandatory voting to achieve. …. which does not happen in the U.S. and elsewhere in the so called ‘enlightened’ Western world. ….. It IS mandatory here, however ……

    ….. it seems to me that the way the Senate ballot sheets are structured here, many people do not understand the way it works or could have any hope of understanding it. And there are many who go to vote, in order to avoid a fine, rather than thinking through what it is they are actually doing. In fact, there are ‘conscientious’ objectors ( ?? ) to our ‘must-vote-or-else’ system …. ( they claim it to be undemocratic to force a populace to do anything – like vote ) …. and all of this makes for a somewhat unclear outcome in Federal elections, especially in the Senate – which is the ‘ruling’ sector of government after all. The H of R makes the bullets – the Senate decides whether or not to use those bullets.

    I don’t have any magical template to replace the cumbersome Senate ballot paper …. but it IS cumbersome, to some it is overwhelming, and the Electoral Commission – in its’ wisdom ( ?? ) has made things ‘easier’ by allowing two methods of voting on that paper. Lazy thinkers, overwhelmed thinkers, fine-avoiding thinkers, will obviously choose to put a 1 (one) somewhere at the top of the paper, and to hell with everything else.

    The only thing I can think of is that preferences should be thrown out – done away with completely. All they do, is increase numbers for one of the 2PP ( here ), and anywhere else this system is used. Horse races are run more honestly only insofar as the winner claims a first past the post purse, the second place getter gets a specific prize, 3rd and 4th – smaller prize money each. 3rd and 4th do not then give part of their prize money to the 1st and 2nd place getters – do they. NO. And so it should be with voting.

    Democracy allows people to have a voice even if it is within a ‘party’ labelled “Save the Desert Camel” …. the Australian Sex Party is enough to put Granny off her morning all-bran, but it does have a proper agenda – drug reform, the euthanasia debate, damning and outing child sex abuse, taxing religious organisations, legalising cannabis etc. … all of which to many voters would go into the too hard basket … but who do they give their preferences to. I don’t know. Does anyone ? Having looked them up, they are not happy campers at present, as the current government wants to ‘lock-out’ small parties. The Greens are up in arms about that too :

    http://greens.org.au/node/10592 ….. a link which shows ( to me anyhow ) how messed up the Senate voting procedure is. It does however, admonish the PM for his recent stand, while at the same time touting to maintain Optional Preferential voting ( one number above the line ), which imho, does NOT ensure that preferences flow in the way the voter chooses. ….. Would be happy for anyone here to correct me on that particular statement, if need be.

    Meanwhile …. Senate voting should be made as simple as possible … AND somewhere on the ballot papers, there should be shown the list of parties – showing where their preferences will go – and ratified by the Electoral Commission at the time of the parties registering to speak on behalf of [ a group of ] people.

    Cheers all …….

  14. randalstella

    Kate M.
    I did get your name right?
    There’s so much to learn from you.
    I wish I had the time.
    I got as far as my ‘response is a great example’.
    Thanks.

  15. Kate M

    Annie – you make a good point re the majority not always winning. I have been thinking a lot about that over the last few months actually – about how we get our voice back. It’s an interesting idea – to throw preferences out altogether. The senate would have quite a different make-up if they did that – and arguably one that better reflects what people actually want. Will ponder your ideas further….

    Kate

  16. Annie B

    Thanks Kate.

    The so called ‘democratic-choose-to-or-not’ type vote – as shown in the U.S. is fraught with danger.
    From what I have learned, the choices are : a) register to vote, b) don’t register to vote but vote anyway, and c) don’t register – don’t turn up to vote at all.

    In the past there have been 3 ( from research ) turnouts to vote that were under 50%. The remainder have been ( guesstimate ) approx. 53% of the voting age, who have actually voted – on the big election day. ….. The primaries seem to be some sort of sifting of chaff from wheat type of situation, looking for the ultimate candidate in a 2PP situation – Democrat and Republican.

    But on the big day ( the first Tuesday after the first Monday in the month of November ) approx. 40% ++ do not cast their opinions, votewise. ….. If the voting were mandatory in the country, I wonder just what the outcome might be. …. 40% is not to be sneezed at. …. And that 40% ++ MUST have some idea of where their allegiances lie. …. But no-one ever gets to know. How the hell is that able to give an overall 100% of desirability for a 4 year ( or 8 year ) term for a POTUS ? decided by the people ? 🙁

    I have wondered for decades, how much of a difference might have been made to the ultimate election of a new POTUS, if voting were mandatory in that country. ……. Would be willing to bet there’d have been some vastly different outcomes. ….. and as we Australians have a requirement to vote ( or else ), we should make it simple – first past the post – no questions asked.

    So — I agree with everything you have said Kate M and Senate voting must be simplified ,,,,, somehow.

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