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Don’t give Trump a chance

There are situations that arise from time to time in which to act with civility may cost you your life, metaphorically or literally. If you haven’t encountered such a situation may your good fortune continue, however, I’d argue that the world has collectively come up against just this challenge with the endorsement of Donald Trump as President-Elect of the United States.

Over the last few days I’ve read what to me are profoundly stupid calls from the US, from Australia and from other countries, to “give Trump a chance.” He may “settle down” once ensconced in the Oval Office. Actually being president may “tame” him. He “only campaigned as he did to win,” not because he really believes all that stuff about punishing women who have abortions, deporting “illegals,” building a wall, banning Muslim immigration, dismantling the health care system, and men’s freedom to sexually assault women.

The wall is interesting. It exists only as a metaphor, claimed more than a few commentators, it is the wall in our minds. How baffled they must feel to hear that Trump is already discussing materials. Yes, a wall is a clichéd metaphor (we don’t need no education on that) and, what a surprise, it also has a concrete reality. Ask any number of nations about literal walls. Donald is no innovator in this field. Yet many in the US media did not see this, as well as much else including Trump’s victory, coming.

Here in Australia we have a “ring of steel” to protect our borders, and I feel fairly confident this is a metaphor but who can say for sure anymore?

Australians need to proceed with caution when pointing our shocked fingers at what people who wish to be civil now describe as “only” Trump’s means to his end. Decades of torturing asylum seekers and refugees who arrived here perfectly legally by boat, because an influential number of voters believe it is acceptable to do that. Supporting both major parties in their transgression of every human decency and the UNHCR Convention as well. We are disqualified from planting our flag on the means to an end high moral ground. As was pointed out by Naomi Klein, Trump is at this point still talking about a wall. We already have one.

Trump was “only campaigning as he did to win” has to be a justification given life and voice by those who value winning above all else. Have they forgotten already the vileness of Trump’s campaign, or do they minimise the horror, given that it brought him victory? Is everything secondary to winning? Trump thinks so. When questioned on his campaign tactics he shrugged off all criticism. “I won,” he said.

This piece by George Monbiot describes Trump as the product of a neoliberalism that found its political expression through Margaret Thatcher’s enchantment with the theories of Nobel Prize winning economist Frederick Hayek. Competition and winning the competition is the neoliberal credo: democracy comes a very poor second.

He (Hayek) justifies this position by creating a heroic narrative of extreme wealth. He conflates the economic elite, spending their money in new ways, with philosophical and scientific pioneers. Just as the political philosopher should be free to think the unthinkable, so the very rich should be free to do the undoable, without constraint by public interest or public opinion.

Trump certainly seems set upon doing the undoable (in the sense of the morally and ethically undoable) without constraint of any kind.

Women well know the limits of civility. Asking a man set on harming us to please don’t rarely works, for example. Civility doesn’t work with despots and tyrants and psychopaths, and people who care only about winning. They will sneer at your civility, indeed, they will crap upon it.

Donald Trump is a man entirely willing to cause harm in order to achieve his goals. How any one can doubt this for a nano second is beyond me, given the nature of his campaign and the vile forces of hatred he has unleashed already against anyone who isn’t white and male. So if Oprah Winfrey advises us to have hope, as she has, I say, WTAF is wrong with your head, lady?

Giving Trump a chance means overlooking or accepting his manner of campaigning, which in itself should disqualify him from high office. Giving Trump a chance means normalising the most base of human instincts. Giving Trump a chance means endorsing a savagery towards our fellow humans that will eventually deaden every communal and societal instinct we possess. Giving Trump a chance means surrendering to the dehumanisation of ourselves and others, a path with which we in Australia are already overly familiar through our treatment of refugees and Indigenous peoples.

This is not the time for civility. This is the time to call a spade a f*cking shovel, and refuse to allow Trump’s narrative to be normalised, as it will be in this country unless we fight back by politicians and media, many of whom perceive great gains in assisting the elevation of Trump’s narrative.

As Monbiot concludes, those who tell the story run the world. Let it not be Trump’s story, and the story told by those in this country who share his beliefs.

Let’s not give him, or them, a chance.

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.

 

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53 comments

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  1. diannaart

    Our so-called leaders are asking us to ignore common sense, evidence and reason, to reiterate some of Jennifer’s writing:


    Giving Trump a chance means overlooking or accepting his manner of campaigning, which in itself should disqualify him from high office.

    Giving Trump a chance means normalising the most base of human instincts.

    Giving Trump a chance means endorsing a savagery towards our fellow humans that will eventually deaden every communal and societal instinct we possess.

    Giving Trump a chance means surrendering to the dehumanisation of ourselves and others, a path with which we in Australia are already overly familiar through our treatment of refugees and Indigenous peoples.

    We have followed USA leadership for too long, if we ever needed to break this addiction it is NOW.

  2. Patricia creswick

    Agree with your sentiments, The word appeasement comes to mind

  3. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    One question which I don’t think has been clarified for anybody is how and when Trump allegedly had his Enlightenment that the system that had enriched him had then become corrupt conveniently after he had made his billions.

    If Trump is fair dinkum about wanting to fix the system, he can start with donating his billions back to the creditors he cheated when he went deliberately bankrupt four times or the many multiple times he avoided paying his taxes.

    You are right, Jennifer Wilson, Trump’s despicable behaviour must NOT be condoned or conveniently forgotten. It’s bad enough that he feels entitled to change his tune when it suits him, but to see his sycophants and acolytes adoring and modelling their behaviour on beasts like him, makes me puke.

  4. diannaart

    Jennifer

    Following your logic, I would like to ask Trump if he still believes the voting system is rigged.

  5. Wayne Turner

    No way i’m giving him a chance.He’s Abbott on a larger and thus more dangerous scale.Say alot of one thing before the election,and then different after the election.If he truly goes moderate with his words and actions.He will piss off the extremists he was happy to be endorsed by ie:Trump could be bumped off by late 2018.Or if he carries on like he did before the election,he will piss off the majority who voted for Clinton (She got more votes.),and most of the world.

    He’s painted himself into a lose lose situation,all his own doing.And the end should never justify the means.

  6. Matters Not

    like to ask Trump if he still believes the voting system is rigged.

    He does! Saw him interviewed and he argued against the ‘Electoral College'(as he has in the past) in favour of a direct citizen election.

    Interesting, because he would have lost in such a contest by approx. 2 million votes.

  7. diannaart

    MN

    What? He didn’t win by a big enough margin?

  8. Matters Not

    He lost the ‘popularity’ contest but won the Electoral College majority and that’s what ‘counts’. (Not the first time that’s happened in the US – but happens in Australia as well, albeit or different reasons and in a different ‘system’.)

  9. diannaart

    Yes, I know.

    So Trump feels gipped by not winning ‘popularity’?

  10. wakeupandsmellthehumans

    Thanks Jennifer,

    All this cowardly: “give Trump a chance.” He may “settle down” once ensconced in the Oval Office. Actually being president may “tame” him. .. is making me nauseous. So thank you for calling it out.

    I particularly liked Point 2 of Michael Moore’e morning after to-do list:

    2. Fire all pundits, predictors, pollsters and anyone else in the media who had a narrative they wouldn’t let go of and refused to listen to or acknowledge what was really going on. Those same bloviators will now tell us we must “heal the divide” and “come together.” They will pull more hooey like that out of their ass in the days to come. Turn them off.

  11. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Trump needs to see and hear the anger opposed to his election so that he is kept on his toes and tries to be the best he can be (even if that still is not good enough compared to smarter and fairer people).

    At least, it might save the world from premature self-destruction.

  12. nexusxyz

    Not saying Trump is acceptable but Clinton is deplorable in terms of the complicit deaths of thousands of Libyans and everything else she has been up to. Trump and Clinton are more symptomatic of the decline and eventual collapse of the US. A modern day Rome with corruption, perversion, etc.

  13. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Praise the death of Neoliberalism!

  14. Jaquix

    Trump is pure and simple a conman. They actually dont have “beliefs” – their talent is to be able to “read” people, and instantly know their weak spot/s, and then they exploit them, just because they can. They are chameleons, they turn themselves into whatever they need to be to getcwhat they want (whether fame, or money, or whatever). This is why Trump has so easily (overnight) become a different seeming personality, conciliatory, reasonable. But the game is always Trump, and he always has to win. And he will act any part, on any day of the week, to get it.

  15. bobrafto

    Donald Trump is a man entirely willing to cause harm in order to achieve his goals. How any one can doubt this for a nano second is beyond me, given the nature of his campaign and the vile forces of hatred he has unleashed already against anyone who isn’t white …

    You could easily substitute Trumps name with Howard, Hanson and Abbott.

  16. paulwalter

    Most impressed with JMS catching on with dianaart and diannart.

  17. Kronomex

    The Donald will cause some unpleasantness and damage to an already tarnished US along the way but I believe he won’t make it to the end of his term. His psychological makeup, behaviour and the republicans will work against him. At a rough guess, give it about 18 months and he’ll be gone and Pence will be in charge.

  18. Mark

    Do what do you propose ? This man was democratically elected but you are too stipid to believe it. You are all the same comemtators and opinionated fools that said he couldnt become president. You were wrong then and you are atill wrong. Take some medication and have 4 years rest.

  19. Kaye Lee

    It is because of people who “take a rest” for four years that we end up with ignorant opportunists making decisions about our lives. You can sit back if you want but be very aware that without people holding our politicians to account, things would be far worse than they are now. You may trust Trump but I have no idea what you would base that trust on.

    Trump won an election. He did not win automatic approval of all he says and does or immediate exoneration for past indiscretions

  20. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Well said, Kaye.

  21. Jennifer Wilson

    Mark: Since when does anyone have to refrain from expressing opposition? That isn’t what democracy means.

  22. Jaquix

    I actually think Trump will love it – he’s a showman after all. He will just enjoy the limelight, the opportunities for his family (and firtune) – and blithely leave all the dirty work to others. The only glitch could be these court cases but he could wriggle out of trouble somehow, as he always does. Or posdible impeachment down the line.

  23. Michael Taylor

    Indeed he might, Jaquix, but how will he handle the failure?

  24. Kaye Lee

    Jaquix,

    I think he will very quickly get sick of the work load. It requires a lot of reading – or maybe not. Abbott was good at condemning or promoting reports and books he hadn’t read.

    He’ll have fun for a while but there is no off-rating period. He can’t get his kids to do all the work and he can’t just sign a contract for a new casino, sit back, and walk away if it doesn’t work out.

  25. diannaart

    Kaye Lee

    I believe Trump is adept at getting others to do the boring stuff – he is selecting a team he believes he can trust to do the heavy lifting while he gets to stride the global stage.

  26. Jaquix

    As a conman, he wont see it as failure, just another way the system is against him, bexa victim, another opportunity to appeal to his fans, and move on to something else. Not without vindictiveness of course. But NONE of it will be his fault.

  27. mark

    He doesnt become president until January so your tilting at windmills till then Kaye Lee and Jennifer. No amount of stomping your feet or holding your breath will alter that. He will reinvigorate the US economy with coal and oil mining to be restarted. Thus creating thousands of new jobs and self sustainability. He will immediately claw back the billions from the climate change industry and divert it to something tangable – clean water , clean air. Bring it on.

  28. Jack Straw

    Michael: but how will he handle the failure? Trump doesn’t do personal failure. He will blame it on something or someone.

  29. king1394

    I struggle with the way things that were once very very bad are now a good thing. This promise of a Mexican wall for example. When I was growing up the existence of the Berlin Wall symbolised everything wrong with communism. When the Israelis built their wall I was puzzled; now Trump’s wall will leave me completely flummoxed. Our own ‘Ring of Steel’ is a matter of shame.

  30. John Brame

    Mark … You are living in the land of climate change denial and delusion. No wall or ring of steel will keep out climate change.

  31. Miriam English

    Mark, nobody can revive the coal industry. It’s dead. Pure economics. Nothing to do with climate change or pollution laws.

    Here is a careful assessment of the state of the coal industry and what Trump can and can’t do:
    http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/11/14/1598994/-Coal-jobs-are-not-coming-back-no-matter-what-Trump-says-and-Republicans-are-starting-to-admit-it

    Mark, the climate change “industry”, as you call it, doesn’t have billions to “claw back”. The fossil fuel industries have been failing for many years now while being subsidised by taxpayers to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. If oil, coal, and to a lesser extent gas, had to pay true market prices without depending on government subsidies they would already be dead. Renewable energy would already be here and used by everybody, not because of global warming, but simply because of ordinary economics.

  32. Miriam English

    One of the most sane comments about the Trump presidency was made the other day by Russell Brand:

    We have to accept that politics is a total mess and nobody trusts it anymore. The proof is Trump.

  33. Jexpat

    Quiggin’s take:

    “On climate change, Trump can ignore the Paris agreement and appoint a climate denier to run the EPA, but he can’t stop the decline of coal-fired power or the disappearance of coal mining jobs. This is one of many areas where his promise to Make America Great Again is going to fall flat. As far as places like West Virginia are concerned, the big impact of Trump’s victory is to ensure that the Federal money that might have eased the transition away from coal won’t be coming. And, if the Chinese government is smart, they’ll be able to present themselves as the real leaders of the world on the issue (and not just this one).”

    Americans, in particular the knee jerk supporters of the Republican party, have certainly proven adept at one thing: impoverishing themselves.

  34. mark

    Rubbish Miriam. Do you want to tell Indonesia (who has just overtaken Australia in production ) and China that coal isnt any good. Green money has been propping up the renewables industry as it couldnt stand on it own feet.Gov subsidies through green groups etc. So when the money to the green groups ceases then they will have to compete on the same footings. And a quote from Russell Brand – you have to be joking

  35. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    What’s wrong with telling developing powers like Indonesia and China that coal-burning and people-poisoning is bad?

    China and India are seeing that for themselves hence polluted skies and people with mouth masks being common phenomena.

  36. Miriam English

    Mark, you’re welcome to live in your delusion, but out here in the real world China is getting off coal as fast as it can. They are moving into renewables faster than any other country in the world. When our corrupt politicians who are pandering to the dying fossil fuel industry wake up it will be too late.

    “Green money” hahahahah 😀
    Oh well, you’re at least good for a laugh Mark.

  37. Carol Taylor

    Miriam, you are absolutely correct. Evidence including, both U of SA and UQ work with two countries on renewables and these are Germany and China. For equipment needed for PhD research, certain types must be imported from the leader in the field – China, China being the only country to manufacture this.

    Anyone with knowledge of China’s long history would know, and this is one thing that the Chinese value very highly, is self-suffiency. China will replace importing with their own technology as soon as it is possible to do so.

  38. Michael Taylor

    One of our writers, Dr Anthony Horton, is the climate change consultant for the Chinese mining industry. China takes climate change very, very seriously. Yet Abbott was trying to tell us that Australia shouldn’t have to do anything about climate change when countries such as China are doing zilch.

    By the looks of it some people believed him.

  39. Kaye Lee

    “The composition of China’s coking coal imports in the last 12 months shows a mixed picture,” says Dhar. “Mongolia has fared better than other nations, with exports to China up 28% y/y. Australia, Canada and Russia have seen exports to China fall 10% y/y, 7% y/y and 39% y/y, respectively.”

    The investment word on coal is get all you can out of it right now because the future ain’t rosy.

    Meanwhile…

    Entrepreneurs in China, South Korea, Russia, and Japan have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that seeks to create the Asia Super Grid. It will transmit electrical power from renewable sources from areas of the world that are best able to produce it to consumers in other parts of the world. The idea is dependent on development of an ultra-high voltage grid operating at more than 1,000 kilovolts AC and 800 kilovolts DC over thousands of kilometers. It envisions interconnecting grids across regions, nations, and even continents with a capacity of over 10 gigawatts.

    Meanwhile, the price of wind and solar power is falling rapidly. Zhenya said recent PV bid prices for projects in the United Arab Emirates and Chile were as low as 3 U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour. Consequently, “according to our calculations, the cost efficiency (of wind and solar generation) will be more than fossil fuel energy by 2025,” he predicted. The next step, said Zhenya, is to study the technology challenges involved with developing and laying submarine cables to speed up implementation of Northeast Asia interconnections.

    Zhenya ended his talk on an upbeat note, saying that with wisdom and an open mind, GEI can be achieved by 2050 as the way to transition to sustainable, low-carbon energy that will benefit everyone. The technology exists. All that remains is finding the political will to make it happen. Perhaps the urgency of the need to stop filling the atmosphere with deadly carbon pollutants will help spur a sense of renewed understanding and cooperation among the nations of the world.

  40. Miriam English

    My habit is to watch a movie or listen to a talk during dinner. Tonight I watched a comedy set during the second world war. Whenever they talked about Hitler I kept being distracted by the horrible thought that a new Hitler is in charge of USA now.

    I was reading earlier today of a guy in USA who was very badly shaken after talking to a German student. The young student was leaving to go back to Germany before finishing his studies because his parents in Germany rang him and yelled down the phone, “The unthinkable has happened and America has fallen, you need to get OUT NOW before it’s too late.” They needed no more proof than Trump has invited France’s far right, fascist party to Trump Tower, and scary right-wing fascist Marine Le Pen (France’s Pauline Hanson) announced they are collaborating together. Without USA to back up NATO, a lot of Europeans are looking at Putin with some fear. What will stop him realising his ambitions now?

    I have a feeling we will be relying upon China to keep the world from slipping into insanity.

  41. Kaye Lee

    Nicholas Farage, who stepped down as leader of Euroskeptic UKIP after the EU referendum result, was the first high-profile British politician to meet with Trump following the election. He has said his “good connections” with Trump put him in a prime position to strengthen US-UK relations.

    PM Theresa May’s official spokesperson claimed Trump has already said he wants a Reagan-Thatcher style relationship with the PM, adding: “I don’t remember there being a third person in that relationship.”

    However, Farage, who left the Conservatives in 1992 over then Prime Minister John Major’s pro-European stance, has hinted that if May would not speak to him “informally” about Trump, rejoining the party might be the only way to get his insights across.

    https://www.rt.com/uk/367145-farage-may-peerage-conservatives/

    The vultures are circling…..

  42. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Let the male coiffeured boomers think they have solved their problem of offloading the People’s Movement.

    Imagine their surprise when they see proof with their own eyes that their hardest efforts have resulted in nought.

    I look forward to each smug, self-entitled expression to be scraped off their faces.

    I look forward to each parasite to be penalised in whatever capacity their institutions legitimately can impose.

  43. Miriam English

    Trump is putting together his team:
    – A climate change denier in charge of the EPA
    – Two bankers responsible for the 2008 financial crisis in charge of economic transition and Treasury
    – A big telecom lobbyist, who is a sworn enemy of net-neutrality, in charge of telecommunications
    – A former lobbyist who tried to cut social security… in charge of social security
    – A big pharma lobbyist leading the whole transition team

    Oh, won’t this be fun. 🙁
    So much for the idiots who thought he would fix corruption in government.

  44. Kaye Lee

    While our governments look for the cheapest ways of doing things due to viewing everything through the eyes of short term corporate greed, our standard of living stagnates. China makes many of these things cheaper for us, they also bought our gold to help us get rid of our debt, and were happy to lend the US over a trillion dollars. Their standard of living is improving at a rapid rate, as is India’s who kindly agreed to take all those pesky call centre jobs from us..

    Before I am accused of climate change denier (aka Coalition) distortion, I realise they were coming from a low base and have a long way to go….but they are moving in the right direction, lifting people out of poverty…..as we send more and more into poverty.

    But hey…the 1% will still keep gorging themselves and then align with whoever is the new “elite” powerbroker I spose, as long as there’s a buck in it.

  45. Miriam English

    Yes, it is positively bizarre, isn’t it. The people in charge in China and India are intent on raising their people to the standard of living we (used to) have, while our politicians (in the name of competitiveness) aspire to bringing us down to the standard of living China and India (used to) have. We are moving in exactly the wrong direction. When we pass economic levels we will continue to move in the wrong direction while they will continue upwards.

    Maybe one day our politicians will realise we should have been value-adding all along, not relying upon shipping raw materials out to other places where they add the value that we have to buy back. But then maybe politicians never learn… at least the right-wing variety. They seem to be re-using all the old tricks of propaganda and deceit when their old, and demonstrably broken, supply-side economics stubbornly refuses to perform as they promise.

    I don’t mind us having less money and less stuff; that’s probably a good thing which might force us to live more efficiently, but removing protections, worsening our health care, deliberately spreading lies of fear and hate, conspiracy theories, misinformation about climate change, destroying our environment and the tourism that goes with it — that’s just plain stupid. How the hell does any of that benefit us? What can they be thinking? Are they thinking? Or have they outsourced that to the IPA fools? And is it a coincidence that four major English-speaking countries, UK, USA, Australia, and New Zealand are doing the same thing at the same time? It’s a relief that Canada has broken ranks and is still lifting their citizens.

  46. Miriam English

    Oh dear… a paragraph lifted from a mailout from Amnesty I received this morning:

    Across the US children have seen hatred come into their schools. In Pennsylvania and Minnesota kids are marching for “White Power” or posting “Whites Only” on school doors. In Michigan children are chanting build the wall at their Latino classmates.

    The burning of USA has begun in earnest, and Trump hasn’t even assumed office yet.

  47. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I sincerely hope Trump’s ‘triumph’ instead is the catalyst that galvanises the People’s Revolution that Sanders advocated to wipe out the trojan horse Trump and the ugly neoliberalism sweeping through America, as well as in Australia, NZ and UK.

  48. Miriam English

    Jennifer, as you know I’m normally chronically optimistic, but on that score I can’t find much positive to hope for. The bad guys have too effectively and for too long fanned the flames of hate. Those with the power to moderate against that have wimped out far too often and allowed the spot-fires to join into large conflagrations.

    For the life of me I can’t see a way to stop the Hansons and Abbotts and Trumps and other racist bigots (like that clown above, “mark”) who have idiotic conspiracy theories about climate change and gay agenda rattling around in their somewhat vacant heads. They won’t listen to any facts. They don’t respect anything except perhaps white (male) power. I can’t help feeling things are going to get considerably worse before they get better. Like irresponsible tantrum-throwing children, the angry white racists are going to break everything they can get their hands on. They’ve already begun.

    In perhaps a decade we’ll be able to point to all the wreckage and have some small satisfaction in saying they screwed themselves and everybody else. Then we hopefully will be able to bind that nastiness so it will never get free to hurt anybody again. In the meantime I have a sinking feeling the best we can do is look after ourselves, getting solar power, making our own lives comfortable and efficient, and being as obstructive as possible to those who would destroy the good aspects of civilisation. I fear it’s going to be a long, dark time.

    In the future people will write about this time. They’ll look back and say how obvious the signs all were — why the hell didn’t we put on the brakes? It’s going to be difficult to explain to future generations the frenzy of hate, of bigotry, of paranoid climate change denialist conspiracies served up by short-term financial interests and gleefully gulped down by so many. How do we explain this to them? I can hardly explain it to myself.

    We had a good life, with things getting better (even with the setbacks of a small number of obscenely wealthy people damaging the economy several times), however a significant number of us became infected with fear and hate and did everything they could to destroy other (actually innocent) people, and in so doing, themselves as well. It doesn’t make any sense.

    The most absurd part is men hating women! Don’t they realise they need us?

    Sorry about the gloom. I know it’s uncharacteristic of me.
    I just wish I could see a way forward that’s not heavily littered with giant obstacles.

    We really don’t need this now. We need a government that’s focused on getting the country ready for energy shortages due to over-reliance on dying fossil fuels. We need to be preparing for climate change, water shortages, and the problems of overpopulation. Instead we have a pack of dicks who foster hate and disinformation and are obsessed with secrecy to hide their incompetence. WTF??

    [sigh]

  49. Miriam English

    Sorry. Some of that pessimism probably came from watching Tess Rafferty’s speech here:

    (Unfortunately it’s very large — about a gigabyte. I can’t find a smaller version on YouTube.)

  50. Miriam English

    My mistake. When you download the video from vimeo you are presented with a choice of sizes. Choose a smaller size. It doesn’t affect the message.

  51. Jaquix

    Bernie Sanders is out and about – and his followers have T-shirts saying HINDSIGHT – 2020 – I want one! Great campaign slogan with its double meaning. Bernie is only 5 years older than Trump is now, so its not impossible that he could have a go next time. At least he is giving a voice to those non-Trumpers – and laying down what America really needs. A great big shake up, none of which Trump is interested in. The list includes a minimum wage, and health care for all. Things the Labor Party in Australia has fought for, and has to keep fighting for.

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