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Orange Man Bad is Not A Campaign Strategy: A Warning to The Democrats

In a recent New Rules segment, HBO’s Bill Maher went on a rant about Trump Fatigue. Maher coined this phrase to represent the idea that people are fed up with Trump and it is this fatigue that will lead the Democrats to victory in 2020. Sigh. No substance, no policy, just Orange Man Bad. Democrats, take heed: Vote Blue No Matter Who and Orange Man Bad are not effective campaign slogans. I want to delve into Maher’s rant and explain why I think he is wrong.

Trump Fatigue

The setup for the Trump Fatigue line was a comparison between the ratings that the President drew for an interview as compared with some game show. Not a good start, but then it got worse. Quote Maher

Fatigue is the best thing we’ve got going for us [Democrats]. The majority of Americans aren’t tired of ‘winning’, they’re tired of looking at his fat f*cking face.

In a strange irony, Maher is actually right in terms of fatigue being the best thing the Corporate Democrats have going for them. They sure as hell have no policies so they have to go with ‘aren’t you tired of this impolite and bigoted orange bully?’. This is a terrible approach to election campaigning. People do not wish to be told what (or who) you oppose, they want to know what you are going to do for them! Maher’s strategy (which many Corporate Democrats mirror – see John Delaney and others) is to essentially continue the status quo (with maybe some very minor reforms) as if Trump is the problem. If you remove Trump then everything returns to normal. Out of touch, elitist w*nkers.

Maher’s Elitism and Dig at The Left

Maher continued with this gem:

The voters that Democrats need to win: moderates who have Trump fatigue will vote against the good economy I think just to get back to normalcy. But they won’t trade it away for left-wing extremism

76% of Americans live paycheque to paycheque. Half of American workers make $30,000 a year or less. Wages have been stagnant for nearly forty years! What good economy? The ‘good economy’ to which he refers is the unemployment rate (under 4%) and the stock market. Those figures are deeply misleading, since unemployment does not measure the type of jobs being taken, nor does it take into account those who have stopped looking. In addition, the stock market is only an indicator of how the shareholder class are doing. This is not a useful indicator for the wider economy. In other words, Bill Maher and his cocktail circuit friends are doing just fine.

As for getting back to normalcy, this was a term coined in 1920 by Republican Presidential candidate Warren G Harding, and it referenced a return to life as it had been prior to the Great War. Intentional or otherwise, in Maher’s comparison, Trump is the equivalent of WW1. You may think that a stretch, but Maher, as a history major, is informed enough to know the full context for that line.

Maher’s dig at ‘left-wing extremism’ is a reference to the policies that are now popular among the Democratic base (and even, in many cases, the wider electorate). He went on to say that to implement policies ‘you have to get elected first’. What he does not know, or willingly ignores, is the fact that, in a democracy, advocacy of popular policies gets you elected! It is remarkable how conservative this once liberal firebrand has become.

Maher’s Election ‘Analysis’

The crap continues:

This election is about two things: fatigue and fear. We have fatigue, he [Trump] has fear: fear of socialism, fear of open borders, fear of getting rid of private health insurance, fear of higher taxes. He’s running on ‘the communists are coming! Sh*t yourself!’ We should run on ‘elect me and we can stop talking about him!’ All the Democrats have to do to win is come off less crazy than Trump!

These alleged ‘fears’ are all nonsense. Which of the Democrats has said an-ny-thing about socialism? Bernie calls himself a Democratic Socialist, but the order of the words there is important – Democracy first. Open borders? Once again, none of the Democrats said that! Maher is quite literally reading GOP talking points! As for getting rid of private health insurance (another Republican talking point), what Medicare4All actually does (and Sanders would know since he wrote the damn bill) is allow for supplemental private care to cover elective procedures. So no, private health insurance is not vanishing entirely. Fear of higher taxes is next. Sanders does plan to forgive student loan debt through a speculation tax on wall st. Extreme behaviour, is it not, Bill? Taxing wall st to forgive the debt of the majority?

Perhaps the greatest crime here is the last line: to win, all the Democrats have to do is come off less crazy than Trump. As I said above, no policy, no substance just ‘we are not him’. One of the reasons Mrs Clinton lost in 2016 was that she came across as entitled to the Presidency, as though the election were a mere formality. Trump was obviously such a clown that her victory was a foregone conclusion. This arrogance led to the election blowing up in her face. Learn from history or repeat it.

Maher and the ‘Unserious People’

Maher then accuses the Democrats whose policies lean more to the left of being ‘unserious’. Sanders and Warren have the simple intention of having America catch up to the rest of the developed world in having a single-payer healthcare system, to end the wars and the rest of their popular policies. It is, in no small irony, Maher himself who is unserious. He is violating the first rule of politics: do not abandon your base.

Speaking of the base, Maher then adds this gem:

I’m sick of hearing how Democrats need to ‘excite the base’ – TRUMP EXCITES THE BASE!

Indeed – the Republican base. He is a constant source of red meat for those poor, dumb manipulated bastards as Keith Olbermann once said. But while Trump may inspire those poor rubes to vote for him, the policy-driven Democratic base is not excited to simply Vote Blue No Matter Who because Orange Man Bad. Trump might excite contempt and hatred from the elites because he rips the mask off, but the Democratic base wants to vote for policies. The last election demonstrated what happens when politicians take their base for granted. Hint.

Conclusion: Policy over Politics

It is a fact that the policies of the progressive left are popular with the electorate. The Democrats can run on them and win, or they can run another corporatist PC outrage campaign and hand this dangerous criminal another four years of power. The choice is theirs.


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  1. Phil Pryor

    Who is this turd Maher? What is HBO? Please explain. None of us follow foreign garbage. Why should you expect us to know. Trump is self evidently an anus, a low life lout, a rooter, rorter, raving ratbag, possible syphilite madman and a serial bankrupt, thief, robber, chiseller, cook and crank. Apart from that , why should anyone vote for someone lower than a snake’s sausage. No one sensible would, but that is not the USA is it? Why should anyone pay attention to a T V fraud like this Maher? No-one here does…

  2. Michael Taylor

    I follow US politics, as well as a number of people on this site. I appreciate articles like this.

  3. Ærchie Archive

    I may be mistaken but this reads as though the author wants the Democrats to do what Bill Shorten did with such a spectacular success. Detailed and thoughtful policies to capture the thinking voter’s ballot. And doesn’t want them to do what the Coalition did with such complete failure. “Labor man bad”, “labor can’t manage money”. I would love to see a thoughtful electorate yet fear such an animal has gone the way of the Unicorn.

  4. Jack Cade

    Phil Pryor.

    Maher is a Tv show host who represents ‘Democratic Party’ hopes and aspirations. Anyone who thinks the Democrats are the US version of sweetness and reason would do well to watch Maher, and remind themselves that Kennedy and Johnson – who attacked Cuba because Cuba deported US criminals to Miami,
    and invaded Vietnam, spilling over into bombing Laos and Cambodia ‘just in case’ were Democrats. There is no difference between Democrats and Republicans.
    I read questions on Quora, and the level of ignorance from American posters is absolutely staggering. Examples;
    – why didn’t we (meaning the US of A) just carry on across Europe and crush Russia after we’d beaten Germany?
    – Why didn’t the Germans invade England via the Channel Tunnel?
    Maher, by US standards, is extreme left.

  5. Phil

    Who is Bill Maher? Oh that’s right he’s a faux comedian. A comedian who is about as funny as a serious case of hemorrhoids.

    Who cares what Maher thinks? Is this the same Maher that gave Clinton a million bucks for her campaign? quid pro quo.
    See number 2 again.

  6. Phil Pryor

    Got you, Jack, old dear; the rough black humour rarely works. I’ve been reflecting on his background, Irish American, Hungarian Jewish, Pot and Uni, the sharp observations.., as you say, Quora is low, ignorant, and fixated on W W 2 tanks and planes and USA generals. As for Cuba back then, the Mafia lost the conduit for drugs, prostitution, gambling, night life and vacation earnings, huge sums.., so why did JFK get killed and by whom? …hope to catch you again.

  7. Phil Pryor

    Hello the other Phil, a pile of laughs you say? I’m no expert, but USA humour (really? ) seemed to have died after Groucho…And, who does care indeed, except that the late nighters, some satirists, some “lefties” try to attack the odious yellow weed wart in chief. The USA politically seems above, beyond, below our attempts at comment, but you (and I and others) may be quite right. Best commenting wishes.

  8. Phil

    Phil Pryor.

    I would rather have my Jatz Crackers put in a vice and crushed to a shade of blue, than listen to Maher’s attempt at comedy. He is on par with Seinfeld who if I listen to him for any more than five minutes, I give up the will to live. Groucho otoh, was the dogs bollocks, a very smart man ta boot. I remember as a kid racing home from school to watch the ‘ Three Stooges and ‘ Get Smart ‘ the latter show reminding me of our own Federal police, most of whom couldn’t track an elephant in the snow. As for Trump my God, the Yanks have lost the plot. When they tell me he was a successful business man I think to myself, where the fck did I go wrong? But hey I still have my integrity and the same family for fifty years that’s worth more than Trumps wealth any day of the week.

  9. Jack Cade

    Phil Pryor

    Who commissioned the murder of JFK is so bloody obvious, but the US can’t bring themselves to admit it. When Bobby Kennedy declared war on the Mob (who actually engineered Jack Kennedy’s presidency anyway) one of the Dons told a gathering of the clans not to worry about Bobby because ‘His brother’s going to get hit.’ And Jack Ruby’s murder of Oswald was like a village theatre club rehearsal – it’s as if the police positioned the poor bugger where Ruby could get a clear shot at him. Probably had chalk marks where they wanted him to stand.
    I’m getting a bit wary of posting anti-Coalition and anti-US comments now. Dutton’s instructions to the AFP haven’t fooled me at all,

  10. Phil

    ‘– why didn’t we (meaning the US of A) just carry on across Europe and crush Russia after we’d beaten Germany?’

    Patton is on record as putting that exact proposal to Eisenhower after the Bulge.

  11. New England Cocky

    @Jack Cade: Uhm ….. The evidence about the JFK assassination is that JFK was shot by a member of his security team specially assigned on the day of the killing, likely by J Edgar Hoover who was definitely no friend of the Kennedys.

    A rare dum-dum bullet was used that required the removal of JFK’s brain to remove the evidence of this military security bullet.

    The fourth shot scenario, the grassy knoll and Oswald were all red herrings, with Oswald prepared by the FBI as a suitable scape goat.

    The Oswald slow repeat loading rifle was unable to fire four shots in the given time, except by one expert marksman “discovered” by FBI investigators later.

    The Warren Commission was a cover-up where FBI administrators from No 3 to No 10 “conveniently” died in unusual circumstances immediately before they were each to give evidence to the Commission. No 2 was JEH’s “boy friend” who also enjoyed cross-dressing.

    The definitive investigation is: Colin McLaren (2013), “JFK The Smoking Gun”, Hatchette Australia, ISBN 978-0-7336-3044-6, 320 pp. PB.

    @Phil: The USA (United States of Apartheid) and allies did not continue across Europe past Germany because that was not the plan agreed at the Yalta Conference between Stalin and FD Roosevelt.

    General Patten was denied fuel for his tanks to prevent him entering Berlin before the Russians and was killed “accidentally” by a Paris taxi driven by an unknown driver who provided fake identification papers.

  12. Jack Cade

    Phil (and New England Cocky)
    The question on Quora is par for the course. Another US questioner said ‘Why didn’t England and France just stop fighting once we came in?’
    The conceit from a nation that got its arrogant arse kicked by North Korean, Vietnamese and Afghan peasants shows how little understanding they have of how the world sees them. Huge armaments are not much use in the hands of soldiers who marched through jungles listening to transistor radios and wearing strong after-shave lotion.
    A friend of my brother was conscripted to Vietnam. He told me their greatest fear was being posted near the US troops because they were more dangerous than the Cong.

  13. Phil

    ‘ The conceit from a nation that got its arrogant arse kicked by North Korean, Vietnamese and Afghan peasants shows how little understanding they have of how the world sees them. Huge armaments are not much use in the hands of soldiers who marched through jungles listening to transistor radios and wearing strong after-shave lotion.’

    My eldest brother did two tours of Vietnam that is a load of bollocks. Yes there were isolated instances.

    The US fought the Vietnam war with their hands tied to their balls. Public opinion stopped the war in Vietnam not ‘ ‘ Getting their arses kicked ‘ .A total myth.

    My brother who went on to serve in the SAS Regiment told me it was more dangerous in Saigon on a Saturday night than on patrol in the jungle. Australian soldiers were the only whites that could drink in the same bars as blacks. Racism was still alive and well in Vietnam.

    The US dropped more bombs on North Vietnam than dropped in all of WW2 and still they couldn’t defeat them. But the US. getting their arses kicked is a myth.

    I am an digger fortunately not having fired a shot in anger.

  14. New England Cocky

    @Phil: Oh dear, the old “Betrayed by the people” myth. I am amazed that you have not condemned Whitlam for pulling out of Vietnam in 1972 to save Aussie diggers from being killed by allied friendly fire.

    Get over it Phil. You did your duty and survived. Now it is up to the Australian government to meet the promises made to us when we were conscripted.

  15. Michael Taylor

    Time for a wee dram, I reckon.

  16. Phil

    Time for a wee dram, I reckon. Aye.

    My wife wants to know why I drink.

  17. Zathras

    It doesn’t matter to me what Maher thinks. It also doesn’t matter what any of us think about Maher or Trump.
    We don’t vote in American elections so our opinions are irrelevant compared to those of Maher who is closer to the issues than any of us. Shooting the messenger is no different from Trump claiming anything he doesn’t like is “fake news”.

    What is more likely to affect the outcome of their next election will be a faltering economy, soaring national debt, increasing prices due to imposed tariffs,the guaranteed failure of Trump to deliver on his promise of “bringing back jobs from China” and possibly another military conflict in the Middle East. The constant stream of scandals and international embarrassment don’t seem to make any difference.

  18. Paul Davis

    Wow the pendulum really swung on this one. Great read especially from every commentator. Thanks all.

    Firstly, yes, US politics is a vile cesspool with the two parties no better or worse when it comes to foreign policy. Assassination, genocide, piracy, theft, dispossession, slavery, starvation, invasion, deception, phony diplomacy, mendacious treaties, unfair trading agreements, espionage, whatever it takes, have been the weapons used by the despised Yankees to advance and expand the commercial interests of their corporate world empire. Maybe Trump is the “president they had to have” to enable their citizens to sit up and start taking notice of who and what their rulers are and have been with few exceptions for over a century and a half.

    Secondly, Vietnam was my war. No i wasn’t conscripted, missed the ballot, unlike four of my friends plus my best high school mate who went from school to Duntroon to ‘Nam. My father, a WW2 vet, also served in Vietnam. That war and our involvement, through family and friends, and of course as a nation, consumed us for the best part of a decade…. and beyond especially for two of my conscripted friends. What a total screw up by our betters, those divine righters from Menzies onward…

    The thing that really pisses me off is this. IMHO we have the absolute worst government in our 118 year history. A gang of corrupt criminals led for the moment by a cunning slimy phony. And there is nothing that i can do about it except vote for other self interested troughsnouters and express my frustrations at the moronic greed of a stupid electorate deluded by lies from both the pollies and their parrots, the friendly media. WTF. I’m too old to care anymore. Gee i hope the ABC will buy the new series of The Good Place, Shetland, Vera and a few other distractions for my evenings. At least i have a cat, a nice little herb garden and best of all a partner who has no interest in politics. lol. Sorry for the rave…

    Best wishes to all at AIMN and your friends.

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