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Trump is just part of the problem

By Ad astra

There are two outcomes of the US presidential election that should horrify us all: Trump wins or Trump loses.

The horror of his winning leaves little to the imagination. We can see from his words and actions that on the personal front he is an ugly misogynist and a womanizer, yet is disrespectful of so many of the women who have entered his ambit, women whom he regards as his property, to do with as he wishes. He labels as liars the continuing procession of women who have accused him of sexual predation, insisting that all these claims have been ‘proven false’, and that he will sue them after the election.

We know too that he is a bully, and has a nasty streak that shows when he calls his opponent ‘Crooked Hillary’. He labels her a ‘criminal’ because of her email difficulties, although no charges have ever been laid by any authority. He calls her a liar, accuses her of ‘having tremendous hate in her heart’, attacks her over her husband’s alleged womanizing, and suggests she should be drug tested before their debates, as ‘he doesn’t know what’s going on with her’. He insists that it would be a total disaster should she be elected since, among other calamities, ISIS and Muslims would take over the country, international relations would become even worse, and the economy, already ‘busted’, would sink still further.

At the second debate he informed her that if he won he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate her e-mail habits as secretary of state, and when she expressed relief that someone with a temperament like his was not in charge of the law, his rejoinder was, ‘Because you’d be in jail.’ Subsequently, at his rallies his supporters have chanted: ‘Lock her up, lock her up’!

In the third debate we saw more of the same. At first more disciplined, he could not sustain that demeanour; halfway through he broke out into his usual ugly Trumpisms. Just 24 hours later they continued throughout the Al Smith Charity Dinner in Manhattan, a traditionally light-hearted event attended by both candidates, one usually devoid of nasty barbs. But Trump could not contain his nastiness, as the videos show in this article in The New Daily.

We know too that his policy platform includes banning Muslims from entry, with what he likes to term ‘extreme vetting’, building a wall across the border with Mexico at Mexico’s expense to keep out Mexican ‘criminals, drug dealers and rapists’, scrapping trade deals that ‘rob Americans of their jobs’, and smashing ISIS by ‘bombing the shit out of them’, all in the cause of ‘Making America Great Again’. He shows his admiration for tough man Vladimir Putin and exhibits his willingness to cozy-up to him, contrary to contemporary US policy.

Meme created by Ad astra on imgflip.com

Meme created by Ad astra on imgflip.com

Apart from these outrageous policy positions, his campaign is largely policy-free on such matters as health, education, and foreign relations. He has threatened to ‘cancel billions in payments to the UN climate change program’ agreed to in Paris, as he considers global warming to be a hoax.

His latest assault on American democracy is his accusation of voter fraud, his assertion that the presidential election is rigged, and that the media is culpable, dishonestly representing his and his opponents case for election. Even close colleagues will have none of that accusation, which many see as Trump’s attempt to give himself an excuse for losing, which many of his colleagues and numerous social commentators believe will be the case.

Barack Obama’s response was apt: he reminded Trump that it’s ‘unprecedented’ for any candidate to try to discredit an election before it began, and advised Trump to ‘stop whining’ and get on with making a case for winning more votes. But as Women’s Agenda reminds us: “Trump has previously embraced the label of “whiner”, telling a CNN interviewer last year that “I do whine because I want to win and I’m not happy about not winning and I am a whiner and I keep whining and whining until I win.”

Trump’s threat to not honour the election result no matter the outcome, covert in his earlier utterances, became the defining moment in the third debate when in response to a direct question on this matter he replied: “I will look at it at the time”, hardly reassuring for those who expect the traditional smooth transition to the next president. If his thinly veiled threat becomes reality, we can expect a level of discord and disruption never before seen post-election in the US. The following morning he reiterated that he would accept the result, but ‘only if he won’! Now he’s insisting that the opinion polls that put him well behind are ‘phoney’, and that he’s really winning!

Many Americans share the horror of a Trump victory, particularly a large majority of women (although sadly not the majority of American men), and are fearful of what a Trump presidency would bring about. There is a strong consensus among leaders of many other nations, and commentators worldwide, that a Trump presidency would be disastrous. Many of his Republican colleagues share this view. Some have disowned him and his views and have distanced themselves from him lest he spoil their chances of re-election; some have contradicted his bizarre statements.

While many express fear about what a Trump presidency would do for the global economy, world stability, and international relations, how many have seriously contemplated what might come about should Trump win, a highly unlikely but not impossible outcome, and how world leaders would cope?

But while a Trump loss could hardly be worse than a victory, it would be foolish to believe that it would be without trauma at many levels. This piece attempts to tease out the possibilities.

Trump’s blanket condemnation of the mainstream media suggests a plausible post election defeat scenario: Trump will establish his own extreme right wing media outlet, one that would rival the existing one – Fox News. Trump is a billionaire businessman who has had experience in reality TV. It would come naturally to him to establish a TV network to compete with Fox News with even more extreme conservative, Republican and anti-Democrat views, and he has a readymade audience of supporters keen to lap up its every utterance. Not only would such an outlet be able to push neoliberal ideology, but it would also be a bridgehead from which it could assault a Clinton presidency, and make governing near to impossible with rancorous publicity and continuous condemnation. Fox News is bad enough; ‘Trump News’ would be even more vicious, vindictive, vitriolic, vengeful, venal and vile, should Trump seek to take out his revenge on the one who defeated him and all those who supported her.

This is not an idle thought, an improbable outcome, a fanciful scenario; it is one that Americans should contemplate, fear, and prepare to counter. Several commentators now acknowledge that possibility. One clue to Trump’s TV intentions is that he invited Roger Ailes, former CEO of Murdoch’s Fox News, who resigned from Fox last month over sexual harassment claims, to be his adviser. The latest though is that after just a few weeks they have parted company as Ailes realized that Trump “couldn’t focus, and that advising him was a waste of time.”

Media commentators are seeing Fox News as an ailing, ageing network that needs rehabilitation and refreshing – the removal of 76 year-old Ailes is part of that process. No doubt Trump sees the audience Fox once enjoyed a ripe takeover prospect. He sees himself as the alternative right of the American national establishment, which he criticizes so vehemently, insisting it is introspective, corrupt and unresponsive to the needs of the people.

So don’t be surprised to see Trump TV News emerge early next year, with lots of beautiful presenters and experienced commentators, poached from Fox News and other networks, which will make billionaire Trump even more money.

In my view the greatest danger when Trump loses though is how his large base of supporters will react.


Meme created by Ad astra on imgflip.com

His supporters follow him because he gives them hope, albeit false hope, that he will fix their problems, improve their situation and make them, like America, great again.

These folk feel left behind in the wake of globalization, technological changes, and free trade, all of which have robbed them of their jobs and left them less well off, often dependent on welfare, and feeling hopeless. They are angry. They see no future for themselves or their children. It is not surprising then that when a ‘saviour’ appears and promises to make their unhappy lives better, they respond as Trump’s supporters have.

Trump cannot help them anymore than could preachers in a bygone age that promised eternal life in heaven among the angels to those oppressed by poverty or illness during their earthly existence. Yet his followers believe him fervently. Moreover, they also believe his anti-Clinton rhetoric and at Trump rallies rail against ‘Crooked Hillary’, heatedly shaking their fists at her. Having convinced them that the ‘corrupt media’ and Clinton’s allies have rigged the election, and that there will be widespread voter fraud, you can imagine their anger when Trump loses. He will tell his supporters they were ‘robbed’ by a corrupt system. We should be very fearful if Trump decides to stir up fury and resentment post election.

It’s too easy to dismiss Trump’s supporters as a rabble of discontents, as Hillary Clinton did when she labeled them “a basket of deplorables…racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it.”

But their feelings are the direct result of inequality in the American economy. Many have lost their jobs, notably in the rust belt. They are poor and struggling. The American dream has passed them by. Many are homeless, on welfare, lacking healthcare, deprived of education – the flotsam and jetsam of American society. And they are understandably angry, just as were those involved in the ‘Occupy America’ movement.

They have swallowed Trump’s trickle down economic plan of giving massive tax cuts to business. They believe his promise that these cuts will stimulate business, create jobs and increase wages, classic neoliberal trickle down thinking that we know so well. But Trump also intends to get rid of ‘Obama-care’, which had given health insurance to so many who previously could not afford it, and he will also cut welfare, which one would have thought would upset his followers, but seemingly his other promises outweigh these drawbacks. History shows that people often vote against their best interests.

On the other hand, Clinton offers a classic progressive strategy of increasing wages, taxing the rich, and stimulating the economy through government spending, such as on infrastructure, just as Democrat governor Mark Dayton did so successfully in Minnesota where the economy is booming. In contrast, in neighbouring Wisconsin where Republican governor Scott Walker implemented a classic neoliberal strategy of cutting taxes and welfare, job growth has been among the worst in the region, income growth is one of the worst in the country, it has a higher unemployment rate than Minnesota, and the budget is in bad shape.

We cannot condemn Trump’s supporters for lapping up his promises, for not seeing through the fallacy of his economic strategy. They are the manifestation of inequality, which we know leads to discord and social disruption. They feel disenfranchised, distressed, despondent and despairing. Who could blame them for embracing Trump and his offer of hope, no matter how phoney?

What is fearsome is not their understandable faith in Trump’s false promises, but the spectre of Trump stirring them to unbridled rage when he loses, as he seems likely to do, unprepared as he says he is to accept the will of the people, ‘unless he wins’. Add to that the likelihood that he will stir up even greater hatred for the winner – ‘Crooked Hillary’, ‘the criminal who should be locked up’. Can you imagine how much civil unrest Trump could inflame, and how easily he could do so? That is frightening. That would be evil. That is what should terrify all who value the democratic process.

To return to the title of this piece: ‘Trump is just part of the problem’, it is his followers, those who adore him, those who hang on his every word, those who turn up to his rallies and shout insults at his opponent, those who really believe he can lift them from their dispossessed state to a glorious sunlit land of hope and prosperity, who are a powder keg waiting for Trump to light the fuse and blow democracy to smithereens.

Trump is just part of the problem!

What do you think?

What do you think and feel about Donald Trump?

Do you believe he will become president of the United States of America?

What do you think would be the consequences if he did?

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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  1. Miriam English

    I am appalled to say that I think there is a very good chance that he will win the election. As Hillary moves ahead in the polls those who might have gone out to vote for her will feel confident and not bother to vote. On the other hand Trump’s followers are becoming fanatical. They will be guaranteed to vote. Also in much of USA the idiot Republicans have perverted democracy by gerrymandering much of the country and have successfully suppressed much of the black vote. In recent elections that the Republicans “won”, they did so on far less votes than the Democrats received. We have a similar miscarriage of justice here.

    I predict that if he does win that he’ll be quickly indicted for his many illegal business dealings. I guess USA would end up with one of the other compulsively lying mentally challenged Republicans stepping forward to fill the position (Marco Rubio perhaps, or that other one whose name escapes me at the moment who everybody hates, even his colleagues — he looks remarkably like Dracula). That would be an utter travesty, but preferable to a raging, sociopathic ignoramus running the country.

    It looks very much as if USA is dying of septicemia — poisoned from an infection circulating inside. And the Republicans still seem not to understand that their lies, hate, racism, promotion of extreme inequality, and antisocial agendas have caused all this.

    The world looks on in dismay. The Philippines has said recently that they will not be USA’s suckers anymore. They’re looking to make good relations with China instead. I expect we’ll see this happening more and more. USA seems to have had its day. Betrayed by its wealthy elite it is now a setting sun. Unfortunately whatever nutter gets the codes to the nation’s nuclear weapons and control of the biggest military machine on the planet could wreak terrible damage on its way out.

    So that old Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times.


  2. Freethinker

    Miriam, the Republicans understand that their lies, hate, racism, promotion of extreme inequality, and antisocial agendas promote division in society in the masses which allows a minority (financially powerful) to rule for their own benefits.
    At some degree this was and it is used by the coalition here.

  3. astra5

    Miriam English
    Sadly, the picture you paint could come about. There are so many variables in this election, which you enumerate, that a Trump presidency is possible although unlikely if one can believe the polls. The consequences are too awful to contemplate. Let’s hope the US electorate has the sense to see through Trump and reject him. If they don’t, heaven help us!

  4. astra5

    You put your finger on the central problem in the US (and of course here and elsewhere), namely inequality. It motivates the Trump followers, who think he can reverse their disadvantaged situation. Of course he couldn’t if he did win, reliant as he is on supply side (trickle down) economics to boost the economy, jobs and wages. He is a false prophet, but the desperate believe him!

  5. 61chrissterry

    Shared on 61chrissterry

  6. Gangey1959

    Whichever of the two figureheads wins on November 1?. Australia will lose. Why? Because our own politicians, on both sides have tied us to the united states as if the world will end if we don’t. It suits them all, because the moneygoround at the top is borderless, and we pedal powered folks don’t get a say any more.
    In watching the crap coming from the other side of the pacific on the telly, and reading the comments of far wiser people than myself on here I have come to the conclusion that hillary will NOT WIN the election. The moron with the stuffed animal on his head might lose it, he might win it, but she has had absolutely NOTHING to offer anyone whilst love him or loath him trump has some ideas. (I had to cut a leg off at the concept, but I even agreed with a couple of them.)
    The other problem that the americans have with their elections is their unalienable right to NOT vote, which means that only the radicals DO vote, and the system is open to cheating because noone is ever sure how many people voted for real anyway. Frankly, who cares. Until Australia gets a prime minister with some balls and some bottle and an effing big stick and a willingness to use it we might as well pretend that we don’t mind being beaten by the people from the land of the wrong white crowd in the buggery, or that if the kiwis didn’t come over here to work they would all be broke and we would have to support them through our Centerlink as well. Et least they suck et nitball, ay bro.

  7. Jane Love

    Ad Astra: You do realise that all the things you have said (in other articles) disturb you about Turnbull, are all the things that Trump says he intends to address? You say his promises are phoney yes. The reason Trump has such a strong following – world-wide as you see – is because everyone is sick of politicians who are happy to destroy the people they are supposed to be representing.

    You think vote rigging isn’t real? I dunno; George W just kept re-counting the votes until he got the number he wanted – that’s how it seemed anyway.

    All the issues that we now have in Australia because of ‘black holes in policy making’ are all the same things the US has been (not) dealing with for years but they are further ahead in the deterioration of all things associated with political responsibility to the people.

    All the things you address in your articles, revolve not around politics but rather, morality and compassion and ethics. That’s my take on it anyway. Let’s face it, there IS NO WAY that politicians do not know what they are doing to the people. Do you think Turnbull, standing beside Abbott and the rest of this fascist Australian government, didn’t know what they were doing when they took the jobs of hundreds of thousands of Australians and then stood together and said ‘Go and get a job you bunch of whingers’? You said your retired. You’re also a medico and you guys are needed desperately everywhere you go. Jobs now, for the other Australians, are as rare as hen’s teeth. Often hundreds apply for the same job; ask any ‘job provider’. NO attempt has been made at providing employment. Just lies about the level of unemployment. Strong massaging of the figures i.e. of the truth. Also, do you know if you ring the government ‘Homeless Help Line’ now, that you are told to go and sleep in your car or get a motel room. That’s the ‘help’ they have for people who had their jobs taken off them and are now without a roof over their head.

    And yet, there is always money in the political coffers for a pay increase for politicians, the last one being bigger than most people’s annual salary. There are lots of other examples of vicious lying and greed. ww12.sallymcmanus.net did have on her site at one time, a complete list of the destructive decisions and broken promises made by Abbott during his tenure. All those decisions and broken promises still stand.

    The issue is not about political competence – the economically incompetent masses themselves cannot miss the horrendous errors politicians are making.

    This US election is not about personality. Obviously the huge Trump following, doesn’t care about personality and it’s because people are crying out in desperation for somebody to help them as they are thrown into a spiral, down to poverty. And we all want politicians to stop lying. This LNP government lies blatantly ALL THE TIME. They never stop. It was more obvious when brain-damaged Abbott was in the top position but everything is still the same.

    One thing everybody knows is, if Trump doesn’t win, nothing is going to change. Americans are free-falling in that politician-made spiral into third-world conditions – and so are we. We have exactly the same conditions in Australia for exactly the same reasons.

  8. Miriam English

    Here is a cartoon that illustrates metaphorically why nearly half of people in USA are voting for Trump:

    They think he’ll change things, and in a sense they’re right, but what they don’t realise is that in terms of the cartoon the end result would be the same — it just wouldn’t be humanely accomplished anymore.

  9. Miriam English

    Wow! Who’d have imagined.
    Donald Trump was foreshadowed by a dinosaur in the ’90s sitcom “Dinosaurs”.
    It is uncanny:

  10. Harquebus

    Whoever wins will fail. The mathematics of infinite compound growth guarantee it.

    “Yes, on November 8, you Joe Blow, Steve Blow, Bob Blow, Billy Blow, all the Blows get to go and blow up the whole goddamn system because it’s your right. Trump’s election is going to be the biggest f*ck ever recorded in human history and it will feel good.” — Michael Moore

  11. Miriam English

    Yes, Harquebus, either candidate will fail, but it comes down to how big a hole will be ripped in the world.

    At least with Hillary she does attempt to help. Her foundation works to pull people out of poverty, prevent endemic diseases, spread literacy, give women a step up, and so on. Certainly, she is no angel, but she genuinely does help fix the world.

    There is clearly a definite limit on the expansion of the part of the economy that depends on consuming physical resources. We are beginning to run up against some of those limits now and it is certain we will run headlong into more painful ones soon. But there is no limit to imagination and creativity. That part of the economy can expand without limit. So there is some hope. Couple that with the fact that half of all new power generation installed last year was renewable, and that renewable energy use is expanding faster than fossil fuel use — solar energy use is doubling every 2.6 years — this means that even if we have the most corrupt government in the pocket of fossil fuel companies there will simply be no place for coal in less than a decade. Some of the world’s poorest countries, such as Bangladesh, are leading in number of home solar installations. This raises the standard of living of the poorest people while hardly consuming more materials. If done right this defuses the population bomb. Admittedly we are doing this too slowly and have delayed too long, and could still bring the world down on our ears, but things are starting to shift for the better.

    We in the West are the biggest culprits. We consume far too much. We need to realise how obscenely wealthy we are instead of thinking we’re poor. And we need to use our wealth and power to help fix the world.

    If the ship sinks it doesn’t matter if we’re on the top deck; we all go down. We need to fix it.

  12. Jexpat

    Ad astra is correct about one thing: the US (and the rest of us around the world) are screwed either way.

    As to the mercifully brief assessment of Clinton (and those who will make up a Clinton administration): suffice to say: it’s incorrect.

    Such equivocation by the way, is a notable characteristic of the Clinton campaign, its cronies and insiders, as well as newer surrogates and supporters. Something that close to 2/3’s Americans know all too well- as has been reflected in various surveys, exit polling and observable behaviors for many years- but especially since January 2016 and amplified since the Democratic convention.

    Most Americans find them lacking honesty and trustworthiness. For good reason

    If folks are interested, we can get into some specifics on why those touting the upcoming Clinton administraion as somehow “progressive” (presumably due to visceral reactions to Trump) are mistaken.

  13. astra5

    Thank you all for your comments. The Trump/Clinton contest has sharply divided not only voters in the US, but interested people around the world.

    We won’t have long to wait now for the final outcome, unless it’s very close, which could draw out the process of declaring the winner of the presidency and the composition of the House and the Senate. We will have much longer to wait to see the political fallout, whichever way it goes.

  14. Miriam English

    Finally some good news:

    It seems that Trump’s worry that he’s losing in the polls has caused him to him declare the election is rigged. This appears to backfiring in the most wonderful way. His own, previously fanatical, supporters are becoming dispirited and they appear to be registering to vote less, while it has the opposite effect on Democrat voters. Previously the big worry was that Democrat voters would feel to comfortable to bother voting, but now it seems to be galvanising them to vote more.

    With luck Trump’s enormous problem of shooting himself in the foot almost every time he opens his big bad mouth may completely destroy the Republican party and give USA a fully progressive government for the first time in living memory.

    The great news for Australia is that our nasty right-wing monsters appear to be in large part funded by their counterparts in USA. Pulling the rug out from under them over there, closing loopholes may go a long way to fixing our woes.

    Let’s hope that’s how it goes.

  15. Harquebus

    I forgot to say thanks for that link. I used to really like that show.

    I disagree with you about Clinton and renewable energy however, this close to the election, I am just going to wait and see.

    “In Florida today Trump drew a MASSIVE crowd – thousands of people – while Tim Kaine drew about 30.”

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