Part … something … of my series on the US election.
Is it terribly wrong of me, as I start writing what will be (hopefully) the final post on the coming US election, that I have Anything You Can Do on the brain? I just keep imagining Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton singing it …
Trump: How do you keep getting away with it?
Clinton: I’m a Democrat!
Ok, I’ll be serious now.
Before I go any further, I will say that Donald Trump is a better candidate than Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately, this isn’t saying very much. This year, both parties seem to have found themselves candidates who – in a rational world – would have been dismissed out of hand. It doesn’t bode well for the future.
But there is no realistic alternative. A mass swing of Republican voters to Gary Johnston will probably hand victory to Hillary Clinton (in the same way Ross Perot handed victory to Bill Clinton); a mass swing of Democratic voters to Jill Stein will probably hand victory to Donald Trump. Neither the Greens nor the Libertarians have the nation-wide influence required to have a realistic chance at the Presidency, something that has made their politics more absurd than usual.
The problem facing both major parties remains the same – they are held together by the certain knowledge that a break-up will hand permanent dominance to their rival. America has problems now, but a party in unchallengeable control over the US would be far worse – at best, there would be the baleful influence of the Scottish SNP, at worst there would be the staggering corruption and unaccountability of the South African ANC. American politics might become more representative, more reasonable, if both parties separated at roughly the same time, but I would not care to count on it.
Donald Trump has been excoriated for daring to suggest that the 2016 election will be rigged, if he loses. And yes, it was a staggeringly irresponsible thing to say. But tell me … given what we now know about how the DNC’s selection process was slanted in Hillary’s favour, is it actually wrong to worry about Hillary trying to rig the national election?
The results of a nation-wide election must be above suspicion. There must be no doubt that the winner is the genuine choice of the majority of the country (or at least of those citizens who can be bothered to vote.) Hillary’s conduct and Trump’s claims both call the results of the election into question (before the election has even been held) and undermine the fundamental basis of American democracy. If the winner cheated – or even if vast numbers of people believe the winner cheated – does the US even have a democracy? Will the entire country just go along with it?
And another issue that has reared its ugly head is Hillary’s health.
There is evidence – not conclusive evidence – that Hillary is dangerously unwell. Is this actually a valid concern? We do not know, but the simple fact that the Clinton Campaign hasn’t dowsed the fire – by releasing her medical records, for example – is worrying. Once again, they act as if they have something to hide.
I can understand being reluctant to be seen to bow to pressure. Demands that the campaign do this or that will always lead to more demands, forcing the campaign to keep jumping through hoops to prove this or that. But there comes a time when allowing rumours to fester merely lets them get out of hand. The campaign must answer the questions as quickly as possible.
What is the current state of Hillary’s health? Does she have any health conditions that threaten her ability to do her job? Can she handle the stress of the Presidency, a post that has wrecked the good looks of every previous President? Is there a possibility that she might die in office, dumping the job on her ‘policy wonk’ VP?
And if Hillary cannot handle the job, we need to know now.
And then we have the question of Putin’s involvement in the DNC email scandal.
The United States (and Hillary) doesn’t have a leg to stand on, if it wishes to complain about foreign countries interfering in American elections. Putin has ample reason to be pissed at America – and Obama/Hillary personally – for American involvement in Eastern European elections. Obama’s clumsy attempt to convince the British electorate to reject BREXIT was a flop, at least in part because it was clumsy and foolish.
And – to be blunt – the fact that Putin might have released the emails does not detract from the simple fact that the DNC was engaging in criminal activity.
The problem facing Putin – and every other foreign leader – is that he has very good reason not to want Hillary Clinton to become President. Clinton played a major role in a foreign policy based on wishful thinking, rather than realpolitik; the collapse of US influence over large swathes of the world owes a great deal to America losing sight of the cold realities of the world. In some ways, this has worked in Putin’s favour; in others, it raises the spectre of a collapse of American power that will leave a vacuum, a vacuum Putin doesn’t want to fill.
From Putin’s point of view, a businessman would make a better partner. A smart American President would understand Russia’s concerns, then come to a mutually-beneficial agreement that would benefit both sides. A businessman would also understand the value of keeping one’s word, of sticking to an agreement, of remaining consistent even when the world threatens to turn upside down. Trump is probably not Putin’s ideal American President, but he’s better than Hillary Clinton.
There might be something to be said for the prospect of blackmailing Hillary after she wins the election, but Putin – I suspect – would see it as a ‘high-risk, low-reward’ option. Hillary’s ability to keep secrets is seemingly non-existent these days. If it leaked out that Putin was blackmailing her, she’d be impeached and the US would be far more inclined to confront Russia wherever possible. Taking revenge by damaging Hillary’s chances of getting elected would suit Putin far better (and besides, if Trump is grateful, that’s an added bonus).
The core of the problem, as I noted earlier, is that the government has simply grown too big to function efficiently. This has allowed the growth of a political elite, which – through an incestuous relationship with the media and big business – has secured control over most of the levers of power. And, like most aristocracies throughout history, the elite has lost touch with the commoners and, in doing so, it has provoked resistance and rebellion.
This shouldn’t be surprising. A group – isolated from the rest of the world in gated communities – can fall prey to all sorts of delusions, once it has lost touch with reality. It is easy to believe that pushing social change is a good thing, if one happens to be isolated from the effects of one’s changes. The religion of ‘social justice’ would not have taken root if the elite had not started to class people as numbers, rather than living breathing individuals. And it is easy to believe that one’s opponents are doing it because they are evil, not because they have a valid point.
If government does not represent the interests of the voters, why should the voters continue to vote for it? Neither the RNC nor the DNC asked this question, which is why Trump crushed all of the elite candidates for the nomination and Hillary Clinton’s nomination is tainted by the suggestion she cheated. The average American is increasingly sick of the political elites – Donald Trump, for all of his flaws, seems more connected to the population than Hillary Clinton.
The credibility of the political elite – and the government – is gone. Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that Hillary wins the election – and, a year later, there is a disease outbreak in New York. Would anyone believe Hillary if she told them to keep calm and carry on? No; her reputation as a habitual liar, a person who lies even when there is no need to lie, is well-established. Realistically speaking, would anyone believe Hillary when she talks about anything? And Trump, it must be admitted, has the same problem.
But Trump and Hillary are merely the tip of the iceberg. The true problem lies in the growth of government, of the political elite, of government bureaucracy, of endless regulations …
… In short, Atlas Shrugged is starting to seem alarmingly plausible.
Throughout history, there have been a number of failed revolutions.
These tend to fall into two categories. On one hand, we have revolutions – like the 1905 Revolution in Russia – where the forces of reaction eventually regain control and crush all opposition. On the other, we have revolutions – like the French Revolution – where the rebels win, only to give birth to the next generation of tyrants. Napoleon and Stalin were both born out of chaos, taking advantage of the collapse of the old order to establish their own order; they were both able to build power structures that favoured their dominance. There were no counters to their power – they couldn’t allow them to exist.
The handful of successful revolutions occurred, at least in part, because there was an alternate power structure up and running when the revolution took place. Parliament won the English Civil War because it controlled many of the levers of power; it’s later failure to keep the revolution occurred because Cromwell centralised power in his hands. The American Revolution succeeded – both in separating America from Britain and in creating a whole new governing structure – because, again, there was an alternate power structure, which morphed into the federal government.
Where are the alternate power structures today? Gone.
And part of the reason they are gone is because the left – and to some extent the right – has savaged them. Freedom of speech, the freedom to express dissident viewpoints, has been curtailed. People who question Obama are called racists, people who dislike Hillary Clinton are called sexists, people who have concerns about Islam are accused of Islamophobia … this is done, not out of valid concern, but out of a desire to delegitimize dissenting opinion. If you can play the ‘race card’ against your opponent, you win …
… At least in the short term.
But a person who raises valid concerns isn’t going to be satisfied by a barrage of “racist, Racist, RACIST!” They might be cowed, they might scurry backwards, they might kow-tow to the whims of social justice, but they won’t be satisfied. Their concerns will not have been addressed, merely driven underground. People resent not being able to express themselves, people resent being accused of evil and bad thinking … particularly when they know, all too well, that they’re nothing of the sort. We live in a world where the merest hint of dissent can lead to destroyed careers and broken lives. Why would anyone consider this a good thing?
And the rules change at random. What is right at one point may be cause for shunning the next. People are becoming neurotic, because they don’t know what will offend someone next. Justice is a joke when the race, or sex, or whatever of the criminal becomes more important than the crime. People are scared, people are angry … people no longer trust. The idea of honest debate has been lost, replaced by people who – on one hand – virtue-signal like there’s no tomorrow and – on the other hand – people who take pride in saying the most outrageous things possible.
You know, like Donald Trump.
There’s no room for compromise because there’s no good faith. There’s no belief that one’s opponent is a man of goodwill, even if he disagrees with you.
And if the political elites want to know who to blame for this, they can start by looking in the mirror.
I’m betting on Donald Trump.
I know, he’s a poor candidate and likely to make a worse president. But he has two advantages that – I think – need to be taken into consideration.
First, Hillary is an even worse candidate. It is impossible to believe a word she says without independent verification. Nor does she have the ability to inspire her supporters – Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton could and did. Instead, she comes across as a self-righteous entitled nagger, so tone-deaf she doesn’t realise just how bad she sounds. Her past hangs over her like a thundercloud, constantly reminding people of her weaknesses and moral failings. And who knows what scandal will next pop out of nowhere to bog her down, once again.
Donald Trump can be inspiring. Donald Trump’s past lies outside politics. (And really, what can Hillary use against him that can’t be turned back on her?) Donald Trump is a breath of fresh air to an electorate thoroughly sick of elitist candidates.
Hillary’s only real advantage is being a woman. It is why she suggests that it is time for a woman to occupy the Oval Office. But even that is a problem. Hillary’s conduct does not suggest tender feelings for other women, particularly the ones who get in her way. Modern feminists might like the idea of a female President, but shudder at Hillary’s obvious contempt for her husband’s affairs and her willingness to smear his lovers. Why should they vote for her?
The issue is not that there are plenty of reasons to vote for Trump. The issue is that there are plenty of reasons not to vote for Clinton.
Second, there’s the ‘Shy Tory’ factor.
In 2015, the British Conservative Party (The ‘Tories’) won a decisive victory in the general election, a victory that was not predicted by the opinion polls. One of the theories advanced to explain this oddity was that Tory voters weren’t admitting to being Tories – they felt that openly expressing their political affections would have negative effects on their lives. And in this day and age, it would be true. A Tory voter would be called all sorts of horrible things by self-righteous left-wingers.
But that didn’t stop them casting their votes for the Conservative Party.
I suspect that the true number of Trump voters is much higher than estimated, even by the alternate media. Like I said, people resent being treated as public enemies for daring to have an opinion of their own. A vote for Trump is a quiet rebellion against self-righteous social justice warriors, humourless prats who sneer at ordinary people who merely want to live their lives in peace. It is a blow struck against the PC Police, an expression of the resentment and rage people feel at being told how to live their lives, at being insulted and talked down to by idiots who don’t have the slightest idea how the real world works …
… Trump isn’t much. But he’s all they’ve got.