I was in bed by 9.30 pm, and not feeling that good mentally….as the last Slogpost probably showed. Even I by this time had started to see a Clinton victory on the horizon. The alarm went off at 4 am. I watched for an hour, and one thing above all became clear: this election had not been about Clinton v Trump, relative scandals and mutual condemnation: rather, it was revealed as being about a nation of struggling people deciding enough was enough. The black vote had stayed at home bigtime, and the hispanic turnout wasn’t enough to cancel that out. The biggest demographic surprise of all, however, was that American women showed just how equivocal they are about the Clinton family in particular, and sellout Democrats in general.
Oddly, yesterday I spent quite bit of time trying to find out from two pollsters – pollfish in the US and surveymonkey in the UK – what the accurate, relative numbers were for registered hispanic and black US voters. My gut feeling was that, with so many illegals among hispanics and such a large downturn in the black vote, the latter would be crucial. It may not have been crucial, but it certainly made a difference: Faced with a big and active urban vote, Trump couldn’t have taken Pennsylvania
But the black disappointment with Obama (and the obvious close links Hillary had to Wall St) are too specific as factors. What we saw overnight was a decision by the unsexy havenots of America – the longterm unemployed, the poorer farmers, white working class males and struggling wives – to kick the pc Establishment in the pants. The black decision to stay at home should also, in my view, stand as Barack Obama’s legacy: from a year into his first term I dubbed him Uncle Tombama, and I never saw anything later to make me change that view.
The anti-Establishment trend – it has already made itself known via Corbyn and Farage in the UK, and come the Spring it will also I think produce big changes in France – is much bigger than politics.
Donald Trump started out and remained an Independent who was smart enough to use Republican branding.
The GOP did everything in their power to block, disown and then damn the guy with faint support. The victory today is one for contrarian populism, not conservatism. Yes, populism can be perverted in many subtle and different ways: but if you look at Trump’s programme, it is as much a rejection of neocon economics and financialised capitalism as it is tough on illegal immigrants and anti-social religious fanaticism. It is as much about people getting a fair share as it is about tougher abortion laws and ol’ time religion; Christianity is, after all, supposed to be antithetical to material greed.
Switching over to Bloomberg around 4.30 am, I was struck yet again by just how neurotically borderline insane a Bourse-dominated business investment model is….and how its antics take up too much of our attention…and far too much of our money. I confess to feeling satisfaction at the Asian market gyrations, mainly because they were colossal compared to the post-Brexit reaction. It showed up the Remoaner/Bloomberg lie for what it is – ‘biggest global headwind’ my a**e – and also how simplistic the average trader’s grasp is of the nature of politics. But above all, it showed beyond any reasonable doubt just how scared the 3% are of Donald Trump.
I wrote on several occasions in the last few weeks of how total, nasty, infantile, persistent and exaggerated the US media demonisation of Trump was. He’s not and never will be my favourite person – what’s to like about an egomanic narcissist? – but then if media decide elections (and far too often over the decades, they have done) they’re going to do it on the basis of what their money supply wants: and in the United States, the money comes (as it doesn in the UK) from the 3%. Trump didn’t need to engage in any dinners with the Devil: he’s a billionaire in his own right. Not just an Independent politician, but independent of the big business and the financial communities. No wonder they were scared. No wonder the vilification was 24/7.
But for market researchers in general and pollsters in particular, the very fact of such universal media desecration of Trump’s ideas and approaches brings with it a respondent unwillingness to admit they’d vote for him. We all give off outward feelings, but entertain inner doubts. Inner doubts about whether the Establishment has been telling the truth or not – or even cares any more – elected Donald Trump to the White House. Talking to a stranger, people don’t like admitting they’re going to “vote for the nut”. This caused the UK Tory Party to underestimate the power of Nigel Farage; it also (twice) caused Labour’s élite to gift the leadership to Jeremy Corbyn.
But after last night’s pre-sleep gloom, I am today exhilarated by the American people’s ability to ignore the Chatterati and vote to get some of their power back. In his acceptance speech, Trump was quite right to point out that the result wasn’t politics as usual: it was a grassroots movement.
The British liberal/Left will – needless to say – not see it in those terms. I spoke to a few of them over the last fortnight: they could barely bring themselves to utter Trump’s name – and one thing notable at last night’s Clinton HQ wake was the usual self-pitying drivel about their children’s future, and xenophobia, and all the “I fear for America” claptrap.
If we had a United States of Europe with directly elected Parties sending Ministers to Cabinets – and equally elected Presidents with fixed terms – none of the clowns currently playing into the hands of NATO and Islamism would be in office. Greece would be back on its feet again. ClubMed austerity would never have become a reality. Mario Draghi would be in jail. And Jeroan Dijesslbloem would be a hairdresser in a smug suburb of the Hague.
The same Remoaners who bleat on about 52/48 not being a democratic result – what about the disenfranchised under Fives against Fascism? – just do not understand the lack of real democracy, financial auditing, personal liberty and accountability in the EU. And equally, they do not begin to comprehend the corruption, lobbying, neocon influence and sociopathic ambition of Washington in general and the two main US Parties in particular. Face them with facts about muddled advisors, crooked Foundations, sacrificing US lives for nothing and the crushing of all internal opposition that typifies the Clinton family, and they change the subject. The subject changes to what a scumfascistbigotracist you are.
Ideological comfort blankets are not enough any more: the UK is breaking down politically, and the Western world as a whole is just a gnat’s away from corporate dictatorship.
Donald Trump is a risk, but he is not a horrible inevitability. Trump doesn’t have an ideology, but he does have a plan, and it does make sense. The Haves will fight him tooth and nail. Depending on the final make-up of Congress, he may find himself with limited room for maneouvre. He has no experience of Congressional deal-making. But he has made a lot of money by making good calls at the right time….and lachrymose as we Brits might find it, he does care about America and all its citizens. (He is also, I understand, a “brilliant” delegator).
For all these reasons, he is unique in the annals of modern Presidency: not a lawyer, not a banker, not a politics wonk, not military, and not diplomatic – in any sense of the word. You never know, it might catch on.