Thoughts On The Election of Donald Trump

I didn’t see it coming, but then I’m far from the only one who’s saying that today.

I am quite convinced that the Trump camp themselves didn’t see it coming, which is why they built the voter fraud narrative around a month ago as a side dish to the ‘rigged system’ main course. Notice how nobody’s complaining about the rigged system now?

Donald J Trump is the President-Elect of the United States.

I take only very slight solace from the fact that he’s the fifth president in US history to lose the popular vote and still win the presidency via the electoral college.

Let me say from the outset that despite what you’ll read below, I honestly wish Donald Trump well in his presidency. The US is an important country and a stable, prosperous United States helps the rest of the world be more stable and prosperous.

I have quite a few friends in the States. Some of them are Republicans, some of them are Democrats and some of them are third-party voters. I wish you all well.

To my Democrat mates, keep the flame burning. Your cause for a more caring, inclusive society is true. These things come and go. It went unexpectedly this time but the chance will be back sooner than you think.

I hope my third party friends got the Libertarian vote up high enough for them to be funded. I haven’t checked. A third force holding the balance of power (keeping the bastards in both major parties honest, as we say in Australia) wouldn’t be a bad thing.

I hope my Republican voting friends enjoy their victory and take it with grace. More than that, I hope you get what your country paid for.

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Let me show you a quick video that’s illustrative of one of the reasons I think Donald Trump won this election. It’s from an event in Australia back in 2011. It goes for 3 minutes. Ignore the title.

There are two take-aways from this video that give you an insight into the way Trump operates; the way he conducted his campaign.

First, in the initial part of the video, he tells the crowd “get even with people. If they screw you, screw them back 10 times as hard”.

Ruthlessness. Self-explanatory. It’s not the way I like to live my life but each to their own.

Second, when he thought that Jennifer Hawkins was going to disrespect him by not turning up to introduce him, his plan was to tell people “she’s beautiful on the outside but she’s not very bright.”

He goes on to say “it wouldn’t have been true, but I would have said it anyway.”

That’s pretty much what Donald Trump did during this campaign. When left to his own devices he would say whatever came to mind, whatever was convenient enough to move on to the next point, truth be damned. During the campaign, he said whatever he thought needed to be said in order to buy people’s votes. He combined populist slurs, insults and promises with a couple of well-honed slogans – credit to him for the slogans – he mixed it up with a healthy dose of good old fear and BANG, he’s your next president.

Here’s another video, from Australian comedian, Jim Jeffries. He sums up Trump’s populist approach pretty well at the 3:05 minute mark but the whole damn this is quite poignant and very funny. Beware – lots of swearing in this one…..

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I honestly wish you all well but I believe Donald Trump has sold you a lemon. He’s made you a big bunch of promises that are questionable, at the least, beyond reason in most cases and downright immoral and illegal at worst.

His plan to build a wall – which Mexico is not going to pay for, despite his blustering – is either not going to happen or is going to come at a financial and moral cost that I don’t think the American people will want to pay.

His plan to reduce taxes (government revenue) flies in the face of his plan to rebuild inner cities, roads, bridges, hospitals, airports, etc. All of that costs money he’s promising he won’t collect. 370 economists, including 8 Nobel laureates, published a letter in the Wall St Journal stating that Trump’s economic plans were based on “magical thinking and conspiracy theories over sober assessments of feasible economic policy options.”

His 1950’s style protectionist plans to tax companies into bringing back factories, presumably to the rust belt, are both naive and economically irresponsible. The jobs of the future for Michigan and Wisconsin don’t involve building air conditioners at wages 5 or 10 times the going rate. The rust belt has been sold an unfeasible dream.

Yes, an American president ought to put America first but making yourself an unreliable business partner for the rest of the world is not going to encourage investment. His various trade plans could quite possibly start a trade war with either/both of Mexico and China that’ll lead to consumer goods prices that people will not want to pay. America can’t just trade with itself.

His plan to dismiss science and de-fund any contributions to UN climate change activities and pull the US out of the Paris accord is horrifying. As is his plan to dismantle the EPA. It is outright inter-generational theft and environmental vandalism. But that’s of no consequence to many of his voters. Until it is, of course.

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I could go on, but this is not going to be another 3000-word epic. I have neither the time or the patience. The deed is done.

The real potential harm for America doesn’t arise from the policy outcomes of the Trump presidency. His Supreme Court pick will resonate for some time but hopefully he can be restrained in a legislative sense by some more sensible people in Congress (yes, I know how absurd that sounds).

The real potential harm from Donald Trump’s election is the precedent it sets.

The idea that a candidate can be so secretive about their business dealings and finances, so morally bankrupt, that they can demonise whoever they see as their opponents, that they can have such a flimsy policy footing, that they can lie repeatedly and have those lies confirmed and then lie about lying, that they can have such a poor temperament, that they can prey on fear and employ delusional conspiracy theories to do so, that they demonstrate all of this with their own words and deeds and STILL be elected…… that sets a terrible precedent for the future.

Much has been written about how divided America is. This is the ultimate expression of that division. The precedent set by Donald Trump’s election provides no easy remedy or path to healing.

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I said it a few weeks ago and I have to say it again: Hillary Clinton was a crap candidate. Despite the slurs and the ritual humiliation she’s been subject to, I have no doubt she would execute the job of being president more competently than Donald Trump.

But she was a terrible candidate.

Enough Americans are ready to accept a female president. Just not this one.

Hillary was carrying too much baggage and was unable to communicate an effective message. Jeff Daniels, in his role as Will McEvoy in the Newsroom’s pilot episode, labelled Democrats as losers, because they lose too often. It’s just a TV drama, but it’s true and the 2016 presidential election was a prime case in point. Maybe it’s because too many on the left try to cling to outdated concepts like policy, truth and ethics. Maybe the left just isn’t politically ruthless enough.

The Dems have a lot of thinking to do.

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If I may borrow an expression from one of our former Prime Ministers, maybe Donald Trump is the president America had to have. Maybe this was the inevitable result of a star-fu*#er culture taken to its natural conclusion. If it’s right that the Clinton era is over – and it is – then this might be the price America has to pay to put them out to pasture.

I just hope that everything I fear from a policy perspective proves to be unfounded.

And I hope one of his generals has the courage to remove the ‘football’ from his grasp if he gets an itchy trigger finger.

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For reasons relating to my own sanity, I’ve disabled comments for this post. Neither you or I have any need to engage in the inevitable, disagreeable back and forth. I know what you’re going to say and you know how I’m going to counter. I don’t have enough patience or enough faith in humanity right now to trust some people to act with good grace. I have work to do and some personal issues to sort out. I really don’t need the gloating or the complication right now. I wrote this primarily because I didn’t want to be accused of ducking the outcome, and to get it all out of my system. Job done.

You have my concession. You have my congratulations. You have my unbridled best wishes for the next four years because no matter how protectionist or isolationist you want to be, our futures are all tied together to some extent.

If you’re really determined to give me a piece of your mind or otherwise let me know what you think, you most likely have my email address already.

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