Wednesday, 9 November 2016
It's President Trump. The President of Bullshit Has Won.
Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States. The president of bullshit has won.
So what now? Well this is a president who will have the advantage of his own side, albeit a side that cannot quite believe that he is their leader and president, in control of Congress. Both houses. The Donald will have no excuses.
Because now the demagogue has to turn his airy promises of nirvana into reality. He is going to make America great again apparently. He is going to deport millions of illegal immigrants at a rate that will require him employing half of them to get it done. He is going to have to build his wall and force Mexico to pay for it. Maybe he'll get the immigrants he is deporting to build it for him on their way out. He is going to stop Muslims entering the country. That will be interesting. How? Is he going to tattoo them all? Force them to wear yellow stars or some such wherever they go? He doesn't worry about details.
He is going to bring back all of those jobs lost to the rest of the world. Oh yes. That is what he said. He is going to bomb the shit out of ISIL, perhaps in league with his friend Vlad the Botoxed. They can probably share male grooming tips on their first big summit meeting as they decide how to divide the world up between them. He is presumably going to stand by while Vlad invades eastern Europe and takes back his 'near abroad.' He is going to revisit the relationships with key allies, tear up treaties and trade agreements. Oh and he's probably going to lock Hillary up. And those women who accused him of groping them. And journalists. And comedians. And Rosie O Donnell.
In short Donald has made a huge number of vainglorious and idiotic promises and now he will have to start letting reality intrude. Of course Trump is very good at reneging on deals and so will probably think nothing of reneging on the promises he made and which got him elected by the bovine masses who were impressed by him. It's only a matter of time before he tells us that he never made any of these promises and we must be deranged. Or maybe its a conspiracy. Maybe he will pass a law forbidding awkward questions and get the FBI to erase all of the tapes of his promises.
Let's be clear, many of us understand why so many people voted for Donald Trump. They are sick of the old establishment, they are sick of being ignored, they are sick of the new settlement in the world that sees them struggle to make ends meet and their country transformed without any of their grievances being heard or heeded. We understand that. We understand that globalisation and free trade has been great for spreading wealth around the world and lifting billions out of poverty, but it has left people in America and elsewhere often worse off and struggling. Their well paid jobs, their satisfying jobs making things have disappeared abroad and they are left doing minimum wage jobs stacking shelves or cleaning cars instead of building them.
Donald Trump is not wrong about China and its abuses of trade and its manipulation of its currency. The theory was that engaging with countries like China and trading with them would make them more amenable, make them more friendly and like us. Instead they have taken advantage of this openness, exploited it, stolen intellectual property, enriched themselves and still refused to be cooperative on matters like North Korea, the South China Sea and their manipulation of their currency. They are building a new and powerful military and becoming more assertive and aggressive. Yet Trump thinks now would be a good time to leave Japan and South Korea to look after themselves.
It is an intractable problem. Trump's simplistic solution to this and all manner of other similarly difficult and infuriating issues will not work and will likely make matters worse. If he starts a trade war and becomes protectionist he will just plunge America and the whole world into a depression. If he becomes isolationist and leaves allies to fend for themselves then he invites all of the conditions that eventually led to world war 2.
Donald Trump discovered to his surprise that people listened to him and thought him honest and genuine. He enjoyed the feeling. He revelled in it. And now they have voted him into office. Yet what he was doing was identifying problems. That is easy. Anyone can do that. China is a problem. Russia is a problem that Trump thinks he can solve by being Vlad's pal. Obama and Hillary tried the same thing with their reset policy and look how that turned out. Now Trump will go naively into bat for the US and will refuse to take advice. He never does. He is hopelessly out of his depth and will be clueless. He will also be dangerous.
The rest of us have watched as all of this happened. America turned in on itself and elected a dangerous buffoon with a personality disorder. He is like America's Silvio Berlusconi, but with nuclear weapons and the most potent armed forces in the history of the world at his disposal. It's terrifying.
But this has happened for the same reason that Brexit happened. This has happened because we are being governed by people who pay lip service to democracy but ignore what people are saying to them. Britain voted for Brexit only five months ago and yet still some of our politicians are trying to find ways to frustrate it, amend it, to do as they please in the certain knowledge that they know best.
Donald Trump is a reaction to President Obama, probably one of the coolest presidents in American history and yet one of the most ineffective too. He came to power on the back of the financial crisis and used it as an excuse to go on a spending spree dressed up as Keynesian investment. It was nothing of the sort. It achieved little. American came out of the recession just like the rest of the world: slowly and sporadically. The same problems were still there but shifted and with a trillion extra added to the national debt.
Ordinary people are genuinely baffled by the priorities of politicians and our ruling elites. They are obsessed with issues like climate change, which is not happening in any meaningful sense and which is costing us billions without making any difference. If it is possible to tackle climate change, you certainly can't do it by building a few wind turbines and driving a Prius. But that's what the politicians like to spent their time on. They talk to themselves and reassure themselves about what the science says.
Climate change is an issue that is worried about only by the the ruling classes and a few sandal wearing crusties. The same is true of issues like rights for LGBT people and the apparent urgent need to have transsexuals have toilets that don't make them feel uncomfortable. Nobody is allowed to question any of this. Nobody is allowed to wonder how viable it is to worry about something that is biological and thus irrevocable. Most people just don't understand why we are suddenly supposed to care about it and worry about it and spend time and money addressing it. Has there been a sudden increase of people who think they are in the wrong body? Or is it just that people are talking about it and so suddenly it has made people imagine that it is true of them. It's just like a peculiar form of hypochondria if you think about it.
But this is the state of our politics. They can't do anything about the properly big issues of the world and so they obsess about insignificant ones instead. Hundreds of thousands of people are risking their lives to travel to Europe and yet nobody is prepared to take the obvious path of simply turning their boats around and returning them to Africa. Issues like this infuriate people and yet the politicians don't listen. They talk amongst themselves and adopt their 'liberal and caring stance which demonstrably makes matters worse.
Donald Trump was a reaction to that and a perfectly understandable one. Unfortunately however the cure is worse than the disease. Yes the politicians of today are a bland and useless conglomeration of groupthink. They call themselves liberal and yet attack furiously anyone who departs from what they consider acceptable. Though I have had a sleepless night thinking about President Trump, I must confess that I am delighted that he will likely tear up the pointless agreements made in Paris last year about tackling climate change.
Trump is going to be a disaster, but he is something that the elites who rule us have brought upon themselves. Their furious denunciation of anyone who questions the climate change consensus is an example of their arrogance and cloth eared idiocy. Howling down dissenters and calling them deniers is the opposite of liberal. Progress is made in the world by people asking questions, being sceptical. Yet you cannot question certain issues. The liberals do not allow it. Their liberalism is selective.
There is a paucity of leaders in the world at the moment, men or women of vision and bravery who are willing and able to question lazy groupthink, to take on the Chinese, the Russians, the Iranians and of course the terrorists. We need people who are willing to depart from the consensus, to refuse to toe the line of least resistance, to refuse to parrot the bland lines that they all spout when some maniac kills innocent people in the name of his god. Islam is a religion of peace they all say. No it isn't. Islam is a superstition that ought to be ignored and not tolerated. If people want to believe in a god that is their own business but it ought to be a private matter and not something that the rest of us should be expected to respect or make allowances for. Louis Smith the athlete was treated abominably for making a joke about Islam and Muslims. This is not allowed for some reason. But why not? Who decided this? The reason that religion is declining in the west is because people asked questions and found the answers wanting. That is how progress is made, that is how we become more enlightened. It is why large swathes of the Muslim world are still so backward. Yet now we are expected to allow their intolerance to impinge on our demonstrably superior system of scepticism and open debate.
Where are the leaders who will point out these uncomfortable truths?
Trump is not a leader though, he is just a loudmouth and preening ignoramus who happens to have come up against a series of opponents who were bland and thoughtless and free of independent or original thought. Trump was different and people were desperate for something different. He has no solutions though, just empty rhetoric and sloganeering. He is, if you like, a kind of anti-Blair, an anti Obama, an anti Cameron. People are sick of these smooth but vapid politicians who try to navigate through political life by finding the path of least resistance. They are bringing democracy into disrepute and endangering it. Now they have given rise to Donald Trump.
Still, the deed is done and we must wait to see what will happen. Will Trump now start to row back on his rhetoric or will he double down? My betting is it will be the latter. He is on the winning streak of a lifetime and keeps getting vindicated every time he is challenged. He has won. He has no clear idea what to do with it now he has won it, but that won't matter to him. The bullshit president will wing it like he always does. The rest of us can only watch on in fear and trepidation. And maybe start a business selling gold, canned goods and building nuclear fallout shelters. Maybe though someone somewhere will learn the lesson of Trump and those he vanquished and adopt some of his methods. If someone could start departing from the script but offer clear solutions they might find themselves electable and even unbeatable.