Sunday, November 13, 2016

Trump thoughts — Whither America?

I don't usually write about general political issues. That's way out of my pay grade.  But Trump has done the inconceivable, and put his celebrity to use to grasp the presidency of the United States of America. What lies ahead?


To say that I'm not too keen on Trump's character would be an understatement.  I don't like Trump.  It really troubles me that he might use the incredible power of his office to persecute opponents  He seems to sincerely believe that winning is sufficient moral validation in itself for just about anything. I'm hoping for America's sake that winning the prize of high office may moderate Trump.  But it could well go the other way.

Will Trump be a disaster for America?  That I don't know. God works in unexpected ways. Some things surely won't be pretty. Much depends on the kind of team he puts together, and how well he can work with them, and with Congress. Is Trump up to this demanding task?  Time will tell.

Fact is,  I agree with some of Trump's policies. One example: he wants the US to stop funding so-called moderate Syrian jihadi groups known as  'rebels'.  That's a good policy.  Why should the US be fighting a proxy war against Russia using radical jihadi groups as its agents in what is essentially a sectarian Islamic war? In this the Obama administration has been both foolish and culpable.

One Muslim woman, Asra Nomani, realized she couldn't vote for Hilary when she found out that the Clintons were accepting donations from the Saudis and Qatar, while they actually knew that these donors were also funding ISIS and other radical jihadi groups.  It is gross to take money from groups who fund genocide.  In my book that's up there with making horribly disgusting comments about women. 

But I digress.  Back to Trump.

My hat goes off to "deplorable-and-proud" David Goldman for predicting that Trump was going to win (see his Deplorably, Trump is going to win).  Writing on September 11, Goldman said 'The presidential election was over the moment the word “deplorable” made its run out of Hillary Clinton’s unguarded mouth.'  Hilary had told a Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender fundraiser that 'half of Trump's supporters' belong in a 'basket of deplorables'. If you are going to toss 25% of the electorate into a basket of discards you needn't expect to get elected, no matter how much money you get to spend on the effort.

The post-event news commentaries have been entertaining.  I've also been following the street protests .  (I had the opportunity to plan to be in DC on 20 January 2017 for the inauguration, but instead I've chosen to be in Colorado, on the other side of the country.  I sense that on the streets of DC things won't be going too peacefully around that time.)

Some of the protestors seem completely disconnected from the real world.  I viewed a group of Latino students in New York chanting "The People, United, Will Never be Defeated" outside Trump Tower.  (This is a translation of a Spanish slogan from a movement which saw Marxist Salvador Allende elected as president of Chile in 1970.)  Of course the people of America are NOT united, and these students' cause had just been soundly defeated.  Another irony is that it was the rural workers who voted Trump into office. It was 'the people' who won the election. The highly educated monied elites, the city dwellers of America, who voted for Hilary Clinton in droves, and donated more than a billion dollars to her campaign, don't have a better right to be considered 'the people' than the rural workers of the manufacturing states who switched their votes away from the Democrats. The irony seemed lost on the protestors, who were on auto-pilot.   (And see my response below in response to 'Anonymous' re voting and income levels.)

Many have been warning about Trump's destructive march through the Republican party.  Instead it seems it is the Democrats who are in trouble.  Alienated from their traditional working class base, they have become the party of identity politics and IT millionaires. How will they regroup?

And what impact will Trump have on the 'workers' of Washingon DC? Or they on him?  It is a startling fact that of every 25 DC voters, 23 went for Clinton and only one for Trump. Most people in DC don't know anyone who voted for Trump.  The next worst result for Trump was Hawaii, where he at least managed to win a third of of the vote.  How can the whole District of Columbia deplore Trump so many more times than any other region in the US, even allowing for the significant proportion of black voters in DC? I'm guessing those who live inside the Beltway are not expecting beer and skittles under a Trump administration. It also seems that of all those in the US who have been out of touch with the movement that delivered Trump the presidency, the residents of Washington DC must be the most out of touch of all. 

America has just gone over one colossal speed bump.  We can be sure that many more bumps and reality checks lie ahead.  Whither America?  Only time will tell. 







6 comments:

  1. Dear Mark, it was the higher income earners who voted for Trump, not the poor: http://www.businessinsider.com.au/exit-polls-who-voted-for-trump-clinton-2016-11?r=US&IR=T

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    1. Dear Anon - thanks for this comment. I was interested to read those exit poll reports. This is what I make of them:

      I certainly don't mean to imply that as a whole the poor voted for Trump and the rich for Clinton. In fact the exit polls show the situation is complex. Re income levels: overall people with lower incomes voted for Clinton more; Trump did best with the mid-to-upper middle class – those with individual incomes of between $50K and $100K, and for people who earned over $100K per year income, Clinton and Trump were almost neck and neck, with Trump only slightly ahead. However even at income levels of over $250K, Trump was only 2% points ahead of Clinton. Much more significant than income levels were other factors including the rural vs. city distinction, gender, race and level of education (better educated people voted Democrate). The way these factors work together seem to be in tension. E.g. the level of education correlates strongly with income levels, but the poor and the higher educated preferred Clinton. It would be interesting to do a factor analysis: it may be that the income effects turn out to be largely reducible to other factors, such as the combined influences of race, educational level, gender and place of residence (city or rural). See also this comment from forbes.com: "At the same time, however, affluent voters — those making $100,000 and above — seem to have tilted over to the Democrats this year. This is the first time the “rich” have gone against the GOP since the 1964 Goldwater debacle. Obama did better among the wealthy, winning eight of the 10 richest counties in 2012. In virtually all these counties, Clinton did even better." (http://www.forbes.com/sites/joelkotkin/2016/11/09/donald-trumps-presidenti-victory-demographics/#6231597d79a8).

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    2. Older voters tended to choose Trump, and only about 20% of older voters have college degrees, while younger voters, 40% of whom have degrees, voted Clinton. These data strongly suggest that less education was not what made people vote Trump vote, as some news outlets are trying to conflate.

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  3. As usual, thank you, Mark.

    Simon

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  4. Political correctness as I see it is the greatest problem of our age. Who better to dismantle it than an icon of political incorrectness. Things feel more open already and I for one am optimistic.

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