An analysis of the Trump election victory.
A few days ago, all the pundits and experts were telling the world that there was no way Trump could win and assuring us with 95% certainty that Hillary Clinton was going to win. Now, exactly the same bunch of media-savvy, televisual, every fang capped, not a harsh word of disagreement between the lot of them, irrelevanceroes and irrelevancettes are telling us with equal certainty how he won and she lost.
And we’re supposed to be stoopid enough to listen to the people we ignored before the election? Are they for real? They were wrong then and they’re wrong now.
I’m gonna tell you in my own opinionated way why he actually won and why she actually lost, and contrary to the soundbite infolite explanations being rammed down your throat in the mainstream media, there were several factors at work, nearly all of which the political pundits and pollsters of the media were totally ignorant of before the election, and still persist in not seeing in its aftermath.
Like a number of political bloggers, I’ve been drawing attention for a long time to the developing popular forces which would make the 2016 result or something like it inevitable at some point. If you hear the faint refrain of a brass section as you read this piece, it’s just me taking the opportunity to blow my own trumpet.
Brexit was a foreshock of the earthquake which was going to hit America with Trump’s election win, but the reasons behind it were very much the same.
Having done the longish prologue and thereby disposed of the TLDR snowflakes with their reading age of twelve and the brain-damaged attention span of a fly who has already forgotten the pane of glass they crashed head first into 1.2 seconds ago, let’s all gather in the library and begin the grand denouement with the ever popular blame game.
Names will be named, blame will be apportioned, the guilty will skip away scot-free and as usual the innocent will be punished severely. There are of course no innocents, since they’re still guilty, if only because they were careless enough to allow themselves to become victims. Life is cruel, and then you have to banish yourself to Canada.
The first guilty one is Barack Obama. He was elected on a wave of euphoria to dispel the not quite yet runt end of the Bush dynasty and a policy slogan that consisted of nothing more than we can do it, but actually nobody quite knew what the “it” was and therefore how it was to be done. As it turned out, the it consisted of nothing better than standing transfixed like a deer in the road at night while the headlights of successive crises bore down on him and he wimped out every time.
All the big dictators in the world and even the little tin-pot ones who made tinny but big noises in social media, sniffed that weakness about him as all predators naturally do and his selections for Secretary of State to take the heat off him in dealing with such nasty people didn’t improve the situation.
First up was Hillary Clinton who was prone to advocating regime change and war, but could also be bribed fairly easily via hubby’s Foundation but she was eventually fired by Obama after simply too many foreign policy disasters and when her usage of an office of state for pay-to-play access became too outrageous, even by the standards of the notoriously corrupt Clintons. She was replaced by the totally inept but supposedly harmless John Kerry.
This bozo’s thumb was so far up his butt hole, he genuinely believed that global warming was the biggest threat to America, rather than boring things like plain old terrorism that had already killed three thousand Americans or an expansionist Putin rolling up the Ukraine like it was the Sudetenland in the good old days.
Needless to say, he was dispatched off to Antarctica on a fact-finding mission for the duration of the recent election. One loose cannon at a time, please. If America ever dodged a bullet, it was him losing in a previous presidential race.
After eight years of spineless incompetents in charge of it and major U-turns every few years driven by foreigners just saying No, American foreign policy, like its prestige, sunk to new lows around the world. You needed some money? Just do what the Iranians do, kidnap a few Yanks and the Great Satan will cough up millions to get them back, though it’ll be disguised as some sort of foreign aid donation.
There was no way the media could put a positive spin on that disastrous state of affairs, though they tried to project it as a new cuddly caring America, but the average American didn’t like the situation. There is still only one superpower in the world, and why it had to constantly apologise for its existence and eat a steady diet of humble crow from various arsecracks around the world didn’t sit well with them either.
At the end of Obama’s first term, I couldn’t escape that nagging feeling he was just someone so completely out of his depth, he just desperately wanted someone, anyone, to relieve him of the responsibility of having to make hard decisions that would almost certainly result in someone shouting at him whatever he did.
He had that desperate cornered creature look, but there was to be no escape. The neo-liberal media knew it was them single-handedly who’d got themselves a real black elected as president, and they were determined he’d run for another four years and they’d beatify him at the end of it.
Against a background of an ignored middle America consisting of blue-collar Whites, Blacks and Latinos who were buggered if they could see what he’d done for them, if anything, the media went full on adulation, the cult of personality as the Communists call it bloomed and got him re-elected despite the Democratic vote falling.
The sheer totality of the all singing, all dancing media snow job had convinced any opposition that even turning up at a voting booth would be a futile gesture, but the unnoticed dark spot of sin at the heart of that accomplishment was that a lot of Democratic voters didn’t bother to turn up either, since every organ of the media was trumpeting (no pun intended) Obama as a shoo in. He was duly shooed in and another four years of massively accomplishing nothing much of note ensued.
Alarm bells should have been going off in several quarters, but they were drowned out in the general euphoria of believing that since everyone moving in their political/media circle found it an agreeable result, it therefore represented the will of the American people.
It didn’t. Far from it.
It represented nothing more than moneyed interests and the media getting their way and the virtual capitulation of what’s now called the great forgotten in the democratic process, since obviously it was a whippy dippy juggernaut of the twenty-first century and they were by now the surplus to requirements people, elements of humanity laying by the trackside of a glorious, prosperous country like a train hammering along past them at breakneck speed, which somehow seemed to have bypassed their dying local communities.
Though few were aware of it, his re-election marked the high water point of a monolithic media’s influence and power to distort a nation’s political narrative to suit a liberal agenda. There was still at that point an implicit trust that the mass media were somehow impartial in the finest tradition of journalism. This simply wasn’t true, and Obama’s unexpected re-election when people compared notes on why he was pretty useless, began the steady deterioration of trust in it, and trust once lost is never quite regained.
Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate he defeated was advocating nothing startling in terms of policy and indeed was so middle of the road on most controversial issues, that he could have run on a Democratic ticket. From the viewpoint of the forgotten people, there was actually no difference between politicians of the left or right, except the media could always be relied to push the Democrat cause while at the same coming down hard on whichever anodyne suit on wheels the Republicans were currently rolling out.
Not only in America, but around the world, people became disillusioned with a mainstream politics, which seemed to offer nothing but a choice between virtual clones, whose policies while pandering to various vanishing small minorities, did nothing to alleviate the problems the general populace were having to contend with.
Indeed, if you were concerned with mass immigration and the resulting plunge in your wages, you were howled down by the mob as a racist. Whatever it was that concerned you and didn’t agree with what appeared to have become the all-powerful state’s official line, there was a knee-jerk insult ending in “ist” to dismiss you.
The simple reality is that if you spend years screaming racist, sexist, homophobe, bigot, Neanderthal or whatever at people who don’t agree with your patently superior view, they become resistant to such abuse. You may have howled them down and banned their access to the mainstream media to express themselves, but they haven’t gone away and inevitably all you’re doing is building up a well of smouldering frustration which will express itself in the end.
It wasn’t just trust in the media which was damaged, but also the reputations of several institutions which had hitherto been perceived as the objective guardians of the rights and freedoms of the common people, because they were supposed to be invulnerable to grubby political machinations or pressures.
The Attorney General, the highest law officer in America and the head of the Department of Justice (DoJ), was caught flying into an airport and in a secluded part of it boarding the private jet of Bill Clinton for a harmless discussion in which everyone was supposed to believe the then running investigation of his wife Hillary wasn’t mentioned. Immediately after this innocuous meeting, she flew directly back to Washington.
A fish, as the proverb says, rots from the head down, and WikiLeaks uncovered emails from people inside the DoJ breaking every conceivable rule of ethical behaviour for officers of the court by briefing the Clinton campaign on the progress of investigations into the Foundation and the Clintons.
The reputation of the FBI may never recover from what was seen not only externally but also internally by its own people as political interference in prosecuting offences for which anyone else in the country but Clinton would have been tried. The director Comey called off the first investigation after rumours of political pressure and suffered a wave of resignations from the FBI in protest. He then reinstated the investigation for a number of days before calling it off again.
The message hometown America took away from the behaviour of people running the DoJ and the FBI was that there was one law for the little people like them, and another law for rich and powerful people like the Clintons. That was a huge thing for an America that swore allegiance to the flag in the sure and certain conviction that nobody was above the law. They’d kicked that idea out with George III.
I’ve heard it said that in the wake of the election result and the revelations of its shameless acts of partisanship which went diametrically against any idea of journalistic ethics, the mainstream media is dead. It’s not dead, but the unquestioning trust it once enjoyed from middle America is – and after losing that, the writing is pretty much on the wall, albeit a few lingering years hence. In its current irredeemable shape, I can see it slowly fading away.
It’s extraordinary behaviour was revealed by WikiLeaks. It and prominent individuals disgraced themselves by doing things like leaking live debate questions in advance, asking the Democratic campaign what questions they could pin Trump with and worse, but what really came across was them working hand in glove with the Clinton campaign and determined to sink the Trump one.
The incisive investigative reporting it should have been doing was completely absent, and yet again that function had to be performed by the young Turks of the new media in the shape of Project Veritas, whose covert penetration and videos of Democratic party associates plotting criminal activities to get Clinton elected revealed the dark underbelly of an organisation whose driving directive was to win by any means possible, whether legal or not. It revealed a dirty side of politics that most people found simply cynical and repulsive.
The central problem is the people supposed to be journalists are deeply compromised by the notion that the end justifies the means. You only print good spin on the people and policies you approve of, while suppressing the reporting of anything negative. On the other side of the coin, while dealing with people and policies you don’t approve of, you make sure to print nothing but negative stories, whether true or not, and anything good ends up on the spike.
I used the adjective irredeemable because the Soviet style, think alike, herd mentality is the result of conditioning in tertiary education, where only a liberal viewpoint on any controversial topic is tolerated, and it’s for that reason it’s often called the legacy media by the upstarts of the internet journalism age. They simply know they’re fighting for a higher cause rather than doing fuddy-duddy, old-fashioned journalism.
In America as elsewhere, the printed truth has now become a very malleable concept, possibly because Bill Clinton relaxed the monopoly legislation around media ownership, resulting in it all being concentrated in the hands of only four massive companies who operate quite comfortably with each other. What sort of kickback Bill got out of that concession is yours to speculate on.
What’s truly appalling is that the media world-wide has the same attitudes and the same dismissive way of dealing with dissenting viewpoints.
The pollsters, like the all-knowing political pundits, ended up with egg all over their face. How could such a glittering assemblage of political expertise honed to a fine point by years of experience inside and outside election campaigns have got it so badly wrong?
The short answer is they’re not all-knowing but mainly media people with enough of a smattering of political vocabulary to sound authoritative. They’re only knowledgeable about business as usual politics, if that, and both suffer from the almost incurable habit of only talking to each other or people in their strata rather than Bob the Builder or Betty the Waitress.
If they been bothered enough to get off their lazy backsides and away from a computer screen for one evening a week, they’d soon have seen the “surprise” the electorate was going to give them, and contrary to the latest conspiracy theory doing the rounds in the aftermath of the election, none of Trump’s voters were proclaiming themselves to be Democrats until they got inside the polling booth and double crossed everyone. Their evolution of their voting intentions was always there to be heard, if only the pundits had listened in the right places.
All these supposed wizards of political prophecy had to do was find an ordinary bar or diner off main street frequented by ordinary people; the kind with absolutely zero chance of bumping into one of their esteemed colleagues. If they made a few friends there, or just listened to the conversations around them, they’d have seen the lit fuse sizzling its way towards the dynamite conclusion of the election.
They forgot the cardinal rule of any research – always go for raw data and process it yourself, otherwise you’re just as likely to be working on someone else’s assumptions and errors. They didn’t and judging by their ridiculous excuses for their piss poor performance, they won’t in future either. You can safely ignore them.
Again, they’re another group whose reputation for impartiality has been severely compromised in this election. If you know something about the statistical processing of raw data, which I do, it wasn’t a long stretch to see how they’d been massaging the results by various devious means, to the point where their polls while being essentially debased, pointed without exception to a Clinton victory.
Even allowing for a blanket ownership of the mainstream media, the Democratic party should have known better than to sandbag the only change candidate their own deeply disenchanted followers longed for, Bernie Sanders. As is shown yet again by the Wikeleaks material, they conspired with Clinton and her campaign to get him shunted out of the primaries phase, and succeeded in doing exactly that.
When you add in the dirty tricks the party was up to such as paying people to turn up at Trump rallies and be violent, bussing in phoney voters, accepting contributions knowing full well that they were in contravention of Electoral Laws and so much more, so bloody grubby much more, the party really needs to have a stiff house clean, but I fear they’re faced with an Augean Stable task.
To a smaller extent, the Republican party revealed itself to have become a weak pushover in the face of the Trump steam roller. Their determination and failure to run their preferred type of losing candidate against Clinton nearly resulted in a schism of the party. Yet again in this election cycle, supposedly politically savvy people acted like petulant children, resulting in a uniquely tepid support of their presidential candidate.
The standout individuals of that party such as Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani who supported Trump loyally once he’d won the nomination will do well in his new administration, but as for the rest, they’re doomed to four years in the wilderness. What they’re about to find out is when you cross Donald Trump you do so at your own risk, because he doesn’t do kiss and forget. Not ever.
The real problem with both parties was that they wanted to do business as usual in the face of an electorate who were asking for change. The democrats got away with running their establishment candidate, but they were so out of touch with down home America that they couldn’t see that the Clinton brand, whether sporting bollocks or a vagina, was quite simply so toxic with large swathes of the electorate that no amount of media spin could perfume its pathway into the White House.
Let’s turn to the man of the moment, President-elect Donald Trump, because he’s the most enigmatic and puzzling person in the whole sorry tale. Given the dearth of accurate information about him and the sheer volume of deliberate misinformation courtesy of the debased mainstream media, researching him has been an interesting but challenging experience.
For someone who came to public prominence on a reality TV show, he simply doesn’t leak personal information, which is a trait I found intriguing. Stopping people who’re running for public office talking about themselves is usually a monumental task in itself. The enigma that’s Trump simply doesn’t do that. He’s more prone to listen than talk in one to one situations, again an unusual pattern, but at the end of all the listening, a snap but shrewd decision is made.
He’s an amazingly private person. The straight names and dates stuff about him is all there and easily findable, but scratching beneath the surface to find out what actually makes him tick takes some real sleeves-rolled-up determined research. There are nuggets of personal information about him scattered in out of the way places, but invariably by people he’d helped out quietly. They do attest to a strong character with some deep motivations that’ll keep driving him onwards. He’ll never retire.
Getting an idea of the true character of any person is a process of collecting small personal but telling details about them. It’s like gathering pieces of a puzzle and fitting them together to get a picture beneath the presentation surface of them. He neither drinks nor smokes, which are unusual attributes for a man in high-stakes business. It’s a puzzling detail which when you do enough deep-dive research into him you find an older brother whom he adored but who killed himself on alcohol, smoking and other excesses.
You may have noticed in his acceptance speech, everyone in the family got a mention, including that decades-gone brother. His history is he never abandons a loved one or a friend, even a dead one.
He comes from money, but by New York standards, a modest amount of money and certainly not what’s called old money – it was all earned by his Dad who showed him the essentials of how to do business. Although he’s always moved easily in that well-heeled NY circle, he’s been sociable enough but he never appeared to settle into it comfortably. As a businessman and entrepreneur, he’s had his fair share of booms and busts, and perhaps having looked into the abysses a few times, he’d be one of the very few of the ultra rich who knew what losing it all felt like.
Look at the picture above, he’s wearing a thousand dollar suit and the working men surrounding him are what’s commonly called shitkickers or construction workers in ground zero America, the real backbone America, and yet he’s as comfortable with them as they are with him. Not many billionaires can pull that one off.
If you want to get a feel for him, ignore everything that’s been written about him and instead just watch his major speeches in their entirety. It’s not high oratory, never Lincolnesque, but you can feel the connection he makes with his listeners and their connection back to him. In the end, people went to his rallies because the word of mouth about him was just go and see the frigging guy for yourself, and to hell with what the media was saying about him. While towards the end of the campaign Hillary had to have crowds photoshopped into her rally pictures, trump was filling successively larger venues.
Despite the Clinton campaign’s more virtuous than thou catch phrase of “when they go low, we go high” the reverse is actually true. If they could find a low blow to hit him with or simply had to make one up, they used it. He on the other hand never said a word about the obviously fragile medical condition of Hillary Clinton. When the Clinton campaign insisted on a stool for her, and him having to have one too as a prerequisite to one of the debates, he acceded to the request without comment.
A campaign aide suggested that a few minutes into the debate he should make a show of moving his stool to the back of the platform, leaving her with the stark choice of either stumbling around the stage unsupported or keeping hold of the chair, Trump replied – that’s their way of doing business, it’s not mine. The stools stayed where they were for the debate.
That’s decent but it’s also very classy. He’s always massively determined to win, but not at the price of breaking his own standards of conduct.
Everyone knows for sure a lot of false information about Trump, but there’s two things all the people who actually know him agree on. The first is that he’s a loyal friend, almost to a fault. He uses his money to help out individuals he meets and never uses such private generosity for publicity purposes. He’s been hurt on several occasions by people mistaking his kindness as some invitation to abuse it, and throwing a media tizzy when he cut them off.
The second is, if you cross him, he’s relentless and will make it his business to get even with you in the end, no matter how long that might take. A very pertinent example will illustrate this. Out of the blue in 2011, Obama invited Trump to attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. It was an ambush. In what was possibly the most tasteless display of presidential authority to publically humiliate a private individual, Obama delivered a carefully rehearsed script intended to do nothing more than crush Trump.
It was an ill-judged twenty-minute piece of self-indulgence as well as the worst mistake of Obama’s entire life. If there’s one thing I’m sure he’d like to take back from his entire presidency, that bad bad decision to humiliate Trump in a room full of hundreds of people would be it, and you could see it on his face last Thursday when they met for the ritual presidential handover pleasantries.
Trump sat through the whole humiliation in granite-like silence surrounded by hundreds of the great and the good of Washington who were having a good old snigger at his expense, but I’m willing to bet you that experience was the moment Trump decided to run for president, if only to disassemble every shred of that decidedly modest set of accomplishments referred to as Obama’s legacy.
Climate change action, the EPA, cosy government funding of quasi-political activist organisations, lavish funding of UN white elephants, reversing every executive order with a stroke of the pen – he won’t leave two bricks of Obama’s legacy stacked atop of each other, and when he’s finished, he’ll bulldoze the bricks and dust of it all into the Hudson river; and nobody of consequence will care.
They’re not sniggering now.
Related articles by Pointman: