I have just returned to NZ after a month traveling in the US. While there I spent a fair bit of time talking with political friends and former colleagues, and it has been refreshing to see that there are plenty of people who see the situation for what it is rather than succumb to the uncritical and conservative media-induced notion that Donald Trump represents a genuine alternative to the political status quo and a real hope for positive change.
Now that he has chosen a troglodyte conservative white male governor from one of the most reactionary states as his Vice Presidential running mate, the die has been cast for one of the most remarkable acts of party self-destruction in modern times. That will become apparent over the next few days as the Republican convention unfolds in Cleveland. Expect riots both inside and outside the convention arena, and with less than a handful of significant senior national level Republicans and at least four (other) Trumps on the speakers list, this could be one of the best inbred political dog and pony shows ever seen. Let the fireworks begin!
I shall write more on the US elections between now and November (when the general election is held). For the moment here is a NZ radio interview I did while in the US that covers some recent developments.
Do you think we’re likely to see a result that mirrors the Brexit and Australian elections? The disaffected voting in large numbers for the anti establishment candidate.
I think that the parallels between Trump and foreign election/referendum campaigns are overdrawn. His core support base–older white males with high school educations and blue collar labor skills–is no more than 20 percent of the general electorate (if that). His desperate attempt to court conservative voters by naming Pence as his VP candidate will just drive most non-conservative voters away. Since most traditional conservatives know that Trump is not a genuine conservative and Pence will be an opportunistic yes man, they may not take the bait.
Proof of the conservative distaste for Trump is evident in the recently announced Republican Convention policy platform, which contradicts his stetted positions on a number of social issue alike gay rights. A conspiracy theorist might think that this is the RNC’s way of undermining him at the convention in an effort to draft a last minute alternative. Add to that the failure of the Benghazi and email investigates of Clinton and the public effort to “unbind” delegates at the GOP convention, and you get a sense that Trump is seen more as a threat to his own party than he is to “Crooked Hillary.”
Other disaffected groups supported Sanders, who has now publicly endorsed Clinton and asked his followers to get behind her. Even if the Greens take some of that vote, Trump has continued to alienate pretty much every other demographic needed to win in a country with a majority female and increasingly non-white constituency. Plus the Libertarian candidate will provide a sluice option on the rightwing side of the ballot that will siphon support away from him.
Moreover, because the GOP has fractured over his candidacy, it is lukewarm at best to finance and send “volunteers” to his campaign. So the odds appear to be stacked against a massive unified turnout of disaffected voters in his favour.
Instead, what seems more likely is a landslide loss on his part, which is why the GOP are desperately trying to separate his fortunes from those of GOP candidates “down ticket” vying for Senate, House and Governor seats. With a 3-4 seat shift the Democrats can win back the Senate, and as I said in the interview, that has serious implications for Supreme Court nominations for years to come.
Who will Hillary pick as VP do you think? And why?
All well and good. I suspect David Cameron’ s and Malcolm Turnbull’s pollsters would have said much the same. The doubts still nags me, though.
I’ll be surprised if Hillary doesn’t win by at least 10%. Which would be pretty big considering how ossified politics has become.
Also, “rallies”, lol.
I doubt it will be Elizabeth Warren because the US is not ready for an all female ticket and Warren is too progressive for the elites (although she could well get a cabinet position in a Clinton administration and is currently serving as an excellent attack surrogate against Trump). Clinton has a number of good Hispanic male choices that would balance the ticket and solidify the Hispanic vote (and other non-caucasian blocs). So I am inclined to believe that she will use that option, or perhaps Corey Booker, the African-American mayor of Newark.
Stephen: Remember that in the US the type of xenophobic nationalism that fuelled the Brexit vote is quite limited in comparison and confined to a statistical minority of voters. In spite of what you may see and hear at Trump rallies, that sort of appeal simply does not have the traction that it gained in England. I am with James Green on this one: Clinton could well win by ten or more percentage points. The best comparison is gong to be with Goldwater versus Johnson in 1964.
Thanks Pablo, my next question would be how far down ticket will the anti GOP vote go? Enough to swing Congress and/or the Senate?
I believe that the GOP will lose the Senate (only a 3-4 seat shift will do that) and retain the House, but with a much slimmer majority that could well be less than the 2/3rds needed to override a presidential veto. Gloomy days ahead for the reactionaries.
Well Pablo, even when your wrong, as usual, you Trotter, and people like the Kenyan, on the right of history. I mean the left side, no, I mean the progressive side, no I mean the regressive side. The socialist side that is going to meet its maker all over the world. Venezuela and soon.
Nationalism and social conservatism is coming to a country near you.
Australia. Hansen/ Katter/ Xenophon/ Day/ various other social conservatives in the Senate.
And Britain, now what happened to Cameron, oh yes thatâ€™s right he was a wet fish AGW double faced pansy as well.
A traitor really. Being replaced by a woman on the wrong side of history, the Conservative side. A Christian. Oh dear how disgusting.
Hungary / Sweden / France / Belgium/ Netherlands/ Hungary/ Germany/ all swinging right Pablo.
And Trump, has done more to awaken the American people since that insane warmonger Lincoln invaded the South
And made up his sanctity as he killed hundreds of thousands. . I hope Trump tears down his statue.
Cameron gone, Herr Merkel and the Kenyan soon.. The Clintons are both sick, they will die soon enough
In my opinion the Clinton foundation is an evil.
Brexit came about because people did not want to be governed by an unelected monster bureaucracy. They thought they would try self determination again, something utterly anathema to socialists.
And of course being on the right side you people say , well it was a minority vote. Only a progressive can think like that.
They won the referendum because they are stupid, and old, and an uneducated racist, redneck, coarse minority.
They should not have the vote. In fact we will have another referendum till they get it right. Our right.
You are a pompous and condescending bunch indeed Pablo.
And true, people would like to close the gates on those hundreds of thousands of lone wolves Pablo.
[ a matter of local Police work you said ].
Local police work against lone wolf attacks It is an invader. A Stone age, aggressive, rabid, fast breeding and destructive, Islam.
But don’t worry about New Zealand, Pablo. We are going to change the Immigration process after the next election.
And it is because people want to live in families, and communities they can trust.
Thanks Paul, for the contribution. Good to have you back and in fighting form.
Pablo, I think ,Clintons VP selection is about portraying a safe pair of hands, and it utterly fails to understand the mood of the electorate….
I kept wondering who Paul was referring to when he repeatedly said “the Kenyan”. It too me a while to realize he meant Obama. He was referring to Obama wasn’t he?
This is her predictable turn to the centre, which may or may not work in this election. OTH, with an unpredictable and irrational GOP candidate for president, perhaps that is a reassurance that most undecided voters need. Needless to say the Bernie camp is pissed and once again threatening to withhold their votes for her.
I also like the fact that the DNC emails released by wikileaks that show how it colluded with Clinton to do Bernie in (is anyone surpassed by this given that he just joined the party last year in order to run in the primaries?) were purportedly provided by Russian hackers. That dovetails nicely with this: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/trump-putin-yes-it-s-really-a-thing
EA: Do you mean Rand Paul? Or Paul Ryan? I do not recall them referring to any Kenyan.