Life

Two thoughts on the US election

Now that the worst has happened, I enjoyed this article about the outcome.

[E]veryone in America will always fall in line behind a winner.

I assure you that all of the GOP dissidents who denounced Trump are lining up to kiss the ring, no doubt emblazoned with a capital T in gold. They want to suck bits of bacon fat from his fingers. The drippings are sweet, darling, and Big Daddy’s got plently to spare. All you need to do is get on your knees.


I do not have any original thoughts on this subject; I suspect over a billion words have been written about Trump and Clinton. I just wanted to say two things.

Before I start, I will say that neither politician appeals to me in the slightest. Hillary Clinton is in the pocket of big business; is the continuation of a powerful but ineffectual political dynasty; and has every intention of maintaining the USA’s interventionist foreign policy that has gone so well in the last twenty years. Besides: the woman has been under investigation by the FBI during her campaign, which ought to have made her unelectable — apart from the fact that her opponent is Donald Trump. I can hardly bear to spell out why he’s toxic.

It distresses me more than I can say that — like almost everyone else I know — I want Hillary to win only because the alternative is so much worse.

Being a feminist does not mean voting for Hillary.

Feminism means treating everyone, of all genders, equally. So the idea of making your choice because of the candidates’ genders — i.e., voting for Hillary because she’s a woman — is not a feminist choice. Clinton will take better care of women than Trump in the social policy sphere — she’s a Democrat and believes in sensible things like abortion, birth control, and Obamacare — but economically she’ll continue to neglect the poor in favour of the rich. To take just one example, the fact that Wal-Mart is one of her biggest donors is not going to make her want to increase the minimum wage (which would benefit women much more than men).

Her trump card (ha, ha) may be that she’s not going to grab any woman by the pussy, but to say “I’m a feminist [therefore] #ImWithHer” is a false equivalence.

Vile as Trump is, he appeals to a group of people that every other politician doesn’t.

I want Hillary Clinton to win because I am a left-wing, socially democratic, middle-class, privileged white woman who is not American. But I know I’m not representative of her actual electorate.

The best explanation of this that I’ve found is from the author Paul Kingsnorth. Here is his blog on the subject. A quote:

“Hillary Clinton looks like a corrupt late Roman emperor, trying to buoy up a system of favour and patronage which is bleeding her outposts dry. Donald J. Trump looks like a barbarian hammering at her gates. Whether you would like to be governed by the emperor or the barbarian probably depends on how much you benefit from the emperor’s largesse, and how much you trust the barbarian not to turn on you once he has finished with the Praetorian Guard. But it probably also comes down to whether you have anything left to lose.”

It’s this group of people that voted for Brexit: the same group that are sick of austerity, globalisation, jobs going offshore, falling living standards, and big business. The group of people who lose out from free trade.

Here is another article about them, this time from a journalist; a quote:

“There is another way to interpret the Trump phenomenon. A map of his support may coordinate with racist Google searches, but it coordinates even better with deindustrialization and despair, with the zones of economic misery that 30 years of Washington’s free-market consensus have brought the rest of America.”

Kingsnorth: “It probably also comes down to whether you have anything left to lose.” They don’t. And if he does win, among all the racism and bigotry and generally ruining of the American Dream, the thinnest sliver of a silver lining will be if he improves these people’s lives.