Winners and Losers

It didn’t take long for the racist and misogynist horrors of Trump World to emerge, but despite this, much post-election punditry has focussed on the economic suffering of the Rust Belt states that delivered him victory, on what this says about the American national mood, and on how the Democrats and the world should account for it. In the Guardian, for example, Thomas Piketty wrote: “Let it be said at once: Trump’s victory is primarily due to the explosion in economic and geographic inequality in the United States over several decades and the inability of successive governments to deal with this.”

There’s only one way in which I can see the implications of such a statement as tolerable, and it isn’t that Democrats should pander to misogyny and white racism. It’s that economic and geographic inequality has become a feedback loop driving people from depressed regions to the metropoles—the ambitious, the educated, the young, the persecuted, attracted by a more welcoming culture and more opportunities to get ahead—and that this has increased the cultural and political differences between states and regions over time. If the major cities of the Midwest and Rust Belt were twice the size they are today and the coastal metropoles were correspondingly smaller, we wouldn’t see these extremes of opportunity and opinion. This is just as true of Britain or Australia as it is of the US, and I suspect of many other countries as well.

But this explanation of difference doesn’t explain the mood of the American people as seen last Tuesday. It’s frustrating to see so many analyses that try to explain why the Democrats failed to capture it when we know that Hillary Clinton will end up way ahead in the popular vote, and this despite legislated voter-suppression and suspicions of interference in key states favouring Republicans. Hillary won the vote and lost the election, which means that she spoke more to the mood of the American people despite all the obstacles in her way, and it’s the electoral system that’s broken. Talking about how we need to pay more attention to the people in small states because those are the rules of the game effectively accepts that a person living in California or New York is worth less than a person in Wisconsin, and screw that. And I say that as someone born and raised in a small state.

The right is already attempting to rewrite this history, because although they’re happy to reap the spoils either way, they want the legitimacy that appearing to have won the popular vote confers. The only dismal consolation of last week’s result is that they don’t have it.

America, I’m afraid, has thrown away the right to stand as an example of democracy and how it should be done, no matter how peaceful a transition the Obama White House attempts to effect. I say “I’m afraid” because I’m genuinely fearful that no country anywhere is now capable of holding that democratic authority (or at least of having a reasonable claim to it), and we’re all now stumbling around in the dark.

Adapted from a MetaFilter comment.

17 November 2016 · Politics

Trump World

My son drew this on the whiteboard in my office when he visited it a couple of months ago, and I’d kept it there ever since.

Read More · 10 November 2016 · 2 Comments · Politics

Worst-Case Scenario

I was born in January 1968. I’ve lived through two Nixon victories, two Reagan victories, and two George W. Bush victories, albeit at a remove.

This is the worst US federal election outcome of my lifetime. The worst in the English-speaking world, probably, considering that only one other of those countries has nukes. At least Thatcher was passingly sane.

Racism and misogyny won. Now we have four more years of hearing that man speak, and all his deplorable surrogates, when I was so hoping never to hear from them again after today.

There isn’t much more to say right now. Maybe another time.

9 November 2016 · Politics

End of Days

Hillary Clinton has been a phenomenal candidate.

Her campaign-closing ads: The Story of Her, The Story of Us, Tomorrow.

Her legacy in Arkansas says more than a thousand emails.

Trump’s substitute reality, as seen in his closing ad.

Trump’s extremist supporters feel like winners either way.

I want Hillary Clinton to be president. And I want to understand why.

It’s incredible that this recording even exists.

And, because the rest of the world still exists:

The irrational downfall of Park Geun-hye.

Before the Flood.

8 November 2016 · 1 Comment · Politics

Smash, Bash, Crash

Political ennui isn’t the only reason I haven’t posted here much over the past couple of months. The other is a couple of spectacular smashes and their knock-on effects.

Read More · 6 November 2016 · Journal

Choose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

The T2 Trainspotting trailer (which looks great) introduced me to Wolf Alice, whose debut album I now can’t stop listening to. The perfect soundtrack for some miscellaneous links...

Read More · 6 November 2016 · Weblog

But Wait, There’s Brexit

It’s all too depressing, but here are some links from the past month about the other Atlantic ship-of-state-wreck. One highlight was Theresa May’s claim that “if you’re a citizen of the world, then you’re a citizen of nowhere”. As an immigrant to the UK, I wonder if that makes me a dual citizen of nowhere.

Read More · 6 November 2016 · Politics

The Wall

The ugly American · Former models for Trump’s agency say they violated immigration rules and worked illegally · What it’s like to be a female reporter covering Trump · How Trump’s “Apprentice” moved from capitalism to sexism · What Mike Pence thinks vs. what Donald Trump says · Donald Trump pulling flags out of his nose · Supercut of every time Donald Trump says his own name · On banter, bonding and Donald Trump · America’s therapists are worried about Trump’s effect on your mental health · If you support Trump, I already know seven things about you · The 281 people, places and things Trump has insulted on Twitter · Donald Trump is the first demagogue of the Anthropocene · The insane things you’ve forgotten about Trump’s campaign · A veteran spy has given the FBI information alleging a Russian operation to cultivate Donald Trump · Trump’s companies destroyed emails in defiance of court orders · Trump used legally dubious method to avoid paying taxes · Whatever is actually in Trump’s tax returns is worse than what the New York Times says · The FBI is Trumpland · How Macedonia became a global hub for pro-Trump misinformation · Why Trump is different · A bully, fraud and incompetent who has wrecked countless lives · Ted Cruz’s dangerous and offensive new threat · What is really at stake on election day · The white flight of Derek Black · The lousy reason I didn’t vote in 1968—and why Sanders supporters shouldn’t fall for it · Republicans are now vowing Total War · CEO gets death threats for giving jobs to refugees · Hostility toward women is one of the strongest predictors of Trump support · Stop pretending you don’t know why people hate Hillary Clinton · Clinton’s critics know she’s guilty, they’re just trying to decide what she’s guilty of · Three reasons to vote for Hillary Clinton that have nothing to do with Hillary Clinton · These Wikileaks emails prove just what a monster Hillary Clinton is[n’t] · The Clinton rules and the media’s ghastly failure to inform the public · Hillary Clinton interviewed by an 11-year-old · Why is Hillary Clinton so widely loved?

Only a few more days of this. Until whatever comes next...

6 November 2016 · Politics

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