American Elephants

A Truly Weird Electoral Season. by The Elephant's Child

They are voting in Indiana, and the polls will be closing soon. I do not understand this presidential campaign at all. We are told that the people are really angry. According to the media and Donald Trump, they are angry about illegal immigration, and unfair trade policy that is negatively affecting our country. According to exit polls, the people are not particularly concerned about immigration as it is far down the list of concerns, and majorities prefer a path to citizenship.

Mr. Trump is going to build a huge big wall. And he is going to put big tariffs on any country that isn’t being fair. He’s going to be nicer to our friends so we will be closer, but he will insist that they pay a larger share of  the cost of protecting them from radical Islam. He liked World War II and the Cold War, but is against any foreign adventures since.

What the people seem to be angry about is the economy, the lack of jobs, jobs going to immigrants, they are fearful about terrorism, angry about the ridiculous hooplah over women’s restrooms being open to men, the increased cost of ObamaCare, the lack of jobs and economic growth, and increased inflation while salaries have not risen at all. Jobs have vanished on coal country, employment is down in oil and gas country because of the drop in the price of oil, some manufacturing jobs have gone overseas because of high corporate taxes, and some high-tech jobs have gone to H1-B immigrants.

All of these problems are the direct result of policies of the Obama administration. The stimulus didn’t work. Republicans warned that ObamaCare was not going to work and would cost more, not less; every Republican voted against he initial law, and have voted to repeal the act five times, Obama has vetoed their efforts each time. Jobs have gone to offshore companies as a direct result of the highest corporate tax in the world. The rise of ISIS and the war in Syria and the Middle East is a direct result of Obama pulling the troops out of Iraq too soon. President Obama vowed early to bankrupt the coal companies, which he has done in a misguided and fruitless battle against catastrophic global warming which exists only in the computer programs of the IPCC. And in refusing to utter the words Islamic terrorism, Obama has skewed all of our perceptions of  the Middle East and what is happening.

So the people are furious with the Republicans? Huh?

They blame the policies of the Obama administration on the Republicans? They don’t think the Republicans have done enough to stop the administration?

This is the first time, as far as I know, when a President of the United States has deliberately decided that “he has a phone and a pen” and he will accomplish by executive order or actions of agencies whatever he wants, and that he will pay no attention to the Constitution of the United States of America, because he believes it to be a tired old document that needs repealing or fixing.  The remedies available are to proceed through the courts in one lawsuit or another or to impeach the president. The Republicans have voted to repeal ObamaCare five times, Obama has vetoed every bill.

Results are in from Indiana, and Donald Trump has enough votes that he will be the presumptive nominee, for he is sure to pick up enough from states like California and Washington, for example, from the remainder of states left.  Ted Cruz has suspended his campaign.

I am not and have not been a Trump supporter. I do not understand what they hope for from what little Mr. Trump has had to say in his speeches.  His supporters seem to put a lot of faith in “Make America Great Again”  and “America First” which was a discredited slogan from  the America First Committee which was highly non-interventionist in the days just before World War II. I guess they see it as patriotism and strength. I see it as lacking in evidence.

We’ll see. Mr. Trump hasn’t even released his tax returns, and is due to face trial for fraud regarding his promotion of Trump University.  But then the case against Hillary proceeds slowly as well. What a weird, weird electoral season.

4 Comments so far
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If you are confused by the election, it will be because the so called “mainstream media” which used to be the means for everyone to “know” what was happening, are no longer the mainstream in politics. Instead, most people are now most strongly influenced by the internet and social media.

And this is not because politics has moved online – but instead – people have discovered they can talk about what is important to them and not what is important to politicians and the (once) mainstream media.

Once, the public responded to what the mainstream media would deem important. Now, increasingly the (once) mainstream media are having to respond to issues that come from apparently nowhere on the internet.

So, if you are someone who lives amongst the (once) mainstream & political elite who still look to the (once) mainstream to gauge public opinion, you’ll be seeing issue after issue which has no resonance amongst the people you know, suddenly taking off despite a very very hostile reaction from those surrounding you.

You (the political “elite”) are no longer in control, there’s a feeling of a disconnect between what “those (once) in the know” of “public” opinion tell you the public “ought” to be interested in and the issues which the public (online) are actually interested in.

Indeed, whilst the (once) mainstream media could suggest there was a single thing called “public opinion”, now that the internet allows individuals to pick their own environment on the internet, many people now live entirely separate lives so that the internet is creating disparate communities each with their own “public opinion”. So, with the internet it would be more accurate to say: “public opinions”.


Comment by Scottish Sceptic

Sorry, I just accidentally deleted your other comment. The cat was sitting on the desk and spread herself out to be more comfortable and sprawled halfway over the keyboard. Everything started flipping around and it took me a few moments to realize what was happening. The “mainstream media” has become narrower and narrower, and farther left. Mr.Trump has become the biggest draw for the media because nobody knows what he will say or do next, and he makes good copy. It’s been estimated that he gets more free media attention than all the other candidates put together.

I mentioned the other day a book called Too Big To Know which is largely based on the idea that knowledge has become so fast, big and ephemeral that it is becoming too big for an individual to grasp or understand., and thus information (or knowledge) is moving to networks. Interesting concept. Our schools, on the other hand are shrinking what is taught. Handwriting is no longer thought necessary in the keyboard age, yet there is a little understood relationship between writing things down and real learning. Some Stanford University students petitioned to add Western Civilization back to the curriculum, but a larger number of students were opposed. Yet if you don’t know the basics of how our civilization came to be, little things like Magna Charta become unknowns. If you don’t understand the wars of religion and the Reformation — how do you vote on Scottish independence? Or on Brexit for that matter? The American media loves dividing people up by social classes —I just read a piece that referred to “working class people who work in a duck food manufacturing company in Northern Indiana.”

I think it’s a lot more complicated than so-called social classes. I think human beings are by nature tribal. We see a lot of that in the Middle East, but in America and parts of the West, they form their own tribes, whether political or religious, bridge clubs or soccer fans. The EU has tried to take a whole bunch of smaller nations who are unified by tradition, language, history, and custom and tried to blend them into a new and different community with other nations for whom all that is different, yet binding. Blend all that in with millions of (really tribal) migrants from the Middle East whose religion tells them that you all must accept their religion and their religious law.

Sometimes we can get a more honest appraisal of something going on in this country by reading the British press instead of our own. But then you have the people who don’t read any newspaper and just watch the network news occasionally before turning on a favorite program. We need to be teaching how to pay attention to and how to manage the news and information. Schools have always given a little attention to “lifetime learning” but few take it seriously.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

Note – there have always been different opinions for different local communities. But these local communities were represented by some local newspaper. And there have always been different “colours” of political view amongst newspapers. But these could (in the past) be simply boiled down to two or three main political parties.

What is different now, is that national and inter-national communities are developing with no representation by the traditional media and which do not align in any way with the traditional party structure.


Comment by Scottish Sceptic

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