US Presidential election special

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters as he takes the stage for a campaign event in Dallas, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

The big hangover from Donald Trump’s White House victory … what the Trump presidency means for Americans and the world … critical differences between Trumpeteers and Brexiteers … the impact on Oz

The US will remain divided

The shock waves from President-elect Donald Trump’s victory are only the start of a global political, economic and military tsunami. Despite a strenuous campaign to introduce a “kiss-and-make-up-Kumbaya” flavour to Trump’s ascendancy, the reality is that his election has fundamentally altered the future history of the 21st century.

The once unassailable American empire is floundering; it is deeply divided, phenomenally indebted and openly disrespected and distrusted around the world.

Trump’s inauguration in January, along with control of the Senate and the House of Representatives, gives him iron-handed powers normally found among odious dictatorships. Americans who voted for Hillary Clinton, and her worldwide supporters, are in a state of despair. Their dream of celebrating Barack Obama’s presidency with a mould-breaking first female president has been smashed.

Their pain has been aggravated by the fact that Mrs Clinton was defeated by such a disreputable crook, a billionaire real estate huckster whose well-documented views are deeply xenophobic, misogynistic, philistine, anti-science and anti-intellectual.

If Mrs Clinton was the best qualified person ever to stand for the presidency, Trump was the least qualified. In any other country in the world this reactionary buffoon would have been laughed off or booed off the stage. In the good old USA he triumphed.

That fact goes to the heart of the question – how did he do it?

Trumpism is different from Brexit

Shallow-minded angry American Democrats believe Trump’s victory was due to the “deplorables” when they should be examining the role of the Democratic Party, a bourgeois party which operates in a corrupt alliance with Washington’s power elite, New York’s Wall Street, Hollywood’s film and TV moguls and reactionary trade union leaders who work hand-in-glove with corporate America.

The problem with blaming “deplorables” for Mrs Clinton’s defeat is that it equates Trump’s reactionary cheer squad with the white working class voters and white university graduates who delivered him his victory.

Here are the statistics: Trump secured 61% of white working class votes and 54% of male university graduates voted for him, as did 45% of female college graduates. These are not people who share Trump’s reactionary views, but they have felt compelled to vote Republican in an uncontrolled outburst of anger, frustration and desperation.

That’s what they share with many in the north of England who voted for Brexit on June 23. Most had nothing in common with the far right Tories and Nigel Farage of UKIP who led the Leave campaign. Just as Brexiteers were from contradictory political standpoints, so are Trumpeteers, and they should not be regarded as homogeneous.

Anyone genuinely against Trumpism will start with a scorching critique of the pro-Wall Street Democratic machine and move forward from there.

The Trump agenda

Since winning the Republican nomination months ago, Trump, his family and cronies have been developing their action plan for the presidency. The inner-cabinet will contain such reactionary elements as Rudy Giuliani (attorney-general), Dr Ben Carson (Health Secretary), New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (Homeland Security) and Sean Hannity of Fox News (White House director of communications). Other candidates include former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, two former Republican governors, Sarah Palin (Alaska) and Mike Huckabee (Arkansas), a Christian fundamentalist nicknamed “Mr Total Conservative”, and Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus.

Stephen K Bannon
Stephen K Bannon

But allow me to introduce his main strategist – Stephen K Bannon, “CEO” (sic) of the Trump campaign. A former banker with Goldman Sachs, Bannon is the current boss of the far right online propaganda service, Breitbart, founded by Andrew Breitbart who died four years ago. Bannon’s personal wealth runs into tens of millions of dollars, largely derived from royalties in the hit comedy show, Seinfeld.

Team Trumps’ main objectives will be to repeal Obamacare, stack the Supreme Court with reactionary law makers, slash company tax from its current 35%, build a wall between the US and Mexico, entrench gun ownership, promote privatisation and scrap/rewrite current free trade agreements.

Launching military strikes against Syria and/or North Korea are both on the cards too. Their aim is to bludgeon Moscow and Beijing and show the world who’s still boss. How they respond is anyone’s guess but it won’t be good.

It is the kind of demented strategy which will find approval only in Zionist Israel where the reeking fumes of war have reached desperately unhealthy levels.

From the archives

On May 6 this year, long before anyone was taking Donald Trump seriously, I wrote in my Weekly Notebook that the billionaire real estate developer had taken over the US Republican Party:

“Unlike the Tea Party which established itself in 2009 as a right-wing faction of the Republican Party, Trump is heading a populist movement. Many of his supporters are not registered Republicans or even registered voters. They are bonded by anger, disillusion, xenophobia and paranoia. ‘Let’s make American great again!’ is something they heedlessly support. It raises the promise of jobs, security and a way out of poverty. They are beckoned by what remains of the mythical American Dream …
“It’s a formula that worked in the past for two crazed egomaniacal reactionaries, Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler. Why not the Donald?”

In his New York acceptance speech on Wednesday night Trump referred specifically to the “movement” character of his campaign: “As I’ve said from the beginning, ours was not a campaign but rather and incredible and great movement …”

Out of touch, Hillary

Making her concession speech in New York on Thursday morning, Mrs Clinton said: “We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought.”

images-1Oh really? Over the past almost 45 years she has been wife of Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton (1979-1981 and 1983-1992, First Lady in the White House (1992-2000), New York senator (2001-2009) and US Secretary of State (2009-2013) but she never noticed that more than two million people, most of them African Americans, are locked up in jails; 43.1 million people live in poverty; 46.5 million, including 12 million children and 7 million senior citizens, are on federal food programmes; and every year 600,000 families with 1.35 million children are homeless.

This is in the richest country on earth yet Mrs Clinton failed to notice that it was “more deeply divided than we thought”. She was so consumed with chasing reactionary rulers and business tycoons for donations to the dynasty-building Clinton Foundation she overlooked the growing army of “have nots”.

When Trump defeated her in Arkansas, where voters really know the Clintons, by 61% of votes to 33% the game was up.

The decline and fall of an empire

The overriding theme of Donald Trump’s presidency is “to make America great again”. That will be the driving motivation of Washington’s efforts economically, militarily and politically for the next four years.

It is a frightening prospect. But it is also one that will politicise millions of people around the world and propel them to embrace socialist solutions to what is fundamentally a crisis of the profit-driven capitalist system. Banks and global corporations can’t simply keep sucking profit out of the environment and the social economy making a handful of people richer and driving the majority deeper into poverty.

Until World War One (1914-1918) the global economy was dominated by the British empire and its trading currency, sterling. The British empire was pushed aside by the new power on the block, the bustling, innovative and voracious American imperialism based on a new global currency, the dollar.

However, after more than a century of global expansion and blood-sucking hegemony, the US is exhausted, demoralised and deeply divided. Far from seeing the rebirth of US imperialism, we are witnessing its death throes. The “ripple” effect will strike the shorelines of Europe, Asia and the Pacific (i.e. Australia) like a tsunami.

Trumpism has struck the first hammer blow – and it is against American liberalism which has so often provided a curtain to protect the violence of corporate and militarist America.

Liberals are incapable of halting Trump but an organised socialist movement would be a different matter.

“Duterte Harry” lashes America

You know that Washington has lost its mojo when President Rodrigo Duterte, the thug ruling the Philippines, talks about “separation” from the US and tells America not to treat his country “like a dog with a leash”.

In previous decades, Duterte’s comments would be enough to cause a diplomatic freeze, perhaps an arms embargo or even a coup. But Washington copped it sweet.

You also know when an empire is on its way out when the bodies of its men and women are strewn over forlorn battlefields. Since World War Two, the US has lost a succession of major conflicts in Korea (a stalemate), Vietnam (a daunting defeat), Afghanistan (a humiliation), Iraq (further humiliation) and Syria (the end game). Its only “victory” was the 1983 invasion of the Caribbean island of Grenada (population 90,000) to overthrow its leftist government. Ronald Reagan’s administration awarded more than 5,000 medals for merit and valour for the Grenada sideshow which was given the Hollywood-style codename of Operation Urgent Fury. The whole tragicomedy deserved a Woody Allen film; definitely not one by Clint Eastwood.

In his six-volume The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon meticulously detailed how Rome’s vast empire collapsed under the weight of its own “success”. Its ruling central administration fell into colossal debt, administrators grew corrupt and lazy, armies mutinied, generals fought each other and over-taxed citizens finally revolted.

Now change “Roman Empire” to read “United States of America” and you have it in a nutshell.

What about Oz?

If Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop intend to lead Australians down Trump’s catastrophic domestic and global path, then they will march alone. Their Coalition government will either implode or fall apart.

I hope this is being made clear to Washington, although the sound waves are presently being dominated by a conga line of pro-US suckholes led by Labourite has-beens such as Kim Beazley and Stephen Loosley.

When it comes to snivelling to Washington, the Liberal Party takes Olympic gold. At a Washington dinner hosted by President Lyndon Baines Johnson in June 1966, Prime Minister Harold Holt said Australia would support the war in Vietnam and go “all the way with LBJ”. A few days later he criticised Britain and France for not joining the US-led invasion by sending their troops.

In 1969, John Gorton, another Liberal PM, told President Richard Nixon at a Washington banquet that Australia would “Go a-Waltzing Matilda With You” in Vietnam and elsewhere if invited.

In the past 48 hours, Malcolm Turnbull’s grovelling reception for President-elect Trump maintains Liberal Party tradition.

Those desperately disappointed by Mrs Clinton’s defeat will soon divide into pessimists and those who wish to keep fighting. Many of the pessimists are white, privileged, middle class people who will use Mrs Clinton’s defeat as an excuse to turn their backs on politics (although politics cannot turn its back on them).

The getting of knowledge starts with giving up selfies and Instagram shots of coffee, cats and cupcakes and recognising we are all members of the human race divided into classes by the system of capitalism. Then ask, Which Side Are You On?  – the title of the famous Harlan County miners’ song.

Alex Mitchell’s Weekly Notebook is FREE – you can subscribe to our news alerts above. DONATIONS are welcome – click on the yellow button near the top of the page.

6 comments

  1. Brilliant appraisal Alex but still not clear how you see the Brexit ‘we want our country back’ differences with Trumpism ‘make America great again’ ?

  2. Thanks, Alex. Clear thinking and hard hitting is essential. I’m already fed up – in less than three days! – with the weepers and the moaners. Not to mention the scumbags who are bending over backwards to put a positive gloss on the debacle. It’s more important than ever that we here in Australia get it right and be accountable and vocal.

  3. Good piece again Alex.
    Interesting that once more the pollsters and the pundits got the result wrong – I suspect that the journos are spending too much time in head office and not enough time talking to folk in the backblocks.
    Even less surprising was the the cheer squad in Oz led by Hanson swigging champagne on the lawns of Parliament House with Abbott’s leading spear carriers – Abetz and Bernardi well to the fore in the chorus.
    God Help America!

  4. Great writing, insight and analogy. If Caligula elected one of his horses as consul before the fall of Rome, can we expect similarly capable appointees to Trump’s cabinet?
    Love your work Alex

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