10 November 2016

Donald Trump - Brexit in the United States

Clinton andTrump = 2 poisons - Strychnine and Arsenic 
Why do the pundits and pollsters always get it wrong?
It wasn't that difficult to get it right early
Way back on May 27th I predicted that  Donald Trump would win the US Presidency.  It was clear that his crude economic nationalism coupled to his racism and chauvinism, had everything going for it compared to the lacklustre field of candidates he faced in the Republican primaries who all conveyed the same message.  As the election progressed I had little doubt that Trump was on course for victory, the ‘locker room’ tape notwithstanding. 

You have to wonder what they pay pundits like Jonathan Freedland for.  It seemed obvious that Trump was appealing to the disenfranchised and disillusioned working class.  If one ignored the crude racism and sexism then there was something else that marked Trump out from the rest of the Republican pack.  That something was his crude nationalism that expressed itself as hostility to the effects of globalisation on the voiceless and disillusioned working class of America. In Britain the same movement threw Britain out of the European Union.
Goldman Sachs in human form -   she cheated Bernie Sanders out of the nomination
Under neo-liberalism it has been easy to export jobs to Asia, Mexico and anywhere else where labour is cheaper.  Under the Democrats and Barak Obama, US multinationals could sit, like Apple, on hundreds of billions of dollars whilst refusing to invest this in jobs.  Neo-liberal economic policies have resulted in an utter catastrophe for millions of American workers. 

Let’s look at the figures.  US median household incomes by 2015 were below the levels in 1999. At their lowest point following the crisis, in 2012, US median household incomes were more than 9 per cent below their 1999 peak level. The US population has suffered more than a decade and a half fall in incomes. 

This has been accompanied by a massive rise in income inequality and the falling share of incomes received by the great majority of the US population. This trend began with the introduction of neoliberal ‘Reaganomics’ in the 1980s. The share of total US incomes received by the bottom 80 per cent of the US population fell from 56 per cent in 1967 to 49 per cent in 2015. Over the same period the share of total incomes received by the top 20 per cent of the population rose from 46 per cent to 51 per cent.

In monetary terms, the total income of the top 20 per cent of US households in 2015 was $5.1 trillion while that of the entire bottom 80 per cent was only $4.9 trillion. The total income of the top 5 per cent of the US population in 2015 of $2.2 trillion was over seven times that of the bottom 20 per cent of the US population of $0.3 trillion. See Wave of reaction sweeps Trump into White House
This rise in income disparity, like that under Tony Blair and New Labour in Britain, explains the social and economic basis for the political move to the right amongst the American white working class just as in Britain it resulted in the heavy support for Brexit in the industrial heartlands of the North, which Thatcher and Blair together hollowed out.

Yet for Jonathan Freedland of that once great newspaper, The Guardian, it’s all down to one man, Donald Trump.  In Who is to blame for this awful US election? Freedland asks ‘Who is to blame?’ before providing the answer: ‘The list is so long, from the Republican party to the media, from the pollsters and data nerds who got it so wrong to the Clinton campaign team that took onetime Democratic bastions for granted, including Clinton herself, who for all her strengths was a flawed candidate.’
If Bernie Sanders hadn't been cheated out of the nomination he might be President now
Freedland informs us that ‘the US’s search for Obama’s successor has been a horror show, revealing – and dredging up – a stew of racism, misogyny and casual violence bubbling below the surface of American life. Eight in 10 US voters say the campaign has left them feeling disgusted, according to a CBS/New York Times poll last week. Not dissatisfied. ... The blame for this belongs to one man. Donald Trump has fought a presidential campaign like no other.’

And this is what passes these days for incisive journalism.  There was a time when the Guardian employed someone like Victor Zorza, its East European columnist who alone amongst analysts predicted the Soviet Union’s invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.  Even Hugo Young, looking back, was capable of incisive criticism of Thatcherism.  You only have to think of John Palmer, the Guardian’s thought provoking European editor or Richard Gott from South America, Victoria Brittain or its brilliant Middle East correspondent, David Hirst.  The only journalist that it employs today with any talent is Gary Younge.  Owen Jones may be on the left, for the moment, but his superficiality and lack of depth which is what marks him out.

Today the Guardian is just another neo-liberal newspaper for whom Jeremy Corbyn is the main target.  If Freedland and his fellow writers had even a spark of original thought they might realise that Corbyn like Bernie Sanders is a left-wing reaction to globalisation, neo-liberalism and neo-conservative foreign policy.  Just as the Guardian supported Clinton, the corrupt representative of the Democratic leadership in the USA so it has given consistent support to the equally bankrupt Right of the British Labour Party.
Having cheated Bernie Sanders out of the nomination through the corrupt manipulations by the Democratic leadership under Deborah Wasserman-Schultz, they failed to see Clinton’s personal and political flaw.

Blaming the pollsters for getting it wrong is like blaming the weatherman for inclement weather.  Sure Michael Fish failed to predict the hurricane in 1987 but he wasn’t responsible for it!  It is a mark of the superficiality of what passes for Guardian journalism that Freedland cannot think beyond reflex spluttering at Trump’s crude racism and sexism. 

Even this might be convincing if the same Freedland didn’t act as a one-man apologist for an Israeli government whose members either compare Palestinians to animals or declare they are sub-human (Rabbi Eli Dahan) or who, like Miri Regev, the ‘Culture’ Minister compared African refugees (termed infiltrators like Palestinian refugees trying to slip back into the country)  to cancer and when people complained, apologises to cancer victims for having compared them to refugees!  Netanyahu, who recently declared that Arabs living outside the ‘Jewish’ state were wild beasts makes Donald Trump seem positively liberal.  Opposition leader Isaac Herzog declares that the Israeli Labour Party was not an ‘Arab lovers’ party.  To those who still don’t understand, ask whether ‘nigger lovers’ is acceptable or indeed ‘Jew lover’.

Hilary Clinton lost because in the face of Trump’s economic nationalism, his opposition to the free trade agreements, his pledge to repatriate jobs back to the USA, she trumpeted her competence.  People understood that the impoverishment of the working class of America had taken place on the Democrat’s watch.  Obama Care has become unaffordable for many at the same time as he has pursued policies which have increased wealth disparity in the USA.   Clinton was Goldman Sachs in human form.   As Trump said in one of his better put-downs Clinton had experience but ‘bad experience’.
Rania Khalek, a Palestinian from the USA, tweeted that the majority of Syrians she was in contact with wanted Trump to win because Syrians would be less likely to die from being bombed under his reign.  That is also why Trump is not the villain of the pantomime.  Outside the USA, Clinton would have been even more dangerous.

Of course having ridden the tiger Trump is not going to be able to reverse the tide of globalisation.  This means that in order to maintain his popularity we can look forward to a period of greater racism, deportations and attacks on the left and human rights.  Despite his isolationist policies I very much doubt that there is going to be any reduction in the bases that the US maintain in 120 countries or a scythe taken to the US’s over-sized military budge.

What we can do though is ensure that the politics of neo-liberalism are defeated in Britain and in the Labour Party in particular.  Although Freedland and the Guardian don’t see the connection between the politics they advocate and the political result, thousands of others have woken up.

Tony Greenstein 

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