The Trump/Farage Paradox

I wrote the following blog post some weeks ago but decided not to publish, but it seems to me that this possibility is growing. I think it’s very dangerous to be complacent about Trump. If he ran as an independent he could hoover up votes from both right and left. He’s appealing to xenophobia and stupidity, matters that are beyond left and right. In the UK it was generally thought that Ukip would only appeal to the right, but if anything it appealed more to the working class/blue collar voters who were persuaded that the left doesn’t listen to their concerns on immigration. Trump may well do something similar to undermine the left wing vote in the US. Same campaign managers work here, there and Australia. It’s likely not a coincidence.

Hillary Clinton has responded to the recent hoo-ha from the Republican campaign centring on the person of Donald Trump, the brazen [bold and without shame] and brazen [literary archaicmade of brass] frontrunner, as he brazens [verb, endure an embarrassing or difficult situation by behaving with apparent confidence and lack of shame] out a hole of his own excavation.

OK, enough of the brazens, even if the Donald has been known as ‘King of the Oompa-Loompas’ for his brassy hue. I think Clinton responded well but that doesn’t interest me so much for now. Reading through the stories of her response online (another one here) I noticed that quite a few of the comments, mainly from liberals, were getting perhaps a little too easily dismissive of Trump and I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but it did get me wondering….

Could Trump be some kind of Republican campaign device to push the debate to the right as happened with Farage in the UK? You would have to pick someone so clownishly off the dial that it automatically filters people by IQ, ie, the dimmest are self-selectingly hived off to Trump/Farage and their votes no longer count seeing as they don’t contribute to one of the main parties. By removing the votes of people based on their low-intelligence responses to “political correctness” – that is, their inclination to be frustrated at not being able to be racist, sexist, homophobic, etc, in public – you manage to destroy the votes of people who would usually vote either left or right. The important thing is that they are not the brightest stars in the firmament intellectually speaking and their voting habits are perhaps unpredictable. In the eyes of the campaign managers and election gurus, better they don’t vote.

Donald Trump
Someone’s going toupee for this (Image: Miles Gehm)

Complacency, getting lazy because you perceive you have an advantage, is a dangerous trap to fall into in the tactical arena of politics. In the last paragraph I very amusingly referenced the study that found prejudice to be associated with low intelligence and that conservative thinking was a ‘gateway’ to such attitudes. But conversely, I think liberals run the risk of thinking themselves too clever. That’s what I saw in the comments online on Trump: “This guy is just a distraction”, “He’ll bleed off votes from the crazier wingnuts of the Republicans and split their vote”, “Let him run as an independent and Clinton’s victory is assured!” This is exactly what many people thought about Farage in the UK, but ultimately we know that he took votes from across the political spectrum, mainly based on the responses to the ‘anti-political correctness’ catch-all, and many of those votes came from the left. And I suppose that’s because prejudice isn’t based on politics, it’s based more on intelligence.

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Trump On The Stump

Self-proclaimed “ratings machine” Donald Trump continues to beguile, bewilder, bewitch and baffle in the USA and across the world with his frequently frantic bid for the Republican nomination to run for President. Well, maybe I’m overstating it a little, but the Donald’s latest blunder in a tragi-comic campaign – sniping back at Megyn Kelly for asking him tough questions by implying that she had been compelled to do so by her period rather than just, you know, doing her job of asking the candidates questions – seems finally to be putting off even his staunchest allies in the public, the party and even his own team.

Donald Trump piñata
Mexico’s favourite piñata (Image: Mike Licht)

So some bad publicity really is bad publicity after all, at least when you stoop to a level this asinine to attract attention. Voters should remember that politicians who say crass and unpleasant things like Trump’s menstruation remarks to garner attention and column inches (which it undoubtedly has, and here am I pontificating on it too!) are doing no different when they talk about immigration and foreigners, or whatever else pushes certain voters’ buttons. It’s very often blather and bluster to misdirect from the fact that most of their policies are driven by an agenda to consolidate and further the position and advantage of the few richest people in society at the expense of the great majority.