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 archaic, made 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.
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.