There are many stupid people in all countries; after all, the bell curve of intelligence (whatever that is) demonstrates that 50% of the population are of below average intelligence. However, it has confused me greatly that some 60+ million people in the US could vote for Donald Trump to become president when perhaps as many people could clearly see that he was at best an amoral charlatan and a pathological liar1,2 who probably suffers from malignant narcissism. I and many others with whom I socialise clearly understood early in the US presidential campaign of 2016 what an incompetent menace he was likely to be. Why did not others realise this at the time?
Trump’s bizarre utterances are often later ‘explained’ as jokes by officials in the White House. These assertions include: that it is only because of testing that the number of Covid-19 cases is so high; that the US is doing better than most other countries in dealing with covid-19; that drinking or injecting disinfectant can kill the coronavirus if it is in the body; that poking an ultraviolet light down into one’s lungs can kill the coronavirus. These have certainly made Trump, and to a certain extent, the US, a laughing stock around the world. His ludicrous utterances and his lack of ability with English are symptomatic of his inability to cope with reality. This is to such an extent that members of his cabinet seem to have to either issue ‘clarifications’, or follow him around trying to placate other nations or organisations after Trump has opened his mouth without putting his brain (such as it is) in gear3.
Even though Trump has made so many idiotic statements which are either dangerous, untrue or at best inept, some hard-core supporters still take him seriously, and that cohort runs at about 30% of those surveyed. Soon after his election it was determined that it was the uneducated who tended to vote for him4. This reinforces my belief that education is the best inoculation against gullibility. Perhaps that is why so many right-wing governments hate education and will do all they can to restrict it to the children of the wealthy. It also makes me believe that it is largely the uneducated who are flailing around attempting to blame someone for their lives not turning out the way they had planned, through no fault of their own. Trump then comes along, lying, stating that he is their voice and that he will fix things for them, then proceeds to screw them even further, by giving tax breaks to the wealthy, pretending that Covid-19 was a hoax, not protecting jobs as he said he would and, with his family, illegally profiting from their positions in government.
You’d think that there would be protections against this sort of behaviour built into the US Constitution, that many right-wing nut jobs see to think is sacrosanct, even to the extent that some evangelical types seem to believe it came from Jesus5. It is ironic that it is the evangelicals’ poster boy, Trump, who is traducing that same constitution. While some people may be inclined to dismiss this as a US problem, the US constitution underpins that of many modern nation states, including Australia’s. These constitutions were written by people who were planning the future of their nations, to try to help those nations succeed in an unpredictable and often dangerous world. They guarded against corruption from within as much as they thought they needed to, but they wrote these constitutions under the misapprehension that politicians would have the same concerns as they had for the future of their nations. They did not allow for incumbents to be either solely concerned with retaining power, being monumentally corrupt6-9, or worse, as in the case of Trump, to be a criminal.
Your analysis is fine. However, the reason people voted for someone like Trump is that they are so pissed off with “regular” politicians and feel that they are being left behind. The same applies to people who vote for One Nation. It is almost a former of Cargo Cult mentality and has serious implications for the future of democratic institutions.
Yeah. I know they are pissed off with the system, and it is operated from both centre right and centre left political parties. That is the problem. If trickled down economics had actually trickled down, I doubt there would be a problem. However, if you are struggling to feed your family, and keep a roof over your head, are powerless to do anything about it, and you see arseholes driving $350,000 cars about, and living the life of Riley, you are bound to get angry, and flail around to try to demolish the system. The problem is, Trump is one of the worst spivs who has thrived on that system, and to believe that he will help you feed your family or help put a roof over your head, is extraordinary gullibility.
It seems that so many of them obviously think the bill of rights means nothing can be left, politically, environmentally or even driving on the road. Not even food on one of their massively over piled plates.
i have read widely on recent events in the American economy, as well as the increasingly faulty democratic functioning of the USA, going back to the time most of the rot set in, the Reagan 1980s. A tiny elite of super-wealthy individuals and families at the top of the greed and graft hierarchy seem to be at the root of much of what is and has gone wrong in America, and it’s a scenario possibly repeated throughout the anglophone West. After the relatively sane economic Keynesian decades of the postwar era, until around 1975, equality of incomes and increasing social justice/rights for many minorities were a government priority, and people generally felt this created a more morally decent, progressive society for the USA. Albeit there still had to be huge struggles by dedicated activists and unions to achieve legislated change to help the unemployed, women, black people, etc get fairer treatment. However, behind the scenes of those brighter, prosperous economic years, highly powerful interests with a crude dog-eat-dog, “Ayn Rand” set of beliefs about how humankind really are, were forming institutions, research bodies and propaganda machines, intending to inundate us all with a completely different view of how to organise economy and to minimise the role of government. That silent but extremely ruthless, cunning wealth elite, including multi-billionaires like the (Yank) Koch brothers, the Waltons, Buffett and ilk, were later to be joined by an even more incredibly money-hungry set of top Silicon Valley entrepreneurs (Bezos, Brin and Page, Thiel, Musk et al ) who endorse the same turbo-capitalist, anti-government narrative. Via conservative media and think-tanks they finance or endow they have dragged national politics fuirther and further to the right, causing the Left as a whole to end up with a very narrow, wavering support base. Functioning democracy was a real problem for these astoundingly unpleasant, supercapitalist beasts of prey; they have no time for the involvement of voting masses in decision making , they despise the millions of lesser mortals who can’t reach their dizzying heights of material excess. And this cabal of sociopathic Scrooges has striven relentlessly to mess up macro-democratic structures and processes; to fill the air with deeply inhumane political-social ideas and memes using Murdoch and the digital platforms. They egged on all mouthpieces willing to seed their brand of thinking in fertile ground – evangelical religious sects, extreme Republicans, shock jocks and ranters of all kinds. Their malign success resulted in the American Democrat Left cowering and being largely crushed at the polls. That is how we ended up with a pile of pus in a suit now defiling the White House. (And also how we got the spectacle of vile ultra-right Prime Ministers Abbott and Howard at the beck of the super-rich in Australia, wiping out as many social progressive achievements of the post-war period as they could manage. Trump is the Frankenstein created by the 0.1 percent of wealth. He is not the man the rust belt and GFC jobless and the redneck deep South think is a saviour. The whole once-meaningful edifice of Presidency, the Senate and Congress have been rendered a Hollywood smoke-and mirrors farce by people who rarely ever get mentioned anywhere. Trump was their sick, glitzy triumph, but methinks perhaps his sheer looniness, his maniacal divide-and-confuse tactics are becoming a little too overdone even for the rulers of the world to bear. So now, after November, Sleepy Joe will be allowed to occupy the West Wing to let cool things down a bit and keep the world safe for exploitation….until Murdoch and billionaire henchmen decide to dispense with him as well.
I wish I’d written that. While the ultra-rich and big business have financed all sorts of propaganda outfits, they have also bought political parties directly, by giving cash to them for favours. That has to stop. In the US, it seems that people are starting to twig that having Trump re-elected may be the worst possible outcome for the US (duh!). There is also an increasing move by republicans to get rid of the Mango Mussolini, as they realise that the opprobrium that attaches to him will inevitably rub off onto them. However, even if Trump gets the arse, it will not fix the enormous problems the US has. How it ever could do so, I do not know; these problems, which you list, are so ingrained that they seem insuperable. If they are not fixed, the US will continue to decline, with or without Trump.