Politics shorn of politics is still politics. October 18, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
One of the most notable aspects of the US Presidential debates has been how much has devolved to personality. It is, perhaps, the inevitable outcome of a Presidential system – or at least one likely outcome across time – but it’s an ugly ugly thing for all of that. And it’s not as if there aren’t differences between the candidates and their respective platforms.
Even the rhetoric of ‘lock her up!’ feels of a piece with that. Trump’s threat to ‘jail’ Clinton isn’t serious process led politics. It’s emoting on a grand scale. And yet, the suspicion remains that if not political – or ideological, it has political ramifications if ever the situation occurred where he was in a position to implement it:
David Maraniss, a journalist and author, said: “As shocking as his debate statements were, they were of a piece with his earlier threats to use executive power to go after the media, set immigration restrictions based on religious affiliation, and declare the Central Park Five guilty long after scientific evidence found them innocent. Freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and the application of scientific proof are all wholly foreign to him.”
Perhaps, then, this is more of a worldview that we’re seeing here, one that is inchoate, difficult to pin down precisely, formed and sustained by fears and bigotry, and therefore – added to the nature of the candidate – free-flowing and inconsistent. Yet, as Maraniss notes look at all those inconsistencies, those contradictions, and the larger picture of an approach that would in practice be even more deeply injurious than contemporary aspects of the US polity becomes evident. It doesn’t need a programme as such, it simply needs a bending and fracturing of the system, imperfect as it already is, to see deeply pernicious outcomes.
Here’s a troubling one too.
Dr Louis Picard, professor of public and international affairs and African Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, and a frequent worker in Uganda … said Trump has also copied the tactics of some African political parties by questioning the legitimacy of the election in advance and claiming it will be rigged against him. “It does worry me in the long term because we’re starting to get this into the system and it won’t go away,” he said.
By the way, just on the campaign, I’m far from a booster of Hillary Clinton, in a way one pity of the campaign has how Trump has by his clowning prevented a forensic critique of her politics being applied, but the sheer misogyny in some of the attacks on her from the right is staggering. But then, again, where’s the surprise. I remember a friend of mine telling me some years ago of attending a formal international reception at which were a number of representatives of the great and good in the US, a small number of who made it very clear in informal conversation that they regarded Obama in appallingly racist terms. Small wonder that the first viable female candidate for President should receive not dissimilar stuff, though in this instance even more openly to judge from the rhetoric and garb of some at Trump events.
As striking is this exchange:
Up in the stands, a 65-year-old woman in full Trump gear who’d driven two hours from central New Jersey told me that GOPers who disavowed Donald were “not true Republicans.” Even Paul Ryan? “I don’t care for him,” said the woman. “He’s a conservative Democrat. Trump is a real Republican, born and bred.” But Trump used to be an actual Democrat, I pointed out. “Just for a short time,” the woman insisted.
I asked her if the leaked footage of Trump yukking it up about genital assault had given her pause. “What he said is really vulgar,” she began, before telling me that she’d been crassly propositioned by multiple men at her workplace over the years. “I was demoted three times for saying no,” she said. And then, in a flurry of words that made little sense to me, she transformed her experiences with sexual harassment into a pro-Trump argument, concluding, very confusingly (and inaccurately): “That soap actress, she said no and he accepted it.”
And the fact that Trump keeps upping the ante is curious in the extreme. The ‘drugs’ charge at the weekend against Clinton is testament to this. It’s as if the very first thing that pops into his head he runs with. Doesn’t matter how credible it is or not, he just goes. Let’s hope he’s gone as a political figure by the end of the election.