If I were to vote in American elections, I'd be severely unhappy. Americans seem to face a choice between an hereditary Bush or an hereditary Clinton. Obama came out of nowhere. He certainly was the first black president and he was so good he secured the Nobel Peace Prize in his first month in office. Yeah. Way to go Barry!
Clearly I'm more on the Republican side than the Democrat. If I lived in the US (and was a citizen) then I'd be a registered Republican. My choice for presidential candidate last time would have been the libertarian Ron Paul. My choice this time would have been his son, Rand Paul. I like the fact that they are so unfashionable they hark back to unyielding founding principles, principles which offend today's society that likes to bend rules based on emotionalism or expediency. I like the fact that both are strict Austrians in economics - no borrowing, currency backed up by real worth, no support for mal-investment, the superiority of the market over political judgement. They also are also anti-war which, as I've written before, is probably one of three or four dominant political characteristics (along with democracy, free speech and capitalism) I believe in.
But both lost. Ron, controversially against Mitt (only in America) and Rand to the force of nature that is Donald Trump.
Now I didn't follow the Republican debates until about October / November but then - as usual - I was hooked. Okay, they're false formats and candidates with with well scripted (and delivered) one -liners often do best over the more cerebral, reflective candidates. Sorry Jeb! But this is democracy in the raw. America is great at that (though big money is, I admit, a problem).
I became, after Rand's early demise following the New Hampshire primary, fascinated by Trump. And not especially because of what he said, or what he'd do (BTW these two concepts can be very different animals - hello Barry, talking about you, again).
So why's Trump interesting as a phenomenon?
- He is politically incorrect. I'm fucking tired of people telling me what to think or say. Politicians are scared to say anything controversial these days. This timidity has spread to social media, corporations. How long before this cultural stalinism spreads into the private sphere? It's a deadweight on ideas, thoughts, creativity, laughter. Good manners and civility should be a person's guide. One thing about Trump we can all agree on; he's not politically correct.
- Trump isn't beholden to vested interests as he self-finances (see the above about campaign finance). I'm not saying that I support rich people only running for office - of course not - but I think America needs a good dose of 'fuck you' juice sprayed at lobbyists.
- He isn't scripted. He says what he wants. For the antithesis of Trump, see The Marco-bot as he trotted out the same answer four times when challenged by NJ Governor Chris Christie. The career politician - in the US, in the UK - who parrots the party line, eyes closed or focused on the mid distance, gets my goat. I love the mavericks - the Farage, the Livingstone, the Franks Fields. Party politicians - like executives at big companies - always live in fear and slavishly toe the party line.
- He's successful outside politics. Yeah, sure he fronts the American Apprentice but he is also a successful business-man. Now I don't worship businessmen - they need balance - but I prefer them to career politicians or corporate wankers. Businessmen who own their own company know about risk, making decisions and taking accountability. Most politicians do not. They just like to spend other people's money gathered by force.
- He's funny! He is! Watch a speech. Funny goes a long way. Humour is very under-rated. Humour shows to me a real person. Someone who is funny (it's a skill) shows intelligence both intellectual and emotional.
- He might cause a massive re-alignment. Talking to those who are always written off - lower classes, tax payers, the law abiding - might catch on. Sort of a Brexit demographic. He might just bring the whole shit-house down. Good. Democracy is too precious for the parties to think they own it. Fuck 'em! In a democracy, the people are always right.*
- Lastly, and let me just have one trivial reason, his ongoing success pisses off exactly the right people. The BBC, The Guardian, Facebook twats, bien pensants everywhere. His on-going success makes them so incoherently angry it's worth electing Trump just to watch them explode with self righteousness and condescension for their fellow man.**
So this is The Donald without me looking into his policies (and did I mention his unbelievably attractive wife Melania and his daughter Ivanka. No? Whoops just did!).
Shit hair though.
* People are always right. This is always true and I don't buy the view that the people are too stupid or will be led astray by populists. However, my own caution to this would be that ordinarily a representative democracy works best and also that there should always be a decent lead up before a populace votes. Otherwise you run the risk of the Facebook-isation of politics (virtue signalling votes as 'likes', short-termism, shallow not contiguous policies).
** As a democrat I've never been more appalled than I have been over the last few days where Facebook emotionalism allies with hard-core and nasty undemocratic forces. What some unthoughtful people on the losing side of referendum. The Guardian, BBC etc (usual suspects) are playing a VERY dangerous game. In a democracy you have to accept an adverse result. To do otherwise leads only to violence and civil war. I never thought I'd write that about Britain and I pray the cry-bullies think about what they are doing and pull back. Not respecting democracy might become a habit which can be learned by all sides. And the denigration of their fellow citizens as stupid is right out of Marx's false consciousness playbook. And we know that dictatorship follows.