Why is it so hard to understand Trump?

There’s been a lot of stuff said about the victory of Donald Trump.

A Lot. Of Stuff.  Here’s more. I promise it’s gunna be short.

But – this wasn’t a win for “Anti-Politics” or whatever shitpuffin expression used by people pretending to be outside the “political class”. We have seen this before.  Trump was just a front man with a new way of selling old manure.

I was surprised like most people that Trump won. I trusted the polls, the media coverage, the “surely no-one sensible would vote for that loon”, but didn’t realise that the media in the US have as little to no idea of how people think and act outside inner city zones as most Australian media.

The whole “surely people won’t vote Trump” sounded a bit familiar. Like it was 2013 and an onion eating fool with little to offer but negativity and “I’m not those guys who have done little for you” in a campaign.

Also familiar was this piece of advertising that was not commented on all that much in the lead up to the election. Maybe because it wasn’t weird enough, not filled with the anti-bank conspiracy guff that also emerged.


Pretty simple messaging. There’s no “heat of the moment” Trump here, no racist Twitter frog megaphones abusing journalists, just a simple message to those people hurting in the states clinging to an industrial and mining past that the Democrats and Republicans largely ignored in previous campaigns.  There’s little difference between such an ad and this one from 2013. cwjgq4wvyaeq3z4

And this simple, negative campaign stuff works if there’s some kind of dissatisfaction. If the political system is perceived to have not helped those outside the inner suburban areas of their nations, people get pissed off and they tip out the incumbents.  Also, American voters have this strange instinct to not help a President change things by voting for their opposition two years later.   There’s also the tradition of voters rarely granting the Democrats another president after they have had two terms to fix things. This is a political cycle in action.

Sure, Trump dogwhistled (and frankly, just whistled) to racists throughout the campaign, gained the support of a bunch of deplorable cockroaches from under the floorboards of the rickety American house of civil debate. And we saw his other disgusting personal qualities also came to the surface. All of that happened with Abbott too, all the way through from the time he took over as opposition leader.

But putting aside personal weirdness and disgraceful behaviour towards women – as voters have managed to do with both men, to the lasting disgust of many of us – both managed one big “success” – to undermine the way politics used to be done in their countries – Abbott with his relentless lies, negativity and lack of respect for the way politics was done in Canberra.  Trump did pretty much that same job – and it was easy to do against such an establishment candidate like Clinton.  It wasn’t hard to characterise her as “part of the problem”.

However, all these points seem to evade people who seem to think that West Wing isn’t as fanciful as a Doctor Who episode.

Yes, this will be a dreadful time for so many people. But right now it doesn’t seem massively different to my childhood, which was filled with the image of a completely clueless buffoon in Ronald Reagan lumbering around the White House, seemingly hanging out for his next nap while it seemed George H.W. Bush and various other murky characters ran things. It was that time where my general disinterest in daily US Politics took hold.  Studying the history of US and the world at uni just made me see even more clearly how the US prized their isolationism at a primal level.   And now that instinct has a vocal champion.

Trump is going to be awful and is bringing in awful people in a variety of positions. But this isn’t “anti-politics”. As we can see with the early cabinet appointments, it’s politics as usual, with the frontman bringing in new voters for the Republican machine. Trump sold the message that he’s different, but that was pure image bullshit, like Malcolm Turnbull’s Q and A leather jacket.  Sure, he’s also brought in a few loose wingnuts like Bannon inside, but if Bannon wants to bring in his weird Lenin style beliefs, he will quickly find the hard heads shutting that down. They will be saying “hmmmmm” to Bannon whilst they bring back all their machinery dedicated to repression and bringing their reactionary hammers to all sorts of progressive reforms. Cause that’s what the Republicans do.

By prestontowers

I had been a teacher observing politics and the media from the outside for some time. I became a political insider, didn't like it much, and hightailed it back to watching it again. And still loving teaching.

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