Embittered after being abandoned by the left, the US election showed a desperate need from the people for aid; but it won’t come with Trump and his like
News outlets covering the latest political stories often focus on events as though they are the greatest thing EVER to happen, or the beginning of the end — at least for the next five minutes. The hysteria around Brexit and Trump’s election is presently wild with predictions, speculation and doom prophecies. There are facts to be found, but only in-between the flurry of bias and sensationalist musings. Then of course, the next story arrives pulling in the big numbers and those before it are disposed of like stale cake.
The attention deficit disorder of the press has terrible implications for our political society.
The news industry relies on viewership and readership. In short, headlines are important and stories must be concise to keep reader attention. Accordingly, politicians have to get their messages across in short and memorable phrases. Sadly, the importance of climate change and the science behind it; or, why we owe it to the Syrian refugees to help them; or, the reason why Muslims are no more dangerous than Christians — but extremists of all creeds are — do not make for exciting and compelling headlines. Nuance is the enemy of readability. But, ‘Take Back Control’ and ‘Make America Great Again’ are sure enough easily remembered. And, therein lies the problem. Our piecemeal, drip-fed, news culture cannot sustain long term intelligible debates over important issues.
Say what you want about Trump but he nailed the messages that a vote for him was a vote for jobs, for security, for prosperity. More than this, he was believable. Believable because his messages were simple, and he openly challenged big business (despite paradoxically being a big business).
HE put two fingers up to the media, corporations, and mainstream politics. And, naturally, it garnered attention. The more the news outlets proclaimed his sins and unsuitability, the more power he had. Just let that sink in. Trump, the Republican, climate change denier, and Islamophobe ran on the presumption of being anti-establishment. Defying all logic, policies which will see ‘the establishment’ profit the most were heralded as the ultimate opposition to that very establishment. It’s almost so bizarre it cannot be comprehended. Donald Trump was the vote of ‘change’.
The American political establishment and media need to take a long shower, wipe away the filth of this horrific campaign, and stare into the mirror of hard truths.
While said too often, Hillary is as ‘establishment’ as you can get. She really should have worn jumpsuits brandishing her corporate string-holders. Why the Democrats thought, in the midst of the biggest crisis of belief in neo-liberal economics, a candidate endorsed by all major banks, oil companies, even arms manufactures, was the person who could win the popular vote is beyond all conception. One hundred million Americans clearly found no sincerity in Clinton’s words.
The left-wing of American politics trusted in media support and corporate funding to win the election. Yet the issues they claim to support such as action on climate change, peaceful relations, and equality were wholly undermined by their choice of candidate, and, even worse their rhetoric was defined by attempting to smear Trump.
Instead, the left needs to wake up and realise that they have failed, completely. The massive groups in society which have been left behind: millennials, working-class communities, and minorities all have been forgotten. Hillary is no more for these groups than Trump is — the difference being, Trump actively used hostility between certain tension points to garner support. Far from condemning his actions, the left needs to do the same, but channel this hostility towards true problems facing society. Problems such as low wages and underemployment, climate change, and international diplomacy.
Furthermore, the finger isn’t to be pointed at Trump, or the minority of racist supporters who follow him. Rather, the finger must be pointed at the real causes of society’s woes. Unethical business practices prioritising profits over people; misinformation and resistance to switching to green energy; the realisation that our governments and armies cannot be the economic imperial guarantors of business interests in the Middle East — all these would be a good start.