Saturday, 12 November 2016

Mrs Clinton and the voters: I very much doubt it was a question of sexual politics

Mrs Clinton got a few more votes than Mr Trump but anything short of a total wipe-out of Mr Trump would have been a disappointment and the actual result, a disaster.

When I read books about America I read about a growing gap between wealthy and poor, about stagnant or falling standards of living for the majority, and about destruction of industries like that the UK experienced in the 1980s when Mrs Thatcher preferred putting people on Benefits to ensuring there was employment available - it was she who pioneered what we now call the Benefits Culture. If you think large parts of Northern England are a dump, then large parts of the USA are also a dump.

No President or Congress has acted in any way or any serious way to reduce the huge disparities of wealth in the USA, or to raise living standards, or to improve employment opportunities. Voters looking for a better life came to the conclusion - rightly or wrongly - that They had no interest in Us, that the Establishment was indifferent to the people. Even if the candidate was competent, they did not want an Establishment candidate - still less a Dynastic candidate, Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton. They wanted an Outsider,someone who would shake things up rather than crown their own career - Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders. Denied the latter, who would have beaten him, they voted for Trump. It wasn't inevitable but the Democratic Party was too stuck in its way to offer an alternative. It did not dawn on the Democratic Party that Hillary Clinton did not beat Barack Obama for the nomination because  Obama could pass almost as an outsider, and certainly as someone fresh and young. And Obama could beat anything a dumb Republican Party put up against him, and by decent margins.

Maybe a few hundred people voted for Hillary Clinton so that she could smash a glass ceiling. But in reality, for most people,  a Presidential election is not about facilitating someone's career advancement. People are looking for someone who offers them hope of a better life. It's unlikely, of course, that either President Clinton or President Trump can or would deliver that. But that's another story.

Columnists in liberal newspapers whose main frustration is that Hillary Clinton was not deferred to sufficiently for her to cap her CV only help to deepen the gap between those who Have Most and those who Have Least - and those who have least are both men and women in very large numbers.

For the record, I do have one doubt about the Dynastic part of my argument. Suppose Hillary Clinton had not recovered from pneumonia and had died. The Democratic Party could have turned to Bernie Sanders, who I think would have won. Or just maybe they could have turned to Michelle Obama, who I also think would have won. In either case, I would now be out celebrating instead of sitting here blogging.

1 comment:

  1. There may have been a similar pattern with the Labour leadership elections in the UK. Andy Burnham had lost previously to the Milibands and the membership overwhelmingly voted for Jeremy Corbyn on the hope and something different factor.

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