By Roger Bara…
I write columns for a Jersey newspaper and there they have a government no-confidence problem so it’s mind-blowing to see what is happening in America.
In the week that Jersey’s politicians debate a motion of no confidence in the Chief Minister, it’s difficult to ignore what’s going on thousands of miles west across the Atlantic. America, as I write this, are awaiting the result of its own no confidence motion – no confidence in common decency, no confidence in competence, and no confidence in the fight against dishonesty, bigotry, racism, greed and ignorance.
It begs the question, why on earth have we reached this situation, exactly the same situation as four years ago? With half of America, and most of the rest of the world, wanting rid of Trump, how come he can still lie and cheat, including alleging fraud in the election without a jot of evidence, and get away with it? He has surely already undermined the ballot-counting, and called the very machinery of American democracy into question. Whether he eventually succeeds or not, how is the voting so close that for much of the time you couldn’t separate the two?
Let’s face it, it’s not a great choice. A tax-dodger who has disgraced the position of President of the United States almost every day for the past four years, against someone who should have retired years ago, devoid of any character or semblance of charisma; far too nondescript and far too old. Why the Democrats could not come up with someone more appealing is way beyond me.
I lump all Trump supporters, you know, the raving covidiots, in the same category as Flat-Earthers. They don’t necessarily think he is in any way up to the job, they just love to point a finger up at the establishment and pretend everything is either the subject of a massive conspiracy or simply fake news. Pathetic and hugely sad. But these very people were perfectly adept at making Trump their president once, and they are just as capable of doing it again, whatever the polls may have suggested. Wasn’t it Hilary Clinton leading those polls in the week before the 2016 election?
It’s understandable that any Trump doubters might be totally uninspired with the alternative, but at least a vote for Biden could be considered a vote for basic decency. Will there be enough decency left over the water? I’m not holding my breath.
So why, why are we here? Consider this as a reason. Up to the late 1980s, many Americans worked in factories, and when they retired, a gold watch and enough pension to last until death was their anticipated, and granted fate. But that all changed when, for the first time in history, productivity and wages became disconnected, and went their separate ways. So, retirements were effectively stolen and, because of the North American Free Trade Agreement, tens and thousands of new factories opened just over the border in Mexico. That meant the work went out of the country, but the profits from that work went to the 1% elite back in America. Thus many working people became totally fed up with the establishment because it had broken the social contract that had previously existed. You thought you were going to earn certain privileges, but that was no longer happening. So let’s all stick our finger up against the establishment.
This is what made Donald Trump. And that’s why, maybe, his supporters love the idea that he is not a politician. Let’s be frank, he’s not even a Republican, he is a populist, rather like Boris Johnson. (As an aside, is there a link between having two populist leaders, and two nations desperately mishandling the COVID-19 crisis?)
This whole shabby American election is not in fact anything to do with Donald Trump being good for America – this is more about hating the 1 per cent that he calls the establishment – that’s why his supporters love him, even adore him. So much. If only they knew that he doesn’t care in the slightest about them – in fact, he probably despises most of his supporters, but they are a means to his end.
As far as most fellow leaders with whom he has to deal, all having to cope with the growing strength of China, and an always aggressive Russia, it must wrankle deeply to have the president of the USA manifestly preferring the company of dictators and autocrats. Is that the way for an American president to behave? So sad they have to deal with such a person.
Four more years of what I consider to be a vile, ignorant, childish and totally self-absorbed narcissist as President will be catastrophic for progress, superpower relations, peace itself, and just as importantly, the climate. As much as Biden leaves me totally cold, the alternative is simply too much to bear. Whoever wins this election, how on earth did we allow it to come to this?