Not Drowning, Waving: What the political scientists and mainstream media pundits, the Hollywood celebrities and TV comedy show hosts, all fail to understand is that they are the people who keep the Right’s rope tight. The more they disparage and deride Trump and his “deplorable” followers, the tighter they wind it around themselves: the harder they try to pull the Right down, the more closely the separate fibres of Trump’s eclectic coalition are drawn together.
THE SPEED at which the Right is mutating is nowhere more evident than in Donald Trump’s America. One has only to examine the tensions within the American Republican Party to get some measure of its disarray. In spite of controlling all three branches of the federal government, the Republicans have never looked more fractious. Fewer and fewer on the right are convinced that politics-as-usual is any longer capable of delivering the changes they seek.
The American experience is far from unique. Across the world, rightists are rejecting the argument that political power is accessible only from the centre. Increasingly, right-wing leaders and activists are turning to ideas and traditions long considered moribund, disreputable – or both. The era of monolithic parties, held together by monolithic ideologies, has ended. By twisting a campaign rope out of many ideological strands, Trump was able to lasso the White House and hog-tie the institutions of American democracy.
It was not always so. For many decades, American political scientists fondly assumed that the average conservative voter in the United States was an essentially benign creature. Conservatives affirmed the verities of the Christian religion and the traditional values which flowed from them. They believed fervently in individual liberty, the sanctity of private property and the virtues of untrammelled capitalist enterprise. If asked to sum up their political philosophy in a single sentence, they would, likely as not, repeat some version of Thomas Jefferson’s claim: “The best government is that which governs least.”
What conservatives were most emphatically not assumed to be, were malignant enemies of freedom and progress. The Republican Party of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower cleaved proudly to the founding principles of the American republic. On occasion, Republicans had even been known to fight for them.
This “progressive” conservatism was, however, always more apparent than real. It required the constant effort of newspaper editors, party grandees and intelligent presidential aspirants to robe the naked prejudices of conservative Americans in the togas of small-r republican virtue. So long as the means of political communication remained in the hands of these political elites, the vicious ideas and aspirations of small-town America could be filtered out of their betters’ lofty political discourses. No one gave much thought to what might happen to right-wing politics if technology advanced to the point where every citizen could become their own publisher.
Even in the Internet Age, the idea that the President of the United States might dispense altogether with the services of the elite media and communicate directly with his electoral base via social media remained unthinkable – until Trump started tweeting.
Political scientists are aghast at the intellectual chaos manifested every day in Trump’s utterances and tweets. They, along with the political journalists they taught, are utterly unable to make sense of the President’s communications. It’s as though the myriad crazy notions of the American Right have been gathered together in a huge basket (let’s call in Fox News!) into which Trump reaches every day for inspiration. The results are as incoherent and self-contradictory as they are illustrative of the astonishing ignorance and credulity of the “ordinary” American citizen. To the educated, the credentialed, the experts, it simply makes no sense.
But it does. It makes perfect sense. The only way to prevent the Right’s “rope” from unravelling is to ensure that every strand receives equal care and attention. It doesn’t matter that Trump’s electoral base is composed of racists, homophobes, misogynists, fundamentalist Christians, Islamophobes and out-and-out fascists; as well as hard-line neoliberals, climate-change sceptics, union-busters, flat-taxers, economic nationalists and Ayn Rand libertarians; so long the dearest hopes and darkest fears of each component of this bizarre coalition continue to be encouraged by their President.
The other thing that the political scientists and mainstream media pundits, the Hollywood celebrities and TV comedy show hosts, don’t understand is that they are the people who keep the Right’s rope tight. The more they disparage and deride Trump and his “deplorable” followers, the tighter they wind it around themselves: the harder they try to pull the Right down, the more closely the separate fibres of Trump’s eclectic coalition are drawn together.
The Republican Party is no longer an ideological and organisational monolith and it lacks anything remotely resembling a coherent plan for “making America great again”. The billionaires who back it have almost nothing in common with the marginalised men and women of the rustbelt states who secured Trump’s victory. Except this: their hatred for the Democratic Party and their media allies.
While the Democrats and the mainstream media keep the Right’s rope tight, the Republican Party’s disdain for politics-as-usual will grow – and so will the President’s.
This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Friday, 4 May 2018.
I'm not sure that the Republican Party has ever been an ideological or organisational monolith. There have always been moderate Republicans and less moderate Republicans let's say. And the whip doesn't seem to work in the US much at all. Party discipline has never been particularly great there and there has always been crossing the floor – condoned it seems by all. Seems to me the only time it's ever been an ideological monolith and I am not sure that this term applies even so, is when Obama was president. For whatever reasons, and I think we properly say racism was the main one, they united in their feral hatred of Obama and determined that they would not cooperate with him no matter what. And this is someone who in Eisenhower's time would have been considered a moderate Republican I suspect.
Trump though does seem to have a hard-core of unswerving supporters, and they do say that the economy is improving, although wages aren't going up. Seems to me though that these are people who are afraid of marginalisation. As opposed to the truly marginalised who traditionally voted Democrat. Cole isn't coming back but the US has changed socially so much over the last 40 years or so and it just scares some people. To be honest I don't really blame them, because Democrats have taken them for granted for a long time now, and haven't offered anything except more of the same neoliberal bullshit. I never thought I'd ever say this, but I'm getting to the stage where I wouldn't be surprised if the bugger got another term. Although in spite of his doctors reports I suspect this health might be so bad he could easily die before the next election – that might be for the best, although Pence – God help us the man fills me with trepidation – an evil Dominionist with much more focused than Trump.
OMG Chris, have you not observed the American Left? Have you not observed the echo chamber of the Washington Post NYT "news".
You describe Trump supporters as Trump’s electoral base is composed of racists, homophobes, misogynists, fundamentalist Christians, Islamophobes and out-and-out fascists; as well as hard-line neoliberals, climate-change sceptics, union-busters, flat-taxers, economic nationalists and Ayn Rand libertarians .....I have heard that the same "deplorables" voted Obama last time.
I don't agree that the Right in the U.S. is in disarray any more than the Left. What I would suggest is that Trump took advantage of revolutionary "technology" aka Twitter. We know exactly what he thinks regardless of any cogent rationale...seems a bit like Joe and Jill Average prefer that. Agenda in the open regardless of how ridiculous, but not hidden like Hillary's in double speak. They really don't care for the old message either Democrats or Republicans, so on that note Chris you are correct.
I contend that it's pointless to be partisan against Trump, he's just a bloke...he's not the real story. Better to observe from a distance.
Across the world, rightists are rejecting the argument that political power is accessible only from the centre. Increasingly, right-wing leaders and activists are turning to ideas and traditions long considered moribund, disreputable – or both.
No, no and no.
The huge increases in migrants over the last decade were partly due to a politically motivated attempt by ministers to radically change the country and "rub the Right's nose in diversity", according to Andrew Neather, a former adviser to Tony Blair, Jack Straw and David Blunkett.
Put simply, the government embarked on an optimistic plan of social engineering to transform New Zealand into an 'Asian' country; unfortunately, it did a poor job of publicising its intent or rationale. Under the slogan that a global economy required global citizens, an ambitious plan was hatched to restructure society around an Asian axis. But these initiatives moved too quickly for most people, ignored the need to consult or convince people of the importance of any fundamental shift, and did little to monitor the impact of immigration on public perception (Heeringa 1996) Recalling Aotearo – Indigenous Politics and Ethnic Relations in NZ Spoonley/Fleras
Today we can do better because Australian multiculturalism has found its historian. His name isMark Lopez and we haven’t heard the history he has to tell us before. It’s the story of how a tinyband of activists lobbied hard to establish multiculturalism, despite the fact that few of theircompatriots––Australian-born or immigrant––wanted it ,and it’s an absorbing mixture of intrigue,idealism, opportunism, luck and bravado. Then when they had achieved their goals some of them went on to write their own histories of their accomplishment. But these histories do not tell us where multiculturalism came from because, dedicated and altruistic though many of them were,none wanted to tell the story as it really was. They wanted to present the history of multiculturalism as the triumph of good over evil, the evil of assimilationism and integrationism, and they wanted to obscure their own role in this triumph. (As activists the multicultural few had worked hard to represent themselves as a flock; as historians they continued this labour.)
People in the West (or anywhere) don't want to live in one big global society.
The city of Oslo -- 'The Tiger City: a city which leaves a mark' -- is celebrating its 1000th anniversary in 2000. The Department of Sociology and Human Geography's workshop, "The Global-Local Interplay - Continuity and Change", is part of a series of events marking Oslo's millennium. The official programme for the 1000th anniversary states that "The theme during the autumn is Oslo as a city in which everyone can be influential and influenced, a city where important decisions are made" (Oslo 1000 ar, 2000). A critical issue that is being explored by urban researchers at the University of Oslo is how the various ethnic groups within an increasingly divided city can be influential as Oslo enters a millennium when ALL populations in the major cities of the industrialised world must become more ethnically diverse and cosmopolitan.
The 'era of the whites', as Anthony Browne (2000) put it in his provocative
examination of "The Colour of the Future", is passing even for cities such as
One demographer, who does not want to be named for fear of being called racist, says: 'It's a matter of pure arithmetic that, if nothing else happens, non-Europeans will become a majority and whites a minority in the UK. That would probably be the first time an indigenous population has voluntarily become a minority in its historic homeland'. ….
In California, in a land built by immigrants, [and where the Anglo- Saxon whites are already a minority], lieutenant governor Bustmente puts a positive spin on the end of the white majority: 'If there are no majorities, there are no minorities'. In Europe, with its 40,000 year old indigenous white population, the rise of a non-European majority may not be greeted with such equanimity.
Contrary to what the entitled academics proclaim immigration is not a fix for an ageing population
All very true, Chris.
And, of course, it's not just Trump who has led the Republicans to their current state of ideological confusion and obscenity. The seeds were already apparent in the 'W' presidency, if not far earlier.
So what is to be done, if not by ourselves then by the people of the United States?
Business as usual on the part of the Democrats clearly won't work. It's faults are obvious to the point of being boring. But would a Bernie-style tacking to the left make deliverance any surer. I have my doubts.
Perhaps reality shows are the new reality. If so, we may yet have cause to regret the downgrading of authoritative media mandarins and suchlike guardians of neo-liberal consensus.
As Hegel remarked: "The owl of Minerva begins its flight only as dusk is falling".
Or as Joni Mitchell put it: "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone".
Forgive my somber thoughts, this cloudy Sunday morning.
Do you think Mathew Hooten would still be on RNZ if he didn't support RNZ's Maori language revitalisation program [Daily Blog], Chris?
Actually this will be a hallmark of this government. The new kid on the block is te reo everything (everyone wants to learn it except one or two old white bigots)?
"In California, in a land b̶u̶i̶l̶t̶ stolen by migrants" FTFY.
Do y̶o̶u̶ t̶h̶i̶n̶k̶ we care if Mathew Hooten would still be on RNZ if he didn't support RNZ's Maori language revitalisation program [Daily Blog], Chris? FTFY
"The 'era of the whites', as Anthony Browne (2000) put it in his provocative
examination of "The Colour of the Future", is passing even for cities such as
"White people's "declining numerical dominance" and the rising status of other groups, especially black people, Mutz writes, combined with "insecurity about whether the United States is still the dominant global economic superpower." The result was what she calls "a classic defensive reaction among members of dominant groups.""
Said Diana Muntz in her provocative article:"Status threat, not economic hardship, explains the 2016 presidential vote"
God, conservatives seem to be scared of EVERYTHING.
God, conservatives seem to be scared of EVERYTHING.
An Apologgy Well, given the level of controversy and protest about my post concerning Guyon Espiner’s use of Te Reo on National Radio, I had several options:
*To defend the post;
*To take the post down;
*To explore the issue further;
*If necessary, to apologise for what I’d written.
I decided not to take the post down. I wrote it. People read it. Some approved of what I’d said. Others were deeply offended. Taking the post down would do nothing to change that.
But an apology to Guyon and Māori upset or angered by my comments is clearly required. I failed to check my facts, by taking the time to listen to several editions of Morning Report. Despite my own fairly extensive background on National Radio, Including Top of the Morning, Checkpoint, Jim Mora’s The Panel and a variety of other programmes, I’m not a frequent radio listener. But that won’t stand as an excuse. I should have checked.
Yeah right. Everything he wrote checks out - but why does he think elite's have a right to laud it over the people? This pushing of te reo is not grass roots.
GUYON ESPINER: KEEP PUSHING THE UGLIES
When Espiner first started his role, he immediately made an impact by adding longer and different mihis to start the show. That's when "the ugly strand" of listeners get in touch, to tell him he's "talking gibberish".
DUNCAN GARNER: 'I RECEIVE ABUSE JUST FOR MENTIONING IT'
"I got emails that would be the most abusive I've received all year, from New Zealanders who effectively treated me as a war criminal."
His short editorial was not received well by many of the viewers at home, leading Garner to say he doesn't think the audience will appreciate more te reo Māori in the media.
When was the last time a National Radio host called an indeterminate number of listeners "uglies"? When will English speakers get their own radio station?
"When will English speakers get their own radio station?"
FFS almost every radio stations is for English speakers. This is just National Front style hyperbole. Get over it JH. It's an official language – suck it up and get on with your life. Having to listen to 30 seconds of Espiner burbling on a language you don't understand is not going to kill you. Apparently his accent is crap anyway, that should be some consolation to you.
When will comedians start taking the mickey out of RNZ?
Note the people
Jesus wept, all the things happening in the world, you're worried about 30 seconds of Maori language on radio New Zealand. You obviously don't have enough to do except posting generally incoherent nonsense that only makes sense to you about it I might say. But for crying out loud get a grip.
The criticism of Trump is hectic and always right. 'Agin' is what comedy does best but the most it will deliver is the other side of plutocracy -- the Democrats. Where did Trump come from is a positive exploration, less yaks thus far. Don't see why not -- a Chomsky funster. But the Yanks don't understand the free-market coups in the 80s like we do. Atomised individualized opinions muddying collective comprehension. We and the Brits remember where we come from, they don't remember anything (about FDR). Reagan delivered to the rich and destroyed everyone else. The 'freedom and democracy' we fought for in WW 2 needs less freedom and more democracy. Can't envisage an American comic saying that.
We seem to be seeing collectivism v's the individualism the West is based on. How else can Susan Devoy call objectors to te reo intruding on English broadcasts "boring bigots" or Espiner call us "uglies"?
How could that come about? Shouldn't the finger be pointing at politicians?
One explanation is multiculturalism.
Social engineers have been aiming for an ethnicless society to solve many of the worlds (other countries ) problems. Multicultural society means the government is everyone's and no ones government and they can play us off against each other.
Ryan: Weve had four years of record high. And that was not anticipated.
Are we pretty much now just about the most diverse country on earth?
Spoonley: Absolutely we are.
Cocky Guyon knows no one can touch him.
At the top is a coalition who have divided up territory. Business wants immigration:
CORIN You don’t want immigration to fall, though, do you? I just want to say something. I saw you in a speech after the Budget, and you were speaking to a big room of businesspeople – some of the biggest business minds in the country – and you stood up and you said, “Don’t worry about Treasury’s figure or estimation that it will go back to the trend of 12,000.” You were confident it was going to be a lot higher than that.
JOHN I just think it’s unlikely it will go to 12,000.
CORIN But it was like you wanted immigration to go up, because you were telling them, “Don’t worry. The demand in the economy is going to stay there. That’s what’s keeping New Zealand afloat.”
That group is happy to let the hounds savage the collective conscious of New Zealanders. Media territory is a clean sweep between globalist business and globalist left (Mike Hosking/Paul Spoonley).
"It's an official language"
"reflect the culture"
"it's what makes us unique"
Maori language in crisis
Asians over take Maori: strengthen Maori identity
And you have the audacity to criticise The Donald?
"And you have the audacity to criticise The Donald?"
You also noticed I criticised your incoherence. You and he make a great pair. Can hardly understand either of you, except for some vague resentment that your groups are somehow being discriminated against.
"When you are accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression."
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