Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

The Left needs to regroup, rethink, and reorganise

12/11/2016, 05:22:07 PM

by Nick McDonald

It does feel like we’ve entered a new Dark Ages doesn’t it? It’s sobering (and I use that term loosely) to conclude that, as 2016 draws to a close, we live in a world dominated by racists and bigots who want to spend their time hating each other and driving each other off their land. Snarling & sneering, rather than embracing each other.

That in the 21st century a person can be elected President of the United States of America on the back of policies that include preventing people entering the country because of their religion, and building a great wall across the border with Mexico like some ancient dynasty is truly terrifying.

More terrifying still is that these are the only two substantive Trump policies most of us can name. His website barely describes his economic ‘positions’ (a more accurate description than ‘policies’). He never really knew what he wanted to do, other than win big.

And win big he did. Hate triumphed over hope this time, for sure. But we shouldn’t accept that it’s forever, or that it’s truly who we are. The narrow majority of people who voted for division and hate this year in both the US and UK (actually, in the US, a narrow minority) did so because they are frightened, not because they are intrinsically bad people.

After the crash of 2007, across the world we’ve seen our standards of living plummet, and for many the world they thought they understood and were part of has moved on and left them behind. And no one has explained it to them, and it doesn’t feel like anyone is fighting for them.

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Identity politics and snobbery are destroying liberalism

11/11/2016, 04:57:20 PM

by Samuel Dale

On Wednesday I marched down Broadway in Manhattan to protest Donald Trump’s election.
Thousands of millennials walked in the rain while chanting ‘Not my president’, ‘pussies grab back’ and ‘end rape culture’. I lasted two minutes before walking off in despondence.

This was the complete embodiment of the failure of American liberalism. An impotent march in a bastion of liberalism shouting about fringe issues among ourselves. Completely and utterly pointless. Sixty million people had just voted for Trump.

The American left is in the worst shape in the history of the American Union.

Barack Obama will leave a presidency, Congress, more than 30 state governorships and many Supreme Court picks in Republican hands.

His entire domestic policy agenda can and will be quickly dismantled from Obamacare to tax and financial reform.

After painstaking years rebuilding US reputation abroad, it has been shattered by the election of an unhinged bigot.

It is a dreadful legacy and he must own his failure.

It is not just America. Liberalism is clearly in crisis around the world from Brexit to Le Pen and Orban. Here are three reasons why.

Firstly, the toxic failure of identity politics. The Hillary Clinton campaign began with a colourful mosaic of American life in April 2015.

Black, brown, gay, Muslim, Latino, female. The new American progressive coalition.

For 18 months, Clinton signalled this was the future. If you were a white man then you were the past and didn’t belong in her American Dream.

And it wasn’t subtle either. Ramming it down their throats in advert after advert.

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Sure, let’s laugh at the Republican implosion. But Labour’s next

15/10/2016, 11:20:00 PM

by Samuel Dale

Labour and the US Republican party are suffering almost identical political predicaments. Both have leaders drawn from the extremes of their party who have created a popular revolt to hijack the institution for their own purposes.

The successful leadership campaigns of Donald Trump and Jeremy Corbyn have fed off a fundamental separation between grassroots activists and the party establishment that has grown over many years. Party elders in both parties have unsuccessfully tried to stop their rise.

Trump has strongly backed anti-trade, anti-immigrant and isolationist policies that have long been treated as an embarrassing feature of the grassroots and swept under the carpet.

Just as successive Labour leaders and MPs have ignored and dismissed grassroots support for nationalisation, high income taxes and an aversion to fiscal prudence.

Both leaders have flirted with leaving Nato and supporting corrupt foreign regimes simply because they are anathema to the systems they despise at home. My enemies’ enemy is my friend, in other words.

Meanwhile, both part faithfuls feel they have, finally, got a leader who gives their views a voice without apology or qualification. And it feels great. Nobody is too concerned with winning.

And yet both party faithfuls see the anger of establishment figures and believe that their hero could be take away from them at any moment. They are paranoid.

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Big match preview: The Clinton vs Trump debate

26/09/2016, 11:14:12 AM

by Jonathan Todd

No matter what happens to Labour under Jeremy Corbyn, no matter whether Brexit is soft or hard, no matter whether secondary modern schools return or not, these all pall next to the consequences of President Trump.

Nearly half of Trump’s supporters expect him to detonate a nuclear bomb. No one should sleep easily. Especially not in the Baltic states, where the closeness between Trump and Putin is particularly troubling.

As a Trump adviser, with extensive business interests in Russia, is suspected of holding clandestine talks with Putin officials, it is not hard to imagine President Trump failing to trigger a NATO response to a Russian invasion of the Baltics. This would be part of a broader drawing back of American troops from Europe and the shrivelling of the NATO.

The consequences in the Pacific are also likely to be dramatic. US trade war with China. Ending the military protection that the US provides Japan. Heightened tensions, both economic and militarily, between the historic rivals of China and Japan. After throwing oil on these fires, President Trump can hardly be expected to be an effective firefighter.

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Hillary Clinton’s damaged goods. It was madness for the Democrats to choose her

16/09/2016, 10:27:26 AM

by Kevin Meagher

It’s safe to say the Clintons have cast a long shadow over the Labour party.

A generation of political professionals have imbibed the campaigning techniques that propelled Bill to the presidency in 1992 and 1996, with two ambitious young Labour frontbenchers sent over to learn from the master at close quarters.

The lessons Tony Blair and Gordon Brown brought back with them have pretty much shaped everything Labour has done since. Rapid rebuttal. ‘It’s the economy, stupid.’ Triangulation. New Labour was born in that war room in Little Rock.

But now the Clintons have had their day. Bill was a good domestic president, focusing ‘like a laser beam’ on the economy; balancing the budget, creating jobs and presiding over a decade of prosperity.

But he is also venal and morally-corroded. A Vietnam draft-dodger who, while Governor of Arkansas, notoriously sent a mentally-disabled man to his death, just so he didn’t look weak on the death penalty, (the issue that hobbled Michel Dukakis’s 1988 tilt at the White House).

Never mind that impeachment business.

Despite his many good works as president, a trail of slime followed the Clintons throughout their time in the White House. As people, Bill and Hillary make Frank and Claire Underwood in House of Cards look like Tom and Barbara from The Good Life.

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Why things are not as bleak as they look for social democrats

30/08/2016, 06:02:14 PM

by Jonathan Todd

Uncanny. That is what Nigel Farage says of the supposed similarities between the EU referendum and the US presidential election. This is not a comparison exclusive to him. Far from it. The excellent Gideon Rachman has made it as articulately as anyone in the Financial Times.

“This similarity is more than an unfortunate coincidence. I would point to three parallels between Brexit and the Trump phenomenon that should worry the Clinton campaign. The first is the potency of immigration as an issue. The second is the way in which the Trump and Brexit campaigns have become vehicles for protest votes about economic insecurity. The third is the chasm between elite opinion and that of the white working class.”

On immigration: In the race for the Republican nomination, Trump favoured a “deportation force” to eject the estimated 11 to 12 million undocumented migrants living in the United States. No more. Trump is watering down his position because he has, finally, twigged that it is a loser.

On economic insecurity and the white working class: up to a point, Lord Rachman. Nate Silver has exploded the myth of Trump’s “white working class support”. Similarly, having reviewed the evidence, Zoe Williams has concluded of Brexit that: “The very most we can say is that leave had some popularity with the disaffected and the disenfranchised; but it was not limited to that group, and the people who swung the vote were affluent, older southerners.”

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Jeremy Corbyn is Labour’s Donald Trump. The Republicans are showing us what not to do with a disastrous leader

09/06/2016, 11:06:20 PM

by Samuel Dale

Every Republican in the United States is being asked a very simple question that must be answered: will you vote for Donald Trump as president?

There are four approaches. First, total support as we have seen from Chris Christie and Marco Rubio. Secondly, qualified support as shown by Paul Ryan, John McCain and others who are holding their nose and voting for Trump out of party loyalty.

Thirdly, abstention and neutrality as backed by both former President Bushes, Jeb Bush, Lindsay Graham and others. Finally, outright rejection which is not currently a popular view but is backed by Colin Powell and other Republican mavericks.

These are the four choices that Labour members will face in 2020 when they are asked the same question: will you vote for Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister?

The Republican mess is a useful guide for how Labour members can handle the Corbyn nightmare in 2020 and how not to handle it.

1. Total support

Christie, Rubio and Carson look like the shameless job-hungry careerists that they are. They spent months claiming Trump was totally unfit to be President – not in the normal primary knockabout but seriously unfit to hold office.

There will be Labour total supporters come 2020 who fear for their role in the party if they show disloyalty to Corbyn such is his grassroots support.

This is the road to disaster. Members and MPs should think about the long-term future of Britain and how to install a centre-left government. Blindly backing Corbyn will taint supporters and the party for decades to comes, just as it will for some Republicans. Differences must be made clear.

2. Qualified support

This is perhaps the worst approach of all. Paul Ryan set out a seemingly sensible idea of being a critical friend of Trump, calling him out where needed and pushing his own conservative agenda.

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Sex, fear and social media

21/03/2016, 04:45:34 PM

by Jonathan Todd

“I’m afraid I’m pretty much a flaming ball of hurt and anger at the moment.”

“Maybe you should stop reading tweets.”

That exchange comes from Purity, Jonathan Franzen’s latest novel. It a dirge, according to some reviews. But Uncut found it a fast paced engagement with eternal themes of longing and friendship in contemporary contexts of coffee shops and social media.

The “experts” are wrong about Purity, as they have been about Donald Trump, who was never meant to get this far.

Many Trump supporters are also flaming balls of hurt and anger. Made more so by time spent on Twitter. As Trump understands and exacerbates.

“This is a pattern,” observed Marco Rubio, before he crashed out of the Republican race, “this is the game he plays. He says something that’s edgy and outrageous, and then the media flocks and covers that and then no one else can get any coverage of anything else.”

There is finite media oxygen and Trump’s aggressive, social media driven campaign has starved Republican opponents of it. Nonetheless, if Trump fails to win a majority, he will be at the mercy of party procedure at the Republican convention. Which would be, in the vernacular of Twitter, a real #getspopcorn moment.

Uncut is unpersuaded, however, that there is enough popcorn in the world to stop Trump getting over the line as the Republican candidate. The likes of Eisenhower and Lincoln previously emerged as Republican candidates after contested conventions. But the power of backroom deals must be more limited in less deferential, more connected times.

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Time for Hillary to trash Trump. He’s there for the taking

03/03/2016, 09:17:13 PM

by Samuel Dale

So it’s Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump.

The question now is how can Hillary beat the absurdist rise of the Donald?

The answer is simple: attack him, attack him hard and do it again & again.

Trash his character, his business record, his views on women, his lack of policies, his temperament and his bigotry and racism. Earlier today, Mitt Romney of all people showed the way.

Negative campaigning works. It works because the public are more willing to believe the worst in politicians than the best. They will tacitly agree when a politician’s flaws are being highlighted but act like cynics when politicians convey positive messages.

Every successful modern campaign goes negative and stays negative.

Labour did it in 1997 by attacking Tories on the NHS and pensions.

Obama did it in 2008 on Hillary over her support for the Iraq war.

The Tories hit Ed Miliband’s leadership & economic competence for four years to bear the fruits of victory last May. Miliband ran a positive campaign.

Obama went negative again even more successfully against Mitt Romney in 2012.

Romney was attacked remorselessly in negative ads on his business record at Bain Capital, the private equity manager.

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Labour should see the bigger picture on the UK in the EU

22/02/2016, 10:27:58 AM

by Jonathan Todd

“In 1941 there were only a dozen democracies in the world. Today there are over a hundred. For four centuries prior to 1950, global gross domestic product (GDP) rose by less than 1 percent a year. Since 1950 it has risen by an average of 4 percent a year, and billions of people have been lifted out of poverty. The first half of the twentieth century saw two of the most destructive wars in the history of mankind, and in prior centuries war among the great powers was almost constant. But for the past sixty years no great powers have gone to war with one another.”

These, according to Robert Kagan, in a book published at about the same time as Obama’s second term began, with the clear intension of dissuading the president from stepping back from global leadership, are American fruits. Since then, Kim Jong-un and Putin, Syria and the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands, have brought into question America’s global reach. Nonetheless, Obama has held the international institutions that have held sway throughout much of the period venerated by Kagan – EU, NATO, IMF, UN, World Bank – in as much reverence as any modern US president.

We have our discontents with globalisation (and these are justified, notwithstanding its gains, which, in Kagan’s historic sweep, are considerable, even unprecedented). We have our grumbles with Obama (but it is hard not to feel that he has made a sincere attempt to recalibrate American strategy and recraft international institutions for ongoing transition to a more multipolar world). None of these discontents and grumbles, however, justify a retreat to nineteenth century statecraft.

John Kerry bemoans Putin playing by “19th century rules”, while Thomas Wright has chronicled Donald Trump’s “19th century foreign policy”. Trump – like Nigel Farage and George Galloway – holds Putin in high regard. The feeling is mutual. The Russian leader has said of Trump that he is a, “really brilliant and talented person”.

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