29 January 2017

During our quick Sunday morning phone call, my father, as always eager to get back to the winter sports competitions live on tv (biathlon is his favourite), shouts his disbelief down my ear, do they not have schools? Where do they get these harebrained ideas from? 'They' being the people who voted for trump. As usual, he is convinced that everything boils down to a decent enough education. He has a point. But neither of us knows much about the US or its school system, so we just change the subject. Admittedly, I am still fairly perplexed by it all. And I don't want to come across presumptuous, we have a similar populist movement here (albeit hovering around 12%). But 'alternative facts' without a great outcry?

Before I crawl back into my thick warm layer of self pity and continue with the general theme of big-time whining (believe me I am aware of it), some interesting thoughts :
I think Trump ultimately is going to do America and the world a service by becoming the vehicle that will finally take down right-wing conservative politics for a generation or two. He is getting the entire Republican conservative establishment to buy into his regime. He is creating an administration that is blatantly all about rule by — and for — billionaires, sold out to the oil and carbon industries, and celebrating an out-of-control corporate capitalism. It will be a caricature of conservative policies. In short order he will completely and irrevocably alienate all the growing political constituencies of the 21st century: the Millennial Generation, people of color, educated professionals, women. He’ll eventually do the same for a significant number of more moderate Republicans. And does anyone out there really think Trump will do anything for the white working class that got him elected? Watch as repealing Obamacare blows up in his face.
I think the backlash will be fast and furious. And it won’t just be Trump that goes down — it will be large swaths of conservative Republicans who will be almost helpless to stop Trump or distance themselves from him. They will pay the price for creating the conditions that created him. I think the next 4 to 8 years are going to see a serious sea change in politics — to the left, not the right. The analogy is closer to what happened to the conservative Republicans coming out of the 1930s — they were out of power for the next 50 years.

Peter Leyden (just a tech person) 

and this from Garrison Keillor:

What we know so far is that the man is who he is. There is no larger, finer man inside him trying to get out. Everyone who is paying attention knows this.
The man is clueless, tightly locked inside his own small bubble. A sizable minority of Americans, longing for greatness or wanting to smack down an ambitious woman and to show those people in the hellhole coastal cities what the real America is all about, has elected him. To him, this minority is a mass movement such as the world has never seen.
Everyone knows that the man is a fabulator, oblivious, trapped in his own terrible needs. Republican, Democrat, libertarian, socialist, white supremacist, or sebaceous cyst -- everyone knows it. It is up to Republicans to save the country from this man. They elected him and it is their duty to tie a rope around his ankle.

And another not so pretty picture (source):


  1. I do hope you're right and a shift in politics is the largest result of this Presidency. Unfortunately, I fear it will result in much, much worse changes.
    I've been reading reports on often the same aspects of this debacle so it was a nice change to see a new twist with the graph that you provided. Very telling.

  2. Well, this smack-down can't happen too fast for me.

  3. I could not agree more.

    I don't think it's out of line to say that Trump's election is a direct outgrowth of a weak educational system in the US, particularly in rural areas and small towns. I'm a product of those schools, so I can say that! The difference is that I had smart parents to supplement the middling education I was getting.

  4. I'm hoping for the same shift, an enlightened one that moves the country left of center. I am blown away by what has happened to my country.

  5. I live in Central Florida, near Orlando - one of the more liberal areas in Florida, which went for Trump this time (but Obama in the last two elections...voting for a woman being a bit too much for some Floridians I guess). I am a bit disturbed by the quality of education in this area. My daughter drives my granddaughter to Orlando (a half hour drive each way) to attend a better ranked middle school than that the one that is 2 blocks from her house. Still I think the curriculum is lacking in rigor and isn't challenging enough. Plus, more and more right wing "Christians" are doing homeschooling, which concerns me as well. I think education IS key. And that is one reason why you find huge chunks in this country filled with Trump supporters.

  6. My gut feeling is that Trump will not last long. He is a sick man, physically and emotionally. He has a terrible look on his face that is driven, spiteful, and hateful, heading for a heart attack or stroke or a nervous breakdown. He already looks as if his 70-year-old body and mind are not doing well under the strain of his belligerence. I am not wishing death or insanity for him, but I see it coming.

    Other thoughts: Only 58% of Americans voted in the 2016 election. Of those Americans, 48.1% voted for Hillary Clinton. 46.1 voted for Donald Trump. There are 42% who, by not voting, voted for "Nobody." "Nobody" received the most votes in this election, compared to around 26% of the actual votes for both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. 68% (the 42% and the 26%) of Americans did NOT want Trump for President. The fact that 42% of Americans voted for "Nobody" and opened the door to Trump's presidency is a sobering indicator that much has gone terribly wrong in our country. That is close to half of the American people. I wonder who they are. Homeless? Mentally-ill? Addicted to drugs and alcohol? Living in abject poverty? Don't care?Weren't paying attention? Didn't know any better? Too busy trying to survive to be able to vote? Forgot to vote because they live on the edge?

    Who could they possibly be? My guess is that they will suffer more than anyone during this presidency because they were already disenfranchised and beaten down.

    I think you are right about the fast and furious backlash, Sabine. Your father, too, about education. And Peter Leyden and Garrison Keillor. And everyone who has commented. When the Republican party wakes up, they have the power to remove Donald Trump. May that happen soon.

  7. It's getting scarier by the moment with his executive orders, but I think it's going to be a long haul to get us out of the mess he's created in the last nine days. Ugh. I'm in for total resistance, though, and am heartened by the fervor with which the resisters are sticking it to him. Whether we can keep at it and him off of us, though -- it's Bannon that people are really concerned about and, of course, Signor Pence.

  8. It is dangerous to think of DT as unintelligent. Articulacy isn't the only measure of intelligence and in the USA it's low on the list of priorities; Obama was articulate and see where that got him.

    A very high priority in the US (and elsewhere of course) is to make enough money to ensure you and yours need never fear for the future. This DT has done. He has been a success and among those who aren't too hot on the meaning of words, "success" and "intelligence"may be regarded as synonymous. Nor is this argument entirely false. Since all breadwinners have the same aim and only a minority achieves it, it isn't entirely unreasonable to label this minority as intelligent. Because there are different forms of intelligence.

    During the campaign, as my loathing for DT grew, the BBC showed a half-minute montage of TV clips (none longer than three seconds) of DT's utterances at the podium. And my heart went down into my boots. The statements were simply put, easily understood by those who hadn't done much reading, they played on genuine sources of resentment by sectors of the citizenry, they incorporated simple solutions instead of merely stating the problems, and they were repeated over and over. To those of us who do read a bit they sounded like a caricature of speech, banal, childish and irritating; it was almost inevitable that we should equate the simplicity of the sentences as representative of the simple-mindedness of the speaker. But they weren't addressed to you and me and by now I was no longer depressed I was fearful. It had all been done before to deadly effect. And nobody called Dr. Goebbels unintelligent.

    For those looking for comfort, here's something. The president (author of The Art Of The Deal) is treating the presidency as if he were running a large business with profit the only motive. He is clearly intoxicated with the simplicity of issuing executive orders; no weeks spent in committee or talking to advisers, Bang! it's done. But business at this level is a flirtation between what's legal and what isn't and his decisions will come (are coming) under greater scrutiny than ever before. Within 48 hours of DT restricting entrance to the USA a judge has already reversed the order saying it's unconstitutional. I think there'll be more of this and let's hope so. Thus DT will be forced to stop shooting from the hip and become the new Gerald Ford, or he'll end up in court.

  9. I believe everything said here to be true in a measure but I fear what shambles people's lives will be in when the silver lining of the current nightmare finally arrives.