Posts Tagged ‘Trump’

Media and establishment thrashed by the “people” as Clinton concedes

November 9, 2016

A different world?

Only one US newspaper endorsed Trump.

And it certainly wasn’t the Washington Post or the New York Times (and in this case it was the NYT which copied the WaPo headline).



The polls and the models — not much good that can be said about them.


UK likely to vote to remain but fundamental flaws in the EU concept are now exposed

June 20, 2016

I see the BREXIT vote as an opportunity to correct the glaring flaws in the EU concept of a Holy European Empire. Whether BREXIT wins or not in this vote, the EU will no longer be able to just ignore the disconnect between the concept and the bulk of the voters/tax payers in the EU. Of course if BREXIT does not win, it will slow down the inevitable reforms that the EU must introduce.

I suspect that finally the fear of leaving will govern and that BREXIT will lose by a small margin. The EU politicians and bureaucrats will probably tout this as a win for the EU concept but, in fact, they will have to prepare for drawing back the various EU encroachments into the territory of national sovereignty.


There is no argument that the European Union is a flawed institution. Its dysfunction has been on display in its fitful handling of the Greek debt and refugee crises, its bureaucracy is pathetically slow to recognize or correct its failings and it often acts like an out-of-touch and undemocratic elite. Part of that is the inherent inefficiency of an institution of 28 member states with big differences in size, wealth and democratic traditions, and which participate to different degrees in the single currency and border-free zone.

Yet the E.U. is an extraordinary achievement, a voluntary union of nations whose histories include some of the bloodiest wars ever waged. However flawed the bloc, it has replaced blood feuds with a single market, shared values, free travel and labor mobility. Britain has always been something of an outlier in the E.U., joining what began as the European Coal and Steel Community two decades after it was formed and declining to participate in either the euro currency or the borderless Schengen zone. Yet there is no question that Britain has benefited from membership, both economically and as a strong voice in shaping E.U. policy.

The euroskepticism that has led to the British referendum, and that forms a strong component of the right-wing nationalist parties on the rise in many European countries, is not about efficiency or history. It is about ill-defined frustration with the complexities of a changing world and a changing Europe, a loss of faith in mainstream politicians and experts, a nostalgia for a past when nations decided their own fates and kept foreigners out. To those who hold these views, the European Union is the epitome of all that has gone wrong, an alien bureaucracy deaf to the traditions and values of its members. Not surprisingly, Mr. Trump and the French politician Marine Le Pen both favor Brexit.

I see parallels in the “anti-establishment” views embodied in euroscepticism and in the “anti-establishment” views of the Trump supporters in the US. In both cases the revolt is a reaction to what is perceived as the over-weening arrogance of a political, liberal, elite who insist on defining political correctness and on telling the electorate that they know best what is good for them.

In 2016, both in the EU and in the US, it is immigration and the flawed concept of multiculturalism which is dominating. It is occupying this ground which may well determine many of the elections. In fact the rise of the right-wing nationalists in Europe is the pendulum swinging back from 3 decades of self-righteous, social democratic dogma. Europe has moved further left in the 3 decades after communism fell than while communism was still an acceptable philosophy. But I note that some of the right-wing parties (Sweden, Denmark, France …. ) are losing some support as more of the centrist parties adopt more restrictive measures on immigration and take away this ground from the right. Take Trump’s immigration ground away from him and he will not stand a chance.

Would Clinton or Trump be better for a global economic recovery?

May 31, 2016

After 8 years of an American Democrat administration the recovery from the global financial crisis of 2008 has still not gathered steam. Europe, with its EU chains, is no longer capable of leading a global economic recovery. (I note that the UK or Germany could have played a bigger part in a global recovery if they were each unhampered by EU membership). China and India, together and if their economies were in phase, could also have led a recovery. But the Chinese growth story has stalled and is out of phase with the Indian growth. The US certainly could have, and could still, lead a recovery. But Barack Obama has been too risk averse (read too scared) to take any real leadership role. So while the US is recovering, very slowly, it has not really contributed to being the global economic motor it could be. The primary reason, of course, is that public spending is much too high and, in consequence, taxes are higher than necessary. Obama has elected to print money (quantitative easing) rather than attempting to get the fundamentals right. The EU is still printing money and public spending is little less than profligate. Spain and Portugal are next after Greece and France is not very healthy. They are all pursuing traditional socialist policies of trying to get out of the economic hole by increasing public spending (with newly printed money of reducing value). And with the structure of the EU being what it is, they hold back the countries which have much sounder fundamentals.

The question is, who of Clinton or Trump would contribute more to a global recovery?

Certainly public spending would be higher with Clinton than with Trump. Public infrastructure spending – which is now necessary in the US – would probably be more likely with Clinton. But her choice would be to print money or to increase taxes. Obama took the easy way out and printed money. Whether Clinton would have the nerve to either cut non-infrastructure spending or to raise taxes is uncertain. She may not dither like Obama, but she is not any less risk-averse. Assuming she did increase taxes, she would probably increase corporate rather than personal taxation and that is always a “growth killer”.  Small businesses would be hard hit. As Europe has demonstrated so well, minimum wage legislation only destroys – for ever – the entry-level and low-qualification jobs. Clinton will find minimum wage legislation tempting and may fall into the trap of destroying jobs. There seems little chance that a Clinton administration would contribute any more to a global recovery than Obama has.

What Trump might or might not do is uncertain. It is possible that he might address the fundamentals and really reduce the size of the bureaucracy. Or he may increase defence spending and try to balance the books by cutting welfare spending. He could take the measures to help small businesses and it is here, with small businesses, that real growth and wealth creation is generated. Or he may just help the large corporations which creates fewer jobs and favours the wealthiest.

The Clinton path will be “more of the same”. Not much to gain but probably not much worse than with Obama. The Trump path is unknown. It has a much larger upside than anything Clinton has to offer, but it has a much larger downside as well. A Trump path is full of risks. If the economic downsides with a Trump Presidency could be limited and he helped small businesses more than large corporates, then he could contribute to a global revival which Clinton would be incapable of. But the risk is significant.

I remain of the opinion that The US choice is now high risk with Trump or low gain with Clinton



US media overwhelmingly against Trump, but yet …..

March 21, 2016

There is something strange in the mood abroad among the US electorate and it is something that the US media either do not understand or are deliberately ignoring.

That the liberal media oppose Trump is only to be expected. The Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the LA Times, Politico and their ilk cannot be expected to support any GOP candidate at the best of times. But against Trump they are positively vitriolic. The “hard left” media (Slate, Salon, Huffington Post etc) are apoplectic when it comes to Trump. They have compared him to Hitler, Mussolini and even Kim Jung-Un. But now even the right of centre media (Wall Street Journal, Fox News….) are lambasting him. Even the hard right media (Breitbart, Drudge, Washington Times….) will not endorse Trump but just stay “neutral”.

And yet Trump’s numbers continue to rise. It is apparent that the media are failing to capture the mood in the country. I am sticking to my theory that Trump has activated an anti-establishment sentiment where all the mainstream media are considered “establishment”. And this gives the peculiar situation where any attack by an establishment figure only sustains the anti-establishment sentiment that Trump has tapped into.

Observing this from across the Atlantic has proven to be even more fascinating than my wildest expectations. But the anti-establishment sentiment is also abroad in Europe. It shows up in the BREXIT campaign and in the rise of parties which challenge the “politically correct” view. It is not just anti-immigration, far-right parties which are prospering but any party which occupies the “anti-establishment” space. That can be seen in Denmark and Norway and Sweden where mainstream centre-right parties are taking away some support from the far-right  by adopting somewhat “politically incorrect” positions.

I suspect that this is not just restricted to the US and Europe. I see in India and Africa the beginnings of something similar. It is a mood which has global dimensions and is, I think, something primal. A reaction perhaps to 3 decades of sanctimonious “political correctness” which has – or is perceived to have:

  • excused criminality and bad behaviour on genetic or social grounds
  • downgraded the victims of crime or bad behaviour
  • protected criminals and “bad people” in the name of human rights,
  • downgraded “family values”
  • promoted the bureaucracy against the individual
  • downgraded the individual
  • relaxed moral values
  • promoted deviation and deviants
  • demonised progress and economic growth
  • …….

Maybe I am reading too much into this, but the fact remains that the US media are missing something quite fundamental. i expect that to defeat Trump it needs someone to take his ground away from him – not just attack the ground he stands on. And that requires someone who is perceived to be just as “anti-establishment”. And there is no one on the GOP side who can do that and only Bernie Sanders among the Democrats comes close.

From the Reuters tracking poll:

Reuters tracking 18032016


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