Monthly Archives: November 2016

Jonathan Pie’s Somewhat Confused Take On Trump

A Newly-Elected President Needs Protection From His People

Heavily armed New York cops stand guard outside Trump Tower in Manhattan. The new president

Heavily armed New York cops stand guard outside Trump Tower in Manhattan. The new president clearly feels unsafe in his home town…..

Leonard Cohen RIP

Trump Didn’t Win, Hillary Lost – Democratic Voters Did Not Turn Out For Her

Thanks to CM for bringing this post on Imgur to my attention (see below).

Assuming the stats are correct the conclusion is pretty undeniable: Donald Trump did not win, Hillary lost.

The stats show that Trump did not perform any better, in fact slightly worse, than his two most recent Republican predecessors, John McCain and Mitt Romney.

But Hillary Clinton’s vote dropped dramatically from the levels reached by Obama in the past two elections. Had she managed to persuade just a fraction of Obama’s two majorities to come out for her, she would now be choosing her White House transition team.

Here are the numbers (click on the panel to enlarge):


You can see that the Republican vote is pretty stable during the past three outings. John McCain won 59.9 million votes in 2008, Mitt Romney got 60.9 million votes in 2012 and Trump secured 59.6 million votes last Tuesday.

But look at Obama’s vote and contrast it with Hillary’s. In 2008 he won 69.4 million votes and in 2012, 65.9 million. But Hillary’s vote was 59.8 million, nearly ten million votes short of Obama’s performance in ’08 and some 6 million votes less than his total four years later.

The conclusion is clear: Hillary lost by failing to energise Democrat voters who had turned out for Obama.

So, how to explain that? Well, Hillary’s unpopularity, the fact that she doesn’t ring people’s bells in the way Obama did, her association with the economic policies of her husband and so on, were certainly factors.

But I would make a bet that a hefty slice of the missing Dems from ’08 and ’12 are young Black voters who a) now don’t have a Black candidate to vote for and for whom Hillary Clinton was no substitute and b) blame Bill and Hillary Clinton for the policy known as mass incarceration so movingly and powerfully written about by Michelle Alexander in ‘The New Jim Crow’.

America, under the policy pioneered during the Clinton years known as ‘the war on drugs’, has evolved into the most imprisoned society on the globe. It accounts for 5 per cent of the world’s population but 22 per cent of its felons, the vast majority of whom are Blacks or Latinos.

Mass incarceration has devastated Black communities not just because of the many millions who suffer the lengthy jail terms which are part and parcel of the US justice system but because jail in America is a punishment that keeps on punishing.

On release convicted felons lose the right to public housing, to food stamps and are legally obliged to disclose their criminal record whenever applying for work. This, and other penalties, combine to ensure that a jail conviction in America means a life sentence of poverty.

Felons also lose the right to vote and estimates of the number denied to right to participate in the democratic process reach as high as six million, the majority of whom are Black.

Hillary Clinton could have used those votes last Tuesday. Perhaps the greatest irony of the election then, would be if she was denied the White House thanks to the harsh prison policies her husband introduced, and which she supported over twenty years ago.

History has a habit of returning to bite those who create it. This may have been one of those times.

How Trump’s Election Could Mean The End Of The Planet

Hardly a day has passed since the dawn of the age of Trump, and the same journalists who told us that Hillary was a shoe-in last Tuesday are now assuring us that Donald Trump didn’t mean all that nasty stuff he said he’d do during the campaign and that the real Trump, surrounded by common sense advisors, will calm down, change direction and settle somewhere in the good old middle, where American politicians and those paid to write about them feel they really, really belong.

The problem with this attitude is that while it is undoubtedly true that Trump will probably abandon the most unhinged and outrageous of his proposals, like that Mexican wall, it only takes him to insist on following through with the slightly more practical or achievable of his ditzy ideas for disaster to follow.

His pursuit of immigrants is one, so is the ban on Muslim entry to the US, or insisting that Japan and South Korea make their own nuclear weapons.

But the idea that worries me most is Trump’s disdain of climate change. It worries me because of all the crazy proposals he has made, doing nothing about climate change, or worse, just allowing the carbon industry a free hand, is both the easiest – it costs no tax dollars – but its consequences for the planet are beyond horror.

Can I recommend in this context to readers of this blog that they make a serious attempt to watch Leo DiCaprio’s movie on climate change? A co-production with National Geographic, it is called ‘Before the Flood’ and is available for free on Netflix. Free! Ok? Won’t cost you a penny.

It probably one of the scariest movies I have ever watched because it shows beyond dispute how close the planet is to destruction at the hands of the carbon industry. The idea that someone like Donald Trump, elected by people who are convinced that only God rules the weather, will now be in charge of the economy responsible for most of the world’s carbon emissions is terrifying beyond belief.

It is no exaggeration to say that Trump’s election could augur the end of the planet as we have known it.

UPDATE – Scientific American magazine is reporting that Trump has appointed a prominent climate change skeptic to lead the transition team at the Environment Protection Agency (EPA). The magazine reported that Myron Ebell, to head the team.

Scientific American reports: ‘Ebell is a well-known and polarizing figure in the energy and environment realm. His participation in the EPA transition signals that the Trump team is looking to drastically reshape the climate policies the agency has pursued under the Obama administration. Ebell’s role is likely to infuriate environmentalists and Democrats but buoy critics of Obama’s climate rules.’

Some Thoughts On The Trump Victory….

Two groups of people should be hanging their heads in shame this morning, the day after the awful day before.

One are the pollsters who got the result so badly wrong that in the future polls should either be ignored or only consumed with a large chunks of rock salt. This is not the first time the pollsters have screwed up recently in important votes; the Brexit vote was totally missed as was the outcome of the last British general election.

There is clearly something badly awry with the way the polling questions and/or the samples are chosen.

One standout exception was the Los Angeles Times/USC polling which consistently had Trump leading Clinton in the days leading up to November 8th, much to the derision of commentators. On Monday, for instance, the day before the election, the LAT/USC poll had Trump ahead by five points; with one exception every other poll on the general election recorded by RealClearPolitics that day had Clinton winning.

It would be interesting to discover what it was that the LAT/USC did that the other pollsters did not.

One big factor totally missed by the pollsters was the unwillingness of those being polled to reveal their true intentions to the guy with the clipboard. Whether this was because some voters did not want to admit they might vote for a racist cum mysogynist or that their anger and unwillingness to interact with the system stretched to the polling organisations is a matter for debate.

But the pollsters were not alone in missing this factor. The US media come out of this election with their credibility and professionalism in tatters. Quite simply they missed the story entirely, although there were some exceptions.

The media was consumed by horror at the idea of a Trump presidency and instead of trying to find out a) why he had won the GOP nomination and b) was giving Hillary a tough fight, even according to the mistaken polls, they sought evidence where none existed that Clinton’s attacks were doing him damage, for instance over his attitude towards women, or his criticism of the Muslim parents of a slain American soldier.

Because they, the media were appalled by Trump’s behaviour, they mistakenly assumed his grassroots would be also, when instead Trump’s people just saw the liberal media up to their usual lying tricks.

And so, they got the biggest story, arguably, in modern American politics completely wrong.

Had they got off their bums and went to the Ohio’s and Pennsylvania’s of America  they would have discovered ample evidence of the alienation and anger that has propelled Donald Trump into the White House.

In fact the largely New York-based media didn’t have to go as far as Ohio or Michigan. They could have driven to upstate New York, to a town like Deposit, just three hours from Manhattan and there they would have found a town very typical of the sort of place where Trump’s message found a welcome audience.

The nearest city to Deposit is Binghamton, a place that was once a hub of industry and the home of America’s leather and shoe industry. IBM had its headquarters nearby and forty or so years ago the area around Binghamton was a place of some prosperity, which Deposit and surrounding small towns shared.

But no longer. The leather industry has disappeared entirely; there is just one cobbler left in the city. IBM uprooted itself years ago, forcing thousands into unemployment or migration. Binghamton itself is a visibly fading city, frozen in the 1950’s almost, and hanging grimly on while Deposit is full of once grand homes that are literally peeling to death.

The town’s people are cheerful and as hospitable as you could wish, but they look prematurely aged and unhealthy, the inevitable product of poverty, poor diets and inadequate health care. Driving or walking through the town you could be forgiven for thinking that you weren’t a mere 170 or so miles from the glittering skyline of New York city but had been spirited away to West Virginia.

Hillary Clinton was once the US Senator for this part of New York. When she was seeking the votes of people in Deposit and Binghamton in 2000, she promised to bring in 200,000 jobs. The people of Deposit and Binghamton are still waiting.

I haven’t yet seen the figures for Deposit but Donald Trump outpolled Hillary Clinton in Binghamton by nearly 50 per cent.

UPDATE: Figures for Deposit are not yet available but Sullivan County, where Deposit is situated, voted 55:41 for Trump.

The Saddest Face After Hillary’s Rout…

Huma Abedin, former wife of Anthony Wiener, whose email traffic with her former spouse gave the FBI an excuse/reason to re-open Hillary Clinton’s private email server scandal. Pictured here at Hillary’s concession speech: