Wednesday 4 May 2016

Politicians should dissolve the electorate and choose a new one. Oh wait, they have.

Ted Cruz admits defeat, a wise move, and Donald Trump is Republican nominee presumptive. I just heard a Wall St Journal journalist just explained on the BBC that Donald Trump appeals to 'certain populist elements in the Republican Party'. A revealing slip. He meant the voters in the Republican primaries, I suppose. 

So voters can be populist. This reminds me that someone on Facebook last year accused Ed Miliband of 'pandering to the electorate'. It would have been better for him if he had done a better job of it.

Then the BBC moves on with its diet of pro-immigration propaganda. A woman explains
for those of slow understanding that lifting visa restrictions on Turks does not give Turks the right to live or work in the E.U. So that's all right then.

Ezra Klein said a few minutes ago in Vox.
On Tuesday night, the Republican Party confirmed the worst suspicions liberals had of it. Five years ago, it would have sounded like a partisan slur to say the GOP harbored enough racial resentment, xenophobia, anti-intellectualism, anti-elitism, and latent authoritarianism to nominate someone like Donald Trump. But it was true.
In other words, the liberals' argument is not with Donald Trump, but with the people who vote for him. Their problem is with Republicans (all sixty to seventy million of them or just the ones who vote in primaries?), who are racially resentful, xenophobic and anti-elitist. 

When did the left start to object to anti-elitism? I find it hard to keep up sometimes.

But in fact, the liberals have a good point. Donald Trump has created a new political base, which is resentful of, among many other things, illegal immigrants. It is now becoming clearer that by doing so, whether or not he reaches the White House, he will change American politics, if not forever (eternity is a very long time) then for years to come.

Populist voters are the problem. Politicians should dissolve the electorate and choose  a new one. Oh wait, they are.


  1. Style is Trump(hant) over substance!

    1. Actually he is a politician of genius. Substance is almost irrelevant but it seems he may be right on trade according to Eamonn Fingleton.

  2. Andrew Withers4 May 2016 at 10:42

    This is the triumph of bombast and America 'kicking ass', seen it over and over again on my travels, and recently again in Freetown, the USA has been engaged in military activity 222 years out its 239 years. It is an agressive expansionist State that in the 1920's was carrying out naval exercises against a perceived threat from the Royal Navy. It perceives War and agression with prosperity. Trump may find the rhetoric hard to implement if he makes it to the oval office. My view is that he has cleared the decks for the House of Clinton to inflict herself on the rest of the world.

    1. A lot of truth in that - if only the UK had not dropped our alliance with Japan in the 1920s at US insistence. The US asset stripping of the British Empire is desperately sad. I suspect the UK and France might have been better to avoid war with Nazi Germany, which led to losing the colonial empires, but the memory of 1914-18 made it very difficult, almost impossible to avoid war. Yes Clinton probable - Bill was fine and it will be good to have him back - but she is second rate and unpleasant.

  3. What makes the border of the nation state the right scale to judge some proper balance between inputs and outputs of goods and services and set restrictions? Cities, counties, states could be just as good, right?

    Why not Massachusetts deciding that all citizens of that state drink wine made in Massachusetts and all wine imports should be taxed at 100%?

    How about New York city deciding that all wool clothing sold in the city has to be made of wool that comes from sheep grown in New York city and all other wool is taxed at 300%?

    Why not individual households? Why pay the baker when you can make your own bread?

    There is no "natural" scale at which trade restrictions work. It only means arbitrarily favoring a few random economic actors at the expense of many others forced to buy more expensive and inferior goods. Why would I want ipads made in Louisiana at 4x the labor cost?

    The article you quote about Japanese restricting imports to their car market should be interpreted exactly the opposite way - the Japanese are just shooting themselves in the foot. Why would anyone copy that?

    Taxing trade comes from feudal times when it was the easiest tax to collect.

    Then it became a weapon to be wielded by nation states against other nation states.

    I know that some people regard borders of nation states as part of nature, and God's plan, and a pre-planned part of how the Universe was going to unfold since the first fractions of seconds of the Big Bang but they are both arbitrary and recent and irrelevant for trade policy.

    Trump's appeal is not driven by economic issues. In the parallel reality of the "media" we're still in the big recession but in the real world he have been in an upward cycle for years.

    Trump's supporters are white men who have had enough being called racist and sexist and sick and crazy by the democrats and their press. One little sentence out of nowhere Trump said yesterday is "we're going to say Merry Christmas again". That has probably more weight with people than everything else he said. That's probably the only thing he got right. And that's why he probably has a good chance with Hillary in spite of everything else (the hair, the golden door knobs, the nonsense talk etc).

  4. Trump is cruel. He loves to humiliate and belittle people. This won't end well.

    1. Yes I agree. A lot of sado-masochism is involved in the emotions he arouses.