... human beings are not going to follow and obey the exact people they most blame for their suffering. They’re going to do exactly the opposite: purposely defy them and try to impose punishment in retaliation. Their instruments for retaliation are Brexit and Trump. Those are their agents, dispatched on a mission of destruction: aimed at a system and a culture that they regard, not without reason, as being rife with corruption and, above all else, contempt for them and their welfare ~ Glenn Greenwald.
On the few occasions over the past month or two when asked for my views on the US presidential election, I made the terse comment that the Bohemian Corporal had marched before and would at some point do so again. It was a sentiment prompted by the German playwright Berthold Brecht from his play The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui:
Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again.
That heat raged across the US yesterday, tearing aside firewall after firewall until Fahrenheit 270 was reached, the temperature required to melt the opposition. When this morning I told my fifteen year old daughter, who holds a US passport, that Trump had won she was aghast, saying "can the year really get any worse?" Knowing instinctively that "Trump is a sociopathic con artist obsessed with personal enrichment: the opposite of a genuine warrior for the downtrodden", she went to look at the news for herself in the forlorn hope that I had been winding her up.
Last evening, prior to the main count, my American wife asked would reason prevail, leading to the late surge towards Trump dissipating in a last-minute rush of sanity, even though she did not think it reasonable to vote for either. I said “remember Brexit.”
There was no great insight whatsoever on my part. I was merely expressing apprehension rather than giving a solid forecast. I assumed, without being definitive, that Hillary Clinton would continue dynasty politics in the White House. One more spin on the golden circle that goes from the House of Bush to the House of Clinton and back round again. Having emulated the Henry Kissinger stance on the Iran-Iraq war ~ pity they both can’t lose ~ I can claim none of the prescient sagacity of Michael Moore who warned earlier in the year:
Donald J. Trump is going to win in November. This wretched, ignorant, dangerous part-time clown and full time sociopath is going to be our next president. President Trump. Go ahead and say the words, ‘cause you’ll be saying them for the next four years:
I guess what I should have factored in more to my deliberations was Moore's observation that:
Our biggest problem here isn’t Trump – it’s Hillary. She is hugely unpopular — nearly 70% of all voters think she is untrustworthy and dishonest.
Unpopular was a less abrasive way of saying despised. A supposed shoe-in she got the boot out. There is only one good thing about the result - the humiliation of her hubris. Bearing none of her husband’s charisma she was so intensely obnoxious that the political Queen of the Democrats was put in her box by the apolitical commoner she so vainly dismissed as a court jester. He ~ the type of Pied Piper candidate her party promoted as the main rival to her crown because being so uncouth and vulgar he could never hope to wear it (sure he even threatened her with the Bastille if elected) ~ came indeed to call the tune, one that must echo in her ears like the sonorous tones of Handel’s Dead March From Saul.
Trump probably benefited from not having been a politician and was carried home on a vote against the political establishment.
Democrats have occupied the White House for sixteen of the last twenty-four years .... But they’ve done nothing to change the vicious cycle of wealth and power that has rigged the economy for the benefit of those at the top, and undermined the working class. In some respects, Democrats have been complicit in it. .... What happens when you combine freer trade, shrinking unions, Wall Street bailouts, growing corporate market power, and the abandonment of campaign finance reform? You shift political and economic power to the wealthy, and you shaft the working class.
Americans fed up with the smell of shit opted for a different sort of stench, albeit no less pungent. In those immortal words the people have voted, the bastards.
The outcome - a bastard won and a bastard lost. The world is not a safer place. Yet it is hard to believe it would be any different had they swopped sides.