I have been an avid student of politics all my life, with American Presidential Elections always having a special fascination. My first experience of it was in 1940 when I was just 9 years old. I clearly remember sitting by the radio with my grandfather listening to the result of Wendell Wilkie’s failed attempt to toss Franklin Delano Roosevelt out of the White House.
Three quarters of a century has passed since then and I can tell you with great certainty that no US Presidential Election has ever been more baffling than the current one. Who would have believed that the most powerful nation on earth would contemplate having Donald Trump as President.
Given the immense tragedy that would be, can we take a few moments to look at the pointless struggle of mediocrity that took place in Iowa yesterday.
Ted Cruz, a dangerous born again Christian, won by gaining huge support from evangelicals in the bible belt of Iowa. Thankfully, he won’t be able to repeat this in the New Hampshire Primary next Tuesday as fundamentalist Christians are thin on the ground in this very liberal State.
Donald Trump did not cover himself in glory, but his New York tycoon image was never going to go down well with the farmers of Iowa. We have not seen the end of him yet. This is sad because he has no ability whatsoever to be President of the United States. Nevertheless, he is a very cunning promoter of himself, one of the best I have ever seen.
The encouraging news from Iowa was that the young Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, did far better than expected. He went within a few votes of pushing Trump into third place. He has the capacity to be President one day, but he is a bit of a greenhorn at the moment.
Jeb Bush did badly and he will repeat that poor performance in New Hampshire thereby forcing him to drop out of the race because he is an absolute bore. Besides which, who wants another Bush in the White House. The last one almost destroyed the world.
The fascinating contest in Iowa was in the Democrat Race. Hilary Clinton scraped home against Senator Bernie Sanders by a wafer thin margin. Her status is diminished, not destroyed.
Sanders is a 74 year old self proclaimed socialist who gained 85% of the vote of the Under 30’s in a conservative State. This is staggering. He may actually win New Hampshire as well, but I reckon that Hilary will get the Democrats nomination in June even though voters are telling her that they don’t want her. It is then highly likely that she will go on to defeat the Republican candidate, whoever that is. She will become President by default with no mandate to do very much. Not a good omen for the world.
How did America reach this point.
Every political analyst tells me that middle class Americans are in revolt as their incomes are being squeezed lower and they feel that their jobs are under threat by the rapid advance of technology, particularly those who are without qualifications.
They support Trump on the Right and Sanders on the Left because they think they will destroy the political establishment for which they have no respect. They will stay angry right through to Election Day in November.
The big question is this. Can this manifest itself in Australia when we go to the polls later this year? The answer is a clear yes as those same angry voters are waiting to hit the political establishment with whatever blunt instrument they can find.
They don’t want to vote for the Liberals, Nationals or Labor and they are reluctant to lodge their protest vote with the Greens as they are looking too much like the establishment having lost the revolutionary fervour of the days of Brown and Milne.
So, they are looking for a home. Independents will do very well indeed and minority parties will swamp the Senate. If Turnbull wins, as looks likely, he will face the largest Senate Crossbench in the history of the Australian Parliament.
It will be astute for us to keep an eye on Nick Xenophon. He will win two more Senate seats in South Australia and will probably pick up Christopher Pyne’s seat in the House of Representatives. Thankfully, he is a much more sane and pragmatic politician than Trump and he is in the centre politically. Interestingly, he says he is in the radical centre.
Fortunately, Pauline Hanson is now a lost cause even though she may run again.
Be this as it may, we can be sure that there is yet time for another nutter to appear in her place.
Yours at Large
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