Dennis Altman writes in The Conversation (23.11.16) about how Donald Trump’s election will affect Australia profoundly – including in the comfort it gives to those who oppose progressive policies.
‘In the week [following Trump’s win], travelling through parts of California where Clinton was preferred by a huge majority, there was a sense of widespread depression and anxiety as people sought to understand how the pollsters and pundits had been so wrong.
‘In San Francisco I saw several protests, small and unsure of their objectives. The anti-Donald Trump marches were largely expressions of collective grief, with occasional flashes of anger at a system that gave the presidency to the candidate with fewer votes.
‘Ironically, Trump won through the system he had consistently claimed was “rigged”. There are problems with the Electoral College, which overweights the importance of less populous states. Yet these are minor compared to the various ways in which the US has developed a localised system of managing elections that effectively disenfranchises millions of people.
‘… While some on the right in Australia take comfort from Trump’s win, American and Australian domestic politics are very different. Trump’s election will affect Australia profoundly, not only in foreign policy and trade, but in the comfort it gives to those who oppose progressive policies in the name of fighting “political correctness”.
‘Most worrying is the encouragement Trump gives to those who would scapegoat migrants and refugees. The European right have hailed Trump’s victory as their own, and One Nation is already identifying with the new administration. But when Labor’s Penny Wong cautiously suggested that we might need to rethink the American alliance, government ministers lined up to denounce her.
‘The real test in Australia will be within the government parties. Like the Republicans, Australia’s Liberals include many who are genuinely appalled by the racism, jingoism and misogyny that groups like One Nation tap into. The American Republicans were outmanoeuvred and have almost all capitulated to the worst elements of their party. In their eagerness to work with the new administration will the Liberal Party do the same?’
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