Wednesday, 7 November 2018

It's still the economy stupid - lessons from America

One strong lesson from current politics in the USA this week, is that despite the rapidly changing world around us, it is still the economy that drives politics.


The Democrats in the US, broad church though they are, have much of the Corbynista about them. Many of them are utterly obsessed with identity politics, socialism and many kinds of other ideologies that allow for a stand on both victimhood and hate of the right.


Trump of course, plays this gallery well. He has no votes in the assorted misfits of the Left, but a strong base in the right of the party which can be motivated by anti-immigration rhetoric and tax cuts.


The critical bit is how thought Trump holds onto the centre. At the moment, he has lost the House and held the Senate, without getting into the entrails of it all, the Republicans have had a pretty good run. Especially when you take into account the social media driven accounts of the 'Blue Wave' and the contempt Trump is held in - especially abroad. As ever, the BBC and Sky just can't quite believe that Trump gets any votes at all given how execrable he is.


So how does he hold up the  centre, the swing votes, when the USA as a Country is as divided as Brexit Britain?


The answer is the economy, which through his pump priming, is going great guns indeed. Enough that people who have jobs, can apply for jobs and see wage growth are happy. Happy enough to vote for more of the same, even with all the terrible rhetorical baggage that comes with the President.


Overall, Trumps divide and rule is not a great way for us to drive human society forward. However, for the Tories in Government, a salutary lesson will be that even if they deliver a fudged half-Brexit, if they focus on getting the economy ticking over, job growth and wage growth, then Corbyn and McDonnell will never get the look in - after all, their ideological baggage is at least as bad as the Tories and certainly worse in some areas.


Sadly, the soft Tories we have are not clear enough on the economic development of the Country and instead are playing to Labour's tune of throwing money at the NHS and public services. There is time to change this around though over the next few years if hey can get their act together - which of course, is another story...

12 comments:

BlokeInBrum said...

"Overall, Trumps divide and rule is not a great way for us to drive human society forward."

Trump has no choice - as in Brexit Britain- there is no common ground any more betwixt left and right.

Politically and socially, he is middle of the road, but he has the wit to realize in these polarized times that those on the left hate him and will never vote for him so he does the only alternative; carry out the wishes of those who vote for him. Fight for the interests of those who support him.

He is one of the few Presidents ever who tries to do what he has pledged to do.

Scan said...

Not great admirer of Trump, although he does amuse me greatly.

I do have an issue, though, with this idea that it is Trump who has divided the US. Trump would have been blown out of the water (or maybe not even stood) if the country hadn't already have been divided. Possible it always has, but it was certainly widened into the great, gaping chasm by the identity politics and general hatred of others of the Obama administration and it's ground troops (much like Labour and Momentum).

As an aside, much, if not all the media are absolutely at a loss as to how Trump rakes in so many votes (as opposed to being roundly thumped). Until they get it into their heads that he's not a Republican and that he only used them as a vehicle for himself, they will continue to be bemused and get their predictions wrong.

Anonymous said...

Thing about the US is the divide is really Urban vs Rural, it ending up resembling left vs right was driven by historical events such as the Southern Democrats losing support when the Republicans came down in support of bigoted laws.

You also tend to find that rural areas are more conservative - less people, reduced influx of ideas and you don't tend to try and fix what isn't broken in case you break it, and if you're in a farmhouse a few miles from the nearest neighbour that could mean death.

This has been coming a while, and some of the Urbanites question why they don't go for majority voting - the fact that having to only charm 10-12 states to win is a recipe for disaster when the 38-40 take umbrage seems to elude them.

Trump's success is laying the groundwork for bigger problems though.

As for the Tories, I'm fine with more money for the NHS, I'm just irked they persist in not audit the public sector until it squeaks. I want to see council leaders dragged into Westminster and asked why they feel the top x layers of management having the latest iPhone is more important than that money being spent on the front line. The NHS and councils could make much better use of their money.

And of course one of the biggest outgoings, IT, is still run as badly as ever. I mean, the private sector is shit enough with IT, but the public sector is waaaay worse.

As for boosting the economy, I don't know, it's not just more jobs, it's feeling better off too. It's not just Minimum Wage Bob unlikely to vote Tory when finding getting a quacks appointment difficult and his black bin is only emptied once a month.

Neither party has much access to the real world voters live and work in, the Tories problem is that they're the ones in charge though. Talking a good game at conference and at budget time is one thing, but people aren't stupid - they know when they're getting pissed on.

jim said...

The UK is now in a holding pattern until - well forever really. In order to make Britain a vibrant economy the Tories would have to lay so much concrete and tarmac and spend so much on housing and education and the rest causing the Treasury and the Blue Rinse to have a conniption.

Then Parliament is likely to drag its heels over NI and delay and delay until the EU simply pulls the plug and forces Parliament into whatever action seems likely to kick the can a bit further. But the EU is playing a long game. They will let the UK starve itself to economic death slowly.

At the back of my mind is a worry that even if the Tories (or Corbyn's lot) got off their backsides I am not at all sure it is even possible for a smallish mature Western country to become a dynamic powerhouse. Every other mature nation is wanting to do the same thing and the Asian nations are not lumbered with the demographic and cultural baggage of the West.

I voted Remain, not because the EU is so great but because I don't believe Parliament is capable or even wants to deliver a dynamic powerhouse nation. More likely a 1950's feudal society but without the hope for a better future.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3.06 - "Thing about the US is the divide is really Urban vs Rural"

Not really. Black Americans vote 90% Dem, Hispanics 65% Dem.

“In multiracial societies, you don’t vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion.” – Lee Kuan Yew, who laid down an explicit policy of keeping Singapore minimum 85% Chinese for precisely those reasons.

In sixty years he created a First World nation while the UK headed in the opposite direction.

CityUnslicker said...

great comments today, insightful.

This idea we are screwed because our politicians are idiots is interesting because it is the same argument I used to Vote leave.

the fact our politicians play this pathetic (and often lying) game of 'a big boy did it and ran away' with everything and blaming the EU has infantilised our politics. We ended up with managerialism of Cameron and Blair - which had some upsides but boy did they make some big fuck ups.

I hate corbyn and the left, but I love the re-activation of real politics that brexit has seen when it comes to policy. What should our trade policy be? How many hospitals do we need? how much immigration? Real stuff, not 'oh that would be nice but we have to see what the fifth district in Walloonia thinks in 2027 before we can make any changes'

Not so long ago the moaning was about 0.4 or 0.6% on foreign aid. Now, with Brexit comes real choices and the politicians are losing their teat and gonna have to go meet the voters and their concerns.

No doubt it will get a bit trumpian/corbynisata along the way - but dynamism it will generate, much needed too. A way to control the wilder elements would be a nice to have but not figured how we square that away yet.

Unknown said...

If America hadn't already been divided Trump would have got nowhere.

If Britain hadn't already been divided Brexit would have got nowhere.

Please, let's not fall into this "the nation is divided by..." lie promulgated by the Left, the BBC and CNN.

Oh, our countries are wonderfully united and content when O'Bama or Blair's in office. Not when divisive Thatcher, Reagan or Trump is. *sarcasm*

No. The fact is this. When the Left lose they kick off.

Trump's success is not because of the economy but precisely because of the celebrity scream-fest that has been going on for two years now.

The deplorables deplore champaign socialism and are utterly sick to death of political correctness.

Anonymous said...

@anon 4:34 - you don't think those percentages have anything to do with the Republican embracing of the south when the Democrats took the high ground on things like segregation?

Black America is, by and large, understandably wary of the Republicans.

Hispanics, with their Catholic leanings, you would expect to be more likely to vote Republican as they're also socially conservative, however when they're home to people who view them as 'wetbacks' you can understand they may throw their lot in with the opposition.

L fairfax said...

@BlokeInBrum
"Trump has no choice - as in Brexit Britain- there is no common ground any more betwixt left and right.

Politically and socially, he is middle of the road, but he has the wit to realize in these polarized times that those on the left hate him and will never vote for him so he does the only alternative; carry out the wishes of those who vote for him. Fight for the interests of those who support him.

He is one of the few Presidents ever who tries to do what he has pledged to do."

Very true how can there be compromise with people who call MS18 animals and those who think that is awful? (I guess the defenders of MS18 don't live with them).

Jan said...

"The deplorables deplore champaign socialism and are utterly sick to death of political correctness."

Unknown has it in a nutshell (corrected for you: champagne!)


I think this goes some way towards explaining Brexit too.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Jan. Hence I remained 'unknown'. No wonder the stuff I bought in the corner shop tasted awful.

E-K

Anonymous said...

Anon 9.59 - nothing in your comment invalidates or refutes Lee Kuan Yew's observation that “In multiracial societies, you don’t vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion.”