/ elections

When the shit hits the fan

It's day two after the US elections, and after a bit of time to digest what went down here, it's time to jot down a few thoughts. They might be linked in some way or other, but for now I'll just put them down in the order they come to mind. This post here, I'll use it as the piece I can point to in a few years, when people ask each other where they were when, you know, the whole shit-show started:

Running up to the election, I was happy that soon I'd be done reading yet another piece about the candidates (or mostly Trump and his alt-right supporters). Now that he's won, it's going to be even worse. Already there's a myriad of articles out there attempting to explain what went wrong. Among those are:

  • The democratic voters stayed at home (with not even 50% turnout, that's obvious). The reasons for why they stayed at home are manifold themselves: voter intimidation, no compelling candidate, Sanders rage, etc.
  • The left elite doesn't know how much the middle class, especially along the flyover states and the rust belt, is hurting bad. They feel neglected, unloved, taken advantage of. Why they would then decide to vote for a candidate whose abode consists of three marbled floors above a Manhattan tower is beyond me. But hey, I think we're beyond expecting logic here.
  • There's just more conservative people out there. And they don't care whether the guy they're voting for is a lying piece of shit. Maybe because it's par for the course?

Usually not an alarmist, I do feel that the cat's outta the bag and we won't ever be able to put it back in. What does it mean for Austria, where we're going to vote for our own president on December 4th? Are the xenophobes feeling invigorated and legitimized by those millions voting for Trump? I have a feeling they do.

Democracy is broken. It works well when informed decisions lead to a vote. The way campaigns and dissemination of information and news work nowadays doesn't lead to informed decisions. Instead, people usually make up their mind based on Facebook posts, some gatekeepers pushing an agenda and general resentments against this or that. It's not pretty and it fucks up the way democracy was supposed to work.

I'm tired of the old argument that it's really just the disenfranchised, the poor, the forgotten, the economic losers who voted for Trump. It's patronizing and adds insult to their injury. Some of Trump's voters might be among these groups, but being poor, I'm convinced, won't automatically turn you into a mindless drone who'll vote for whoever promises the most outlandishly stupid shit. I give people more credit than that.

Generally, I find the notion that the left (or in the case of Clinton not even the left, but a center right stance) should have assuaged the fears of those who ended up voting for Trump. The thing is, anyone who's moderate and not fear-mongering is just dead in the water compared to what those who don't care about objectivity, nuance or complexity can do. How is a left supposed to counter the fear-mongering when clearly people don't have the time nor the interest to invest in answers that can't be compressed into a tweet? It's a general problem that just happens to repeat itself wherever right-wing demagogues have set themselves up.

This post has been sitting in my editor for about a week now and looking at how things are shaping up, it's all going to get down exactly as bad as feared, if not worse. But that's for another rambling post to discuss.