Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Tracking the Presidential Election Part VIII. Is there a Brexit lesson for the US election?

There were a lot of early comments about what the British vote to depart the EC means in the context of the US election, and my early view was "no". But in looking at it, and events around the glove, I'm not so sure now and I think there might be something to the suggestion that the vote reflects something going on in the US, and the UK, and indeed perhaps around the world.

In thinking of this, I determined to make this post on it, but sure enough by the time I got ready to do it, at least two national columnist had stolen a bit of my thunder, although to my credit I'd posted on this topic somewhat prior to my reading their columns already.  Anyhow one of the columnist was George F. Will, who wrote an excellent column on the Brexit vote. The other columnist was Susan Stamper Brown.  

A comment of Brown's which mirrors something I posted in my post, was:
It's hard for elitists to comprehend that the commoners they seek to control aren't obsessed with money and power the same way they are. Ordinary people care more about freedom, their kids' future and their country than they care about the mighty Euro or dollar. 
Indeed, I think that's a lot of it.

One of the distraught comments I saw in some columnist's article was the suggestion that the British had voted "for the past".  Maybe, but maybe note, and maybe if they did, there's a lesson in there as well.  Maybe there were things about the past that they liked better than current times, or the future they were headed in.  No "future" is inevitable unless we choose it to be, and if we're headed towards one we don't like, we should change directions.

Will rejects the proposal that the British were voting against history and noted:
By breaking the leftward-clicking ratchet that moves steadily, and only, toward more “pooled” sovereignty and centralization of power, Brexit refutes the progressive narrative that history has an inexorable trajectory that “experts” discern and before which all must bow. The E.U.’s contribution to this fable is its vow to pursue “ever-closer union.” Yes, ever .
Will interestingly also cited Nicolas Sarkozy, on French sovereignty, to the effect that, France was “born of the baptism of Clovis,” and is“a country of churches, cathedrals, abbeys and shrines.” 

The point of this is that people might simply not want what European and American politicians have consistently acted to give them since World War Two.  Seemingly at first they did, but starting in the early 80s, after they had a dose of it, the better evidence is that they no longer desire it. And what that "it" is, is a fully integrated global economy and the globalism that goes with it. Elites have assumed that everyone will be happier with an world that increasingly resembles a cubicle farm, and that everyone wants to live in some version of a bland  big urban area.  One big economic unit with one big boring culture and the goal being to make as much money as you can, so you can live in your bland urban apartment equipped with Netflix.

It turns out, however, that people like their countries and they like their cultures, and they want to keep them.  People  would like to go to the corner pub or bar at the end of the day that's owned by a local, after coming home from their middle class job that might involve turning nuts and bolts.  And they'd like to think that their kids can work those jobs in those towns as well.  It also turns out, as part of that, that people aren't all that keen about shipping out manufacturing jobs to "developing countries".  Not everyone wants to work in a global version of a Microsoft office, and people miss their old farm towns and their blue collar manufacturing jobs.  The promise of a big box world doesn't entice them much.

And it never did.

Nor, really, should it. That benefits mostly the elite themselves who do value money over anything else, it would seem.  Or perhaps only understand that.

This has reflected itself in the Brexit vote.  And it has shown up in the US election in the form of a populist insurgency in both parties.  On the European mainland, it has shown up in the form of rising support of right wing parties mild and extreme.  And of course, the extreme elements that are showing up, including in the current US election, have tended to do so as the concerns mentioned above have been held down by those in power so long that to some extent they've festered and come out in an extreme form.

Where this ultimately goes, of course, nobody knows.  But what it might suggest is that there's something out there that should be given more of the light of day and hasn't. Perhaps the old ideas of Chesterton and Belloc, that were tamped down in the interest of supporting the war effort in  World War Two, deserve to be really considered.  An economic and political economy based more on the locals and principals of subsidarity seem to address the real concerns of average people a lot more than the big concepts of globalism do and are better calculated towards really maximizing people's chances for happy lives.  Unfortunately, they don't get much discussion.

I'm not going to bother with a "tale of the tape" on this one, as this is likely a one off comment post, or if it isn't, unless something surprising happens, there's no real reason to address that topic again until the conventions start, at which time new posts will be entered.


In the election year that just won't keep from being bizarre we were treated today with the spectacle of the FBI criticizing Hillary Clinton for her email situation in no uncertain terms, but also finding that there is nothing to indict her on.  Anyway it is sliced, the news is good for Donald Trump.  Outside of her actually being indicted it actually couldn't be any better.

Part of that, of course, is the incredibly boneheaded move of Loretta Lynch actually visiting for about thirty minutes with Bill Clinton in Lynch's airplane on a tarmac where both happened to be.  It couldn't look worse.

I don't actually mean to suggest that the FBI's conclusion is incorrect or that Lynch was engaging in improper conduct, but what a gift to Trump.  I doubt it will be enough to turn the election around for him, but it sure doesn't help Clinton, even if she is elected. She will likely not be able to live this down in the minds of at least some sections of the electorate that already distrust her.

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