As the calamitous country-sized dumpster fire that is the Trump Presidency burns ever higher and more bizarre, it is notable that there are fewer MAGA-chanting misanthropes basking in its warmth.
On both sides of the Pacific, there were a number of commentators who celebrated Trump’s ascension to America’s Commander-in-Chief, (whilst ignoring his blatant racism, sexism, dishonesty, stupidity, nepotism and other faults) as a victory for right wing populism and a black eye for progressive politics. With their hypocrisy writ large and the benefit of hindsight, these cheers must seem embarrassing now to all bet the most ardent Trump supporter.
For those disadvantaged rural American voters who have been failed by decades of neoliberalism from both Democrats and Republicans, you could see why Trump’s hollow promises to, “Drain the swamp,” struck a chord. Along with his scapegoating of immigrants (the same strategy Hanson, Christenson and Dutton rely on almost exclusively) as the simple reason for many complex societal problems, he promised to make Americans’ lives better. For disenfranchised voters, one can understand how that promise held more power and relevance than the scandals that plagued the President himself. So while I can be critical of the naivette of those who believed such simplistic and empty promises from a known hustler, you can at least appreciate their desperation for change and their rationale for voting for him.
But what of those in Australia whose smug posts about the rise of Trump and the demise of left wing politics have decreased markedly in the past 18 months or so. The reason for their growing silence is obvious enough, but let’s not forget them or what they stood for. As Australians, they never stood to benefit directly from any of the promises Trump made to the American people. In fact Trump’s America-first approach threatened Australian exporters, while his Russian roulette (a particularly appropriate description) approach to foreign policy threatened global stability. But all of that was worth it for a while if it came with a chance to gloat at progressives.
And that tells you everything you need to know about the alt-right in particular and the hypocrisy of most conservative commentators.