Angry Mom vs TelePrompTer Trump
Having spent the last few days in the United States, I therefore have clearly become an expert on the forthcoming election and Donald Trump’s chances of becoming President. Not. See what I did there? Three days and I’m already fluent.
I should have said ‘upcoming’ election because no one uses forthcoming these days. Americanisms are everywhere. It’s like airplane replacing aeroplane or mad racist twat replacing Republican Presidential nominee.
Viewed from the UK, Trump’s chances look slim but not impossible, a bit like the likelihood of Jeremy Corbyn of getting an upgrade on Virgin East Coast in the future. In the States, it seems scarily possible. I watched his speech at `Joni’s Ride n Roast’ in Des Moines, Iowa, which had ‘second annual’ written underneath the banner – or as I would call it, second – on CNN which is known as the Clinton News Network to Trump’s loons. CNN were far nicer than they should be and pretty fair to the crazy haired loon.
TelePrompTer Trump came out to play and told an audience of almost 100% white folk that he was here to say why he’d be great for African-Americans. “What have you got to lose?” was his pitch to confused applause from the farm folk of Iowa and you know what – it might resonate. He clearly doesn’t believe what he’s saying or rather he knows he doesn’t have a magic wand that will improve the life in the projects or create millions of jobs but he’s right – what do they have to lose? In any case, the polls suggest 97% of African-Americans won’t vote for him so if he gets that down to 90%, what a victory.
And the other problem is Hillary. We had a cracking night at Carolines on Broadway comedy club while in NY. It was so good I even forgave the lack of an apostrophe. Host Dave Smith hit the nail on the head. Hillary is like Angry Mom. “It’s her expression when she’s telling us what she going to do. She’s like your angry Mom going; ‘have you been smoking pot?’ and America’s lifting up the window and wafting the smoke going: ‘No, mom, course not’”.
What’s to like about Pantswoman anyway? She’s fairly charmless, has a few dodgy things hanging over her and offers a vision that’s pretty much like all the other visions that have been offered and never came to anything whereas Trump is promising golden unicorns for everyone with free beer and a half price burger thrown in. As the headliner at Carolines, the excellent Nat Bargatze put it: “Trump’s asking – ‘do you want to be a winner?’ Well, who doesn’t? I don’t know what we’re winning but hey, we're winning.”
Earlier in the week, that walking moustache of a failed politician Nigel Farage was lauded by Trump at a rally in North Carolina for taking Britain out of the EU. Of course, he didn’t mention that Nigel then grew a tache and scarpered. Maybe The Donald is planning the same if he wins.
But the scariest bit at Carolines, apart from the nachos with cheese which had clearly been scraped off a nuclear reactor, was when Dave Smith said he thought Trump would win and this audience of lefty, arty New Yorkers all nodded in agreement. One even whooped. I think it was an ironic whoop but as irony isn’t allowed in the US, I can’t be sure.
If Trump is playing by the rules now and he starts to break the wall of dislike (geddit?) among African-Amercians and Hispanics, Hillary’s got nothing to come back with. She’s not going to win by being more smart or able; like those attracted to a Yes vote in the Scottish referendum in 2014, voters aren’t going to get excited by a platform that’s says your crap life is going to stay crap but if you vote against me, it will get crapper.
The main purpose of my trip was to see Bruce Springsteen in his home state of New Jersey. He didn’t disappoint with a show that was his second longest ever. Having seen The Boss in the Uk and once in Europe, it was fascinating to watch him in his homeland but also slightly bizarre. He played four very political songs in a row, ones that were hard to dance to so a lot of the local started chatting. Or had another beer. There were a lot of them in Stars and Stripes stuff and very, very few of them who were in any way African-American.
He played American Skin (41 Shots) which is about the shooting of Amadou Diallo, a Guinean who was shot 41 times by New York cops as he reached for his ID. No one was charged with his murder. It’s a vicious indictment of the US approach to the worth of black lives but as Bruce gave it his all, a lot of the Yanks in the crowd couldn’t give a toss. In Europe, it’s listened to with quiet as Bruce once requested. He repeated the main line ‘41 shots’ at the end for quite a while just to get the message over but Chuck wasn’t listening.
So Bruce, a libertarian who described this election as the “ugliest I’ve ever seen”, isn’t seen as a poetic hero by many of his countrymen who clearly had come along to line dance to Cadillac Ranch and get pissed.
My point is that I think politics as I know it is just about finished. You don’t convince people any more by logic or with experience. They've been let down too often to buy that bullshit anymore. The new offering is still bullshit but it’s different bullshit.
But if you’re worried about a lurch to the left or right, then as Bruce once said, we’re waiting for a ‘hero to rise from these streets’ and who that is, is anyone’s guess. It certainly isn’t Hillary and in the UK, it isn’t Owen Smith. He can’t beat Jeremy Corbyn for example because he’s from that old mouldy mould and his banter is rank. In the US and UK and possibly even France, the electorate isn’t going to be wowed by facts or competence. It’s going to require something else, something special.
Someone sensible needs to figure out how to tap into this movement because if they don’t, our Presidents and Prime Ministers are going to be the kind of people you don’t like sitting next to on a bus but with a big nuclear button in their hands instead of a bottle of Buckfast.