O White American Women, What Have You Done?

 

As the US election map turned predominantly Republican red on TV yesterday, with a thin film of Democrat blue around the international edges, the hopes and dreams of rational thinkers slumped.  Previously America had voted in the clown, George W Bush.  Now it has voted in a marketing phenomenon, Donald Trump.  While it is understandable that white American men in the mid-West might be taken in by the mythology of ‘Make America Great Again’ – a look back at the past – how could white American women, educated to think and act independently, vote for Trump?

O white American women, do you realise you have voted for:

–          Lies, marketing mythology and liars, rather than evidence-based rational thinking

–          Gender inequality/male supremacy/misogyny

–          Being treated as sex objects

–          A Conservative interpretation of your Constitution by your future Supreme Court for many years

–          Reductions in abortion rights, sensible sex education and planned parenthood

–          Reductions in health care

–          Racism, racial intolerance, hate speech

–          Religious intolerance

–          National intolerance

–          The power of guns, the right to shoot first

–          Lack of information transparency, defying the laws if you are rich

–          Fox News as the dominant source of ‘information’  in decision making

–          Not needing to pay taxes if you are rich, or are a rich company

I can understand why white men and undereducated people might vote for a mythology that includes these things, particularly when I see my town, my job opportunities reduced by globalisation, the Washington set’s priorities and its political gridlock.  I can understand that Hillary Clinton was a very flawed candidate, the second worst choice available in a two horse race.  But I can’t understand why I would – if I were a woman – in a country that has led the world in women’s rights, that has led the world in promoting equality, evidenced-based thinking, how I could vote for what Trump represents.

While I’m extremely gloomy for rational thinking in America and for women’s rights and roles (where white women will actually do much better than non-whites now due to increased racism), for the world, I’m less concerned.  Trump could be good for the rest of the world because it will lead to:

–          Reduction in US forces overseas, pulling out of unwinnable wars

–          Reduction in new trade agreements that benefit global, non-taxpaying companies over countries and their citizens

–          Reduction in the power of the US, as it ceases to be global cop, global thought leader

–          Countries being forced to be more independent in their international thinking and less US-centric

–          Forced radical change in international political thinking, as the recent emergence of Brexit, Podemos, Syriza, Pirates Party, One Nation, National Front and many more national organisations force other disconnected national governments to address their underprivileged minorities or lose office

But the omens for women are poorer globally and their futures are definitely reduced by yesterday’s event in the US.  O white American women, what have you done?

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6 thoughts on “O White American Women, What Have You Done?

    • Lots of reasons Hanneke. Those of us in the cities (globals/opens/neo-liberals) are not really aware of what it is like for those who have lost their jobs or fear losing it, who haven’t done well over the last 10 years under free trade, who aren’t in banking or at the tops of organisations or in political elites, all screwing the rest of the system for extraordinary personal gains. Pollsters clearly aren’t getting the right people or the right responses. Marketing is winning over facts, evidence. TV pictures, simple slogans, beat out long complex arguments. The outsiders are angry at insiders and are kicking back. The political systems are corrupt in so many ways, different in each country, but still corrupt. The inside candidates are not good, they are there through being insiders. Shall I go on. The really big question now is (for each country): How can we change our systems back to get good candidates, arguments based around evidence, not emotion or marketing, get rid of the corruption in each political system, educate people AND spread the benefits of a society more equally (as Picketty recommends). Nobel Prize awaits.

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  1. What a pity the US constitution does not allow a president to run for a third term. Obama strikes me, and many according to the hypothetical voting preferences in a Trump v Obama election, as a far superior candidate than either Clinton or Trump. Were these two really the best their respective parties and the US political system could come up with?

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  2. All too true but I think the one thing that you haven’t focused on is the sexism and bias against female leaders -even among women. I don’t get it but if you think about Gillian Triggs, Julia G and other Oz women pollies, the misogyny was/is overwhelming. i do wonder if the Germans treat their chancellor differently and why that might be? Profoundly depressing on so many fronts especially given the success of Trump’s tactics and what it might mean for other countries. Hard to believe the fear factor could be ratcheted up any higher?

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  3. Sandie, thanks for your comments. While I completely agree with you about misogyny (which I expect to increase dramatically now), my point is a simple one, validated today by Ruby Hamad in The Age. 53% of WHITE women ( compared with 6% of BLACK women) voted for Trump!! So it was WHITE women (and the 63% of white men) who voted Trump in. If white women – presumably including many impacted by misogyny and sexual inequality at some points during their lives) still voted for Trump…. O white women, why have you done this??

    The issue of misogyny also needs to be some thing that women (particularly white women) stand up for themselves, because it is clear that men won’t do it…but that’s another whole, complex story I’m afraid. Any German readers want to comment on how Angela Merkel is treated?

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  4. Graham, thanks for such a clear analysis of white women’s decisions: it is novel – and for me very informative. Do you have generational analysis of the white female vote – I read that Clinton failed to convince younger white women.

    Internationally, I suspect that US hegemony will be voluntarily diluted – maybe to become more like first amongst equals with the emergent cluster of near continental states [Russia, India, China & Brazil, Indonesia]. Each of these large states will now have to carry a larger share of the military and fiscal burdens of continental leadership with less support from the US – hopefully without the need for nuclear weaponry.

    Must we expect the USA to be replaced by a globally hegemonic China? If the US cannot do Global Cop, China is unlikely to afford it, especially under a more mercantilist regime in the US that buys fewer Chinese goods. And why would China need to be so assertive towards Japan and S. Korea, with less hegemonic aspirations in the USA? Japan may also choose to be less truculent in the absence of US nuclear backing. Japan may decide China is a better friend that an enemy. After all China has now persuaded the Philippines of the benefits of friendship – why not turn the same trick on Japan?

    Europe, however, may now never get to be a recognised ‘continental state’. I may be in a minority of one on this, but I suspect a USE will be a very distant prospect. Primarily because, under a Trump led USA, Germany will now have to carry much of the military and fiscal burdens of continental leadership on behalf of ‘Europe’. Germany currently pointedly refuses to carry even the ‘real net monetary burden’ of European banking/financial leadership. If Germany is also expected to bear significant costs of a European military defence against a confident Russia, and if Germany is to contribute to the looming burdens of establishing greater European economic equality [within the Eurozone], then it is difficult [but not impossible] to see the EU, as a united ‘Federal’ state, take its place in this more ‘collegiate’ World Order.

    A more mundane solution to emerge may be a reformed NATO, a military alliance [including the UK as part of the Brexit deal] together an EU with tighter fiscal rules, in the context of a semi-detached USA [but still allied to NATO in the Atlantic Arena]. Finally, Russia may be brought in from the cold, it will warm Europe with its Gas and maybe be granted Crimea [as a final settlement of WWII business]: Ukraine will give up all hope of ‘joining the EU’ once the CIA and other western support dries up in the receding American tide.

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