A Gallup poll taken on the eve of the US presidential election in 2016 showed that the unfavourable rating of Hillary Clinton was 52%. This is the second-highest unfavourability score that has ever been recorded for a presidential candidate on the eve of an election since polling began in 1956. The highest unfavourability rating ever recorded was by her competitor, Donald Trump, with a rating of 61%. Further, Hillary Clinton won almost three million more votes overall than Trump (2,864,974 more, according to the Independent). This is the second time in the last five presidential elections where the person who won the popular vote did not become President.
How do the two least popular candidates become the two options for president to the American people? How does the least popular presidential candidate in modern history lose the popular vote and yet still become President? Welcome to American politics. The American political system is broken, corrupt and anti-democratic. Domestically, the US upholds a two-tiered justice system, violently crushes threats to corporate interests, and maintains a system where the nation’s wealth is constantly redistributed to the wealthiest. Internationally, the US crushes democracy wherever it threatens its interests, is the largest threat to world peace and perpetrator of global terrorism, and maintains military garrisons on almost every country on the planet.
The US is often held up in Australia as the gold standard of democracy and government operation. This is a dangerous fiction. While it is true that there are some aspects of US domestic policy that would serve the Australian people well, more often the Australian authorities aspire to adopt the most damaging aspects of that policy. The purpose of this blog is to provide information about US politics to Australians, and others, who may not know as much about its mechanisms as they would like to. While many of us hear much about US politics in our media (especially now with the daily spectacle of the current president), many of us may not fully grasp the mechanisms behind how it works (or more accurately, how it doesn’t work). We discuss the way in which the government is structures, how elections work, the two parties, foreign and domestic policy, and the rapid decline over the current generation.
Additionally, the purpose of this blog is to serve as a warning for what awaits those that move too far towards the US system. To quote the words (incorrectly) attributed to founding father Thomas Jefferson: “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty”. For example, in November 2017, while the Australian media was obsessed with the citizenship status of Australian politicians, the Prime Minister signed Australia on to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which was a disastrous policy designed to yield national sovereignty to multinational corporations. Fortunately, the Canadian Prime Minister prevented the signing by not showing up. Even the ABC news article that is cited here refers to it as a “lucrative” trade deal with no mention of its devastating consequences.
It is important for a population to be aware of what its elected leaders are up to. Part of this vigilance is to seek information sources beyond the mainstream media and the biases that it portrays. Hopefully this blog serves as an alternative source of that information.