Contributed by Jim Hayes
Australia has had to endure weeks of aa news blitz over the mid-term elections in the United Sates, and it hasn’t ended yet. No surprise here. Being a virtual satellite of that country means American news takes first place in Australian media.
The United States has tremendous economic and political clout here, and the dominance over our media by Murdoch’s American based News Corp reinforces this.
Below is the front-page response to the election result by the New York Post.
The antics of Donald Trump and dithering of Joe Biden are well known in Australia. We know more about other leading Republicans and Democrats than we do about our own politicians. It’s as if Washington is the centre of our universe. Other nations don’t behave in this way. They give greater value to their own affairs and know that there is a bigger world with almost 200 nations, and that all are important.
Yet, despite this truth, last week’s elections may have an impact that will spread across the planet and affect Australia. To grasp this, you must get past the sanitised story that centres on the personalities and avoids the forces behind the current players. Money runs politics. Both parties are under the control of their major corporate donors.
The United States of America has been heading into economic troubled waters and creeping political instability for some time, and the gulf between those who have plenty and those who must go without is widening dramatically. The difference of what it’s like living the so-called American dream for much of the working class and people of colour is gapingly obvious. Living standards are rolling backwards for the majority. The education system is third rate and provides few opportunities. The health system, which offers help according to the size of your wallet, is a disgrace. Anger among the alienated, discriminated against, and the poor, is rising. No wonder. The land of the red, white, and blue is starting to look less like an advanced industrialised nation more like a poor developing one.
Last week’s midterm battle for seats in the Congress and for the Senate addressed none of problems. It was about the personalities and whether the Republicans would gain a majority, or the Democrats survive and continue in much the same way. The Republicans under the sway of Trump pitched the contest in terms of the need to Make America Great Again.
The Democrat countered with a defence of American democracy against the threat posed by Trump.
Although there is an element of truth in each, putting an end to the downward spiral and the importance of democracy, both campaigns failed to lay out a practical path forward worthy of the title. Neither had a plan to take on and end the great divide in American society. Neither came to terms with the reality that the American political system is not particularly democratic by any standard or offered nothing to change this.
The Donald Trump led Republicans failed to gain control and the Democrats just held on. Rupert Murdoch turning against Trump and promotion of rival Ron DeSantis, probably had a lot to do with the outcome.
Little is going to change. In the longer-term, whether it’s Trump or DeSantis running for president. They are peas from the same pod. DeSantis shares Trump’s political ideology. The deepening great divide will continue to provide fertile ground to recruit form the dispossessed and angry. The bandwagon started by Trump promises a quick fix and will continue to be a magnet for some.
By acting as he defenders of a status quo that few believe in now, the Democrats are standing on an insecure platform. They are inadvertently setting the conditions for their defeat in 2024. Trump may well prove to the be real victor, and whether in his name or someone else’s, the bandwagon will survive to inflict itself onto the nation and the rest of the world.
Should Australia be worried? Absolutely. The politics of the United States has a habit of making itself here in some way. Australia would be much better off by loosening the ties and going forward on our own path.