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November 23rd 2016 print

James Allan

Trump, Turnbull and the Turning Tide

The pundits were wrong, so wrong, in predicting that Hillary Clinton's ascent to the White House was an inevitability. No surprise there, though, as the same homegrown solons and star columnists were no less convinced that Tony Abbott was ballot-box poison and had to go

trump tank IIThe exit poll that caught my eye from the US election was the one in which those who ticked ‘we detest both candidates’ then went on to break 69% for Trump. That would be me too.  I think the US voters got this right.  Each party nominated the only person who could have lost to the other party’s candidate, but Hillary was worse by far.  As for talk of ‘role model’ deficiencies with the Donald, well Hillary attacked the women who accused hubby Bill not of lewd talk but of actual rape.  On what planet is that better role-modelling?

And here’s another surprise: it turns out that when East Coast comics insult Midwest voters, as they have done for decades, those voters couldn’t give a fig what comedians and chat-show hosts think about the election.  Same with Hollywood stars such as Robert DeNiro ( as per below) and all the other Tinseltown tossers who condemn Trump for his attitude to women.

Regular voters can see that these people are hypocritical morons, the sort who denounce the president-elect in one breath and gush with praise for fugitive molester Roman Polanski or Woody Allen, who couldn’t keep his aged hands of his stepdaughter. Give me the last 30 years of phone and email records for JayZ, Charlie Sheen, DeNiro and the rest and I will personally guarantee that there will be comments a lot worse than Trump’s. So maybe they should have the self-awareness to butt out. Every time some Hollywood halfwit supported Clinton, Trump got more votes. The post-election ‘sore loser’ protests have been enough to make me puke, such are the hypocrisies of the Left these days.

And, just by the way, it’s worth noting that Trump got more of the black vote than Romney or McCain.  He got less (yes, LESS) of the white vote than Romney. So the whiny left should shut up about “racism” — except it wouldn’t have anything else to say, so it won’t. Trump also got more of the Latino vote than Romney (who speaks Spanish) or McCain (who has a child married to a Latino).  Turns out wide open immigration is not popular with all sorts of groups, including some Latinos.

On substance I hate Trump’s attitude to free trade.  I hope Paul Ryan blocks that in the House, though much of this sits in the realm of executive power.  Meanwhile, I think Trump will be miles and miles and miles better on appointing Supreme Court judges, given Hillary’s pledge to nominate candidates who are, once you cut through her rhetoric, left-wing pseudo-politicians, much like all of Canada’s top Supreme Court judges and more than a few here in Australia.   I like Trump on seeing that if China and Russia do nothing on carbon emissions — and the reality is that they’re not — then carbon taxes and trading schemes and massive subsidies of renewables are idiocy.  If we now don’t change direction here in Australia we are going to go from comparatively low cost energy to some of the world’s most expensive, with all of the massive renewables subsidies driving low cost production into the ground.  Those disconcerting sounds you hear are jobs, lots of jobs, leaving the country.

Likewise, it’s got to be better to have someone who says he’s going to cut taxes (personal and company) rather than Hillary, who was going to raise them. After a momentary drop immediately after Trump’s victory was confirmed, the market has rebounded and is going gangbusters. This should come as no surprise when the president-elect’s proclaimed policy is to cut taxes and get rid of Obamacare, awful for small businesses.

Oh, and when Trump says he’s sick and tired of effete European countries (and Canada) not paying anything for their own defence, and relying on the Americans to pick up the tab while they spend their money on uber-generous welfare-state stuff, well The Donald is absolutely correct.  I suspect Australia might need to ramp up its defence spending mighty soon if it wants a sympathetic ear in the White House.

So, yep, the vulgar, narcissistic, lewd guy won.  He won despite just about every big banker, all of Hollywood  – 98% of journalists and commentators, and 90% of big company CEOs wanting Hillary in the White House and spending up big to achieve that result. That tells you how bad Hillary was.

More than anything, Trump’s victory was a thoroughgoing condemnation of Obama, one of the worst presidents of my lifetime. He’s been terrible on foreign policy (think the Iran deal, think Libya, think drawing red lines once, twice and then poof!). He’s been terrible on the economy for all the many people who have gone backwards under his watch, which includes most blacks and all of Hillary’s ‘deplorables’, aka half the country. Indeed, it is because of Obama that the Republicans now control both Houses of Congress and the presidency for the first time since … wait for it … 1928!  You can kiss Obama’s legacy goodbye. It won’t exist in two or three years.

Obama one gift was to be perceived as a nice guy, rather than the blithering incompetent and blinkered leftist ideologue that he is. He was a black man elected to the top job by over a hundred million Americans (twice), which was a good thing as far as demonstrating that the old, endemic racism of Bull Connor and the segregationist Democrats of the Deep South belong only to history. But that still leaves Obama’s awful policies, one of whose few positive attributes seems to be the ability to bring out the village idiot in our own leaders. Think here of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s facial expression at the press conference when he ‘conceded’ that Trump had won (and made clear his patent preference for Hillary) – or think, too, of the outright idiocy of supposed right-of-centre cabinet ministers calling candidate Trump, amongst other things, ‘a dropkick’ when he was one of two candidates for leader of our most important ally. If you ever suspected that the Turnbull cabinet is replete with ministers who were given IQ tests and failed, those ill-advised remarks should serve as confirmation.

The smug, sanctimonious, holier-than-thou preaching from those who favoured Hillary (as if their antennae are the pinnacle of moral evolution), was unbearable.  I would have preferred Scott Walker as the Republican candidate; but, that said, I would certainly have held my nose and opted for Trump. In fact, back on September 11, I predicted to Tom Switzer that The Donald would win. To demonstrate I was serious, I subsequently bet $100 on the Republican, which I suppose in some enervated way counts as putting money where my mouth was. Yes, the relentless publication of the polls purporting to demonstrate an inevitable Clinton victory made me have my doubts, but I figured there was a half-decent chance the polls might be wrong the way they were with Brexit.

Let me finish with that point about the polls. I have never believed, not for a second, that Tony Abbott would have lost the 2016 election if he hadn’t been defenestrated by 54 turncoats in his own party.  There were 30 polls in a row showing Brexit would lose  in the 12 months before that vote. And the poll accumulators had Trump behind throughout the entire race.  If polls are destiny, Brexit never happened and Hillary is the American president.

But polls aren’t destiny. It’s plain they lean toward what the cultural elites want.  It’s plain that many regular voters won’t and don’t tell pollsters the truth. It’s plain that the Liberal Party in this country made a huge error in ditching Abbott for Turnbull in order to appease the ABC and all of the many pundits who, up until quite late on election night in the US, were saying there nd here as well  that the election was in the bag for the Democrat.  A million former Liberal voters deserted the party this past July.  It will be more at the next election if Turnbull is still the party’s leader.

Let’s be honest, and putting personalities aside, Turnbull has a lot more in common with Clinton’s policies than with Trump’s, which is why our current Prime Minister comes across as terminally inauthentic to so many of us on the small government, free speech, Hobbesian side of politics (and of the Liberal Party).

James Allan, Garrick Professor of Law at the University of Queensland, is the author of Democracy in Decline

Comments [20]

  1. Bran Dee says:

    Multitudes would vigorously agree with James Allan in this exposure of the failed predictions of the elite. Also it is well put that Turnbull replaced Abbott to appease the ABC. That government funded body has too much influence and is pushing this country over a cliff.

    But Tony Abbott is not the answer. His training was not for business or enterprise or democracy and he failed when tested. He tried to walk both sides of the road, his left foot kicking for a huge PPL on the socialist side and his right foot kicking for traditional values on the conservative side. Peter Dutton takes no stick from the ABC, and with Christian Porter as Treasurer and Dutton as leader conservatives may have the best team for victory provided they swap preferences with One Nation.

    • Jimbob says:

      Bran

      We both agree that MT has been an utter disaster for the Liberal Party and if he is still PM at the next election, the Libs will be smaller still. It is a shame that talent in business is confused with talent in government.

      I am going to disagree with you however on Tony Abbott. He actually does have political skill, proven in two elections that he contested as Liberal leader. In one he clawed back all previous losses post the John Howard premiership and in the other he totally decimated the government of the day. Malcolm on the other hand has totally decimated his own party! Now that looks first class on any CV – not! And can I say, the “left” is well pleased. So how do we judge who is the more “capable” politician? The facts it would seem contradict the wishful thinking of the left and the ethically challenged wet wicks in the Liberal party.

      I think TA is capable of learning from his mistakes. He has the requisite humility to say he was “wrong” (well – at odds with what was considered popular at the time – “truth” is hardly the issue in this game) and because of that, able to learn. His own party may not want him back in the role but I think without him they are finished as a conservative party. Their voters will continue to bleed to parties who are not really conservative – jingoistic nationalists a more apt description – and will make them the true power brokers of the future. I watched the Orange by-election in sorrow. There are new voices for regional and rural Australia sufficiently strong to threaten the coalition and make it’s effect null and void.

      My view is that the bleeding of Liberal voters has two aspects. One is that was and continues to be a protest vote against Malcolm Turnbull who is in no way a conservative, Liberal politician. No matter what anyone says, he is simply Labor Lite and would do a better job running the Labor party as a natural constituent – an “intellectual”, legal bod patronisingly knowing what’s right for the “battler”.

      The other aspect is that was and continues to be a protest vote against the way Tony Abbott was treated. The Libs under MT

      • Jimbob says:

        Oops – to finish what I was going to say before my fingers froze up….”In my view, the Libs under MT descended to the same level as the Labor party under KR&JG – personal ambition became far more important than the national good. No one had any moral high ground and despite the technicalities of who gets to be PM, many people detested the usurpation of what they perceived as a democratic right (rightly or wrongly) to have a say on the performance of their PM. MT was an unwelcome interloper and the results of the last election speak for themselves.

        Now to finish with regard to Tony Abbott. His success mat have got the better of him – who knows really. They say that “pride goeth before the fall” but the opposite is also true…if you are to be truly great, you must be humbled first. He needs to learn from the past (which I am sure he has) and then throw himself back into the fray fearlessly. Political skill tempered with humbling wisdom is a national need.

        Tony – if you ever read this, we need your voice to be loud no matter where that may lead!!!

        • Lawrie Ayres says:

          Boxers are knocked down but they get up again. Crops fail but you try again with a little more wisdom. Businesses go bust but you start again and do things differently. Battles are lost but wars won. The same players learn from their mistakes and become wiser so why can it not be so with politicians? TA screwed up trying to appease the left when he should have just ignored them and batted for his own team. MT is not a Conservative so cannot be expected to lead a conservative government. The way the new ministry follows his lead tells me they are not conservatives either and should also be replaced. Hunt and now Freydenberg both pray at the Green altar so have no place in a conservative government.

  2. Peter says:

    Typically of too many conservatives Allan has to establish his moral credentials by telling us at the start that he supported Trump as the lesser detestable of of two detestables. Bully for him! He also commits the error of assuming that a non-Trump Republican candidate would have beaten Clinton. That is nonsense. No other Republican could have broken through the so-called blue wall. Trump was ideally fitted for the task and the times. Without Trump, Hillary would be heading for the White House.

  3. Bill Martin says:

    Peter’s response is perfectly well warranted, but that notwithstanding, the rest of what he says is an excellent analysis of the situation.

    This “American Thinker” article is an fitting adjunct to James Allen’s essay.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2016/11/hillary_wins_the_popular_vote__not__comments.html

  4. Richard H says:

    Prof, you point out the immeasurably preferable situation that Trump rather than Clinton will nominate the next US Supreme Court justice (and, I suppose, probably a couple more after that). Presumably Trump will be looking to appoint another Scalia, if such a creature can be found.

    Closer to home, The Australian today is speculating about who will be the next Chief Justice of our High Court. If we can put aside for a moment the harsh reality of Turnbull’s (and Brandis’s) preferences, who would best qualify as an Australian Scalia – a brilliant originalist? Is there in fact any such person already on our superior courts or in the senior ranks of the bar?

  5. Guido Negraszus says:

    Thank you James. A short and brilliant summary. I also believe that Abbott would have won this years election if it weren’t for his own back-stabbing colleagues. Although I do agree that Abbott tried too hard to please the left and he betrayed his base by giving up on 18C. Trump just showed us how you deal with the haters of the left. I do hope that at least some future leaders of our parties paid attention.

  6. pgang says:

    Trump is now making the same mistake of leftist appeasement. It looks like the show’s over before it started

  7. Don A. Veitch says:

    Strange article!
    Why do you like Donald Trump at all?
    You LIKE DT because you do NOT LIKE Tinseltown tossers, Hollywood halfwits, the whiny left etc., etc. – hardly a critique of Trumps politics. Then you HATE the DT policy for the only thing that makes DT different – tariffs protection, ‘to bring the jobs home’. Then you barrack for tax cuts – terrific IF you have a paying job. The average American’s income has halved over the last 40 years due to free trade ‘Austrian’ economics.

    You say Trump is ‘absolutely correct’ on ‘free’ defence, but in fact DT is wrong, certainly he is wrong since the end of Bretton Woods under Nixon in 1974. In real economics, the US money trick works as follows:
    America spends/sends trillions on overseas ‘defence’, just by printing greenbacks;
    the USA pays for bases, in US dollars to other nations;
    the US dollars are then sent back to the USA banking system;
    the US dollars are then used to buy/finance T-bills, to pay for the budget deficit. The US money trick, in fact, pays for the wars the US gains from.
    This way America gets its oil from the Saudis for almost free ( they have a claim on low interest T-bills), and the Clinton Foundation receives dollars. Back then Hilary cheered on the wars (‘we came, we saw, we killed him) whilst the Saudis destroyed nation states.
    DT will not pursue the issue of Hilary’s emails. Why not? The DT backsliding has begun, and the Washington swamp will drown his initial more worthy sentiments.
    Kapich?

    • Michael Galak says:

      Don, I must be thick , but if the situation with printing the US dollars is as you suggest – there are at least two unexplained moments in your reasoning:
      1.Why the US have such a staggering budget deficit? According to your theory, all the American Treasury has to do is to speed up the printing press and – voila! – there is no deficit anymore?
      2.If the US have the Saudi oil for free -why would DT insist on developing an alternative energy sources, which cost an arm and a leg, instead of getting it free of charge?
      Speaking about Hillary – how POTUS could conduct an independent foreign policy if her family trust/foundation/charity is getting money from the foreign sources?
      I would be grateful for your response.

      • Don A. Veitch says:

        US-Treasury IOU’s are the mainstay of the global money merry-go-‘round, it is a private profit system enforced by US government diplomatic, legislative and military might. So much for free-market purity! Believe it or not the USA will NEVER pay its accumulated debt, will NEVER stop its deficits. Why should it? The USA makes the rules and its proprietary owners make a killing – a 45 year predators ball!
        So, why the huge and accumulating deficits of the USA?
        1. A shrinking productive tax base eg Detroit is junk;

        2. Wall Street has already gouged most of the productive US economy (raped pension funds; derivatised/monetised everything; privatised; driven up mortgage debt; junked assets; created student loan debt; taxed wages for Obamacare; paid itself huge bonuses etc., etc.);

        3. A shrinking tax base. A parasitical Wall Street/oligarchic class largely avoids its fair share of taxes. Trump brags he does not pay taxes!

        4. unproductive expenditure (app. 25% for military/civilian pensions; app. 25% for civilian/military health; app. 25% for military/defence wars etc.; 7% interest on debt. US infrastructure needs $4 trillion to rebuild immediately;

        5. 45 years of disastrous, junk, economic policy, that has destroyed the physical economy in favour of speculation and ‘money from money’, variously termed: ‘reaganomics’; supply-side; trickle-down economics; ‘Austrian’; ‘Chicago’ school; monetarism; neo-liberalism, & etc.).

        alternative energy? … I have no knowledge of DT and his alleged alternative energy. DT is a ‘money from money’ man. He does not build factories. DT will stick with the Saudis and UAE/Qatar, the Saudis support the USA and bank roll their (Saudi) Jihadi networks (with US dollars). The Saudis do what they are told by the USA, recently the Saudis etc dropped oil prices to sabotage Putin’s economy, – that also suited US geo-politics.

        Speaking about Hilary . . . Assange has made many accusations, from leaks, but I do not trust his sources (or him). According to the Clinton Foundation, the Saudi Arabian government has donated between $10m (£8m) and $25million since the Clinton foundation was set up in 1997. Recently it was reported the government of Qatar offered to donate $1m to the foundation in celebration of Bill Clinton’s birthday. The Washington Post reported that Saudi Arabia gave about $10 million to build the Clinton library. Saudi Arabia gave again in 2014. Saudi billionaire Sheikh Mohammed H. Al-Amoudi has given between $5 million and $10 million over the years.

        Trump made a successful takeover bid of a USA mainstream political party, I suspect DT is not an ideas man, or flexible, or imaginative, I suspect he does not have a clue as to what to do next! Increasingly it will all depends on what the ‘creepy crawlies’ from deep within the Washington swamp tell him to do, as they slowly take him over.

  8. Warty says:

    It is almost as though commentators and readers alike feel the need to demonstrate some form of dignified reserve in approaching any discussion of Trump. Some speak of the priggishness of a Peter van Onselen, who finds it close to impossible to disguise his utter contempt for an unashamedly earthy, larger than life figure, the type who’d delight in shattering any polite, chattering Balmain soirée, from its faux dignified complacency. All he’d have to do is walk through the front door.
    But Peter van O is just an extreme version of the infinite number of wowsers who are secretly impressed by all that Trump has achieved, but recoil at the thought of his being the President of the World Police Academy (WPA). I’m afraid James Allan may be one of these, despite the wonderful food for thought he provides as a Balmain entrée.
    I note the fact that there are Quadrant readers, gentlemen like bts and Ian MacDougal to name just two, who still remain loyal to a Liberal Party, a party that strangely reminds me of the Vichy-controlled French Navy, an unwitting dead duck in the water, despite being the fourth largest naval force in the world. The Liberals, caught up in a Greek tragedy of their own making (aren’t they all) hangs onto a leader destined to lead them over the precipice, and yet they have, amongst them, the only leader capable of pulling them back from the edge, if they would but swallow their pride and their fatal divisions. As both James Allan and Jimbob point out, that man is Tony Abbott. He was utterly devastating as opposition leader, and served John Howard well as his first choice Rottweiler.
    I believe Jimbob is right in saying that Tony ‘is learning from his mistakes’ though I’d put that in the past tense. I think his colleagues have a lot to answer for regarding their attitudes towards a highly capable, albeit abrasive Peta Credlin and Julie Bishop’s falling out with her seemed more a matter of personalities than substance, but I wasn’t there and have only the media to fall back on. My paper of choice, The Australian, and particularly that rather unpleasant Niki Savva, were hardly sympathetic to Tony’s chief of staff.
    The Liberal Party can hardly be compared to the fourth largest navy in the world, but being bottle-necked in La Mers-el-Kebir the comparison is not all that far fetched. Negotiations with a metaphorical Churchill have not yet come to a shuddering halt and there is still time to do a deal with a man, who almost daily reminds everyone he is still there. He looms large in the photograph supplied in John Stone’s ‘Dis-con notes’ (Spectator); an inimitable presence, a force and a man who makes a milksop of Malcolm Turnbull, who by comparison presents like a Hillary. So is Tony a Trump? I don’t think so: he is a quintessential Australian force, with an Australian touch of blokeyness, so abhorrent to the ladies of the ABC, but that’s as far as the comparison is capable of going.
    Australians and ex-Liberal Party supporters may not know it, but they are actually aching for a Tony return.

    • Bwana Neusi says:

      Warty, You have a brilliant way with words.
      What is so exasperating is to have the ilk that condescendingly or sanctimoniously denigrate Trump as ‘gauche, crass, over the top’ etc without looking closely at what his message is and more importantly how he has challenged the establishment.
      Tony Abbott did exactly the same and thrashed the establishment with a resounding electoral victory in 2013. The same mediacracy that sought to crucify Trump and failed tried to kill Abbott in 2013. They didn’t let up and strove to replace him with the ‘Establishment’, which they succeeded with Turnbull.
      Abbott’s mistake was to try in a statesman like manner to appease the left, which only encouraged them. He should have continued with the ‘attack dog approach’ that was so successful.
      Trump will not make the same mistake. The mediacracy have already tried to twist his comments to signal appeasement and weakening, but Trump didn’t achieve his business successes by being weak.

    • bts says:

      I would not presume for a moment to speak for Mr MacDougall, but I would like to say something on my own account.

      First, it is the case that I remain loyal to the Liberal Party, but only in the sense that in any voting exercise where my remaining choice is between the Liberal candidate and the ALP candidate, I prefer the former over the latter. My firm belief is that to impose upon the nation as a whole the type of Government now socially engineering the State of Victoria, would entail so great a national catastrophe that, in any straight Liberal/ALP contest, the Liberal is not to be preferred with positive enthusiasm as the better choice, but rather the ALP option is to be positively rejected as the manifestly worse choice.

      Secondly, that contingent loyalty does not mean necessarily that I always and automatically give the Liberal candidate my initial first preference. In my Electorate of North Sydney there is normally the opportunity of giving that initial preference to a deserving Independent. In the two most recent polls in North Sydney that was very much the case and a very deserving Independent polled markedly well in what remains, essentially, a safe Liberal seat.

      Thirdly, I simply cannot abide Mr Turnbull as Prime Minister. He seems to me to have no real grasp of the great truth that, for any Prime Minister, being liked is an agreeable optional extra; but being respected and, therefore, trusted is absolutely essential. Mr Turnbull seems to me to lack almost completely any authentic common touch. He tends to speak in an idiom that strikes me as being unlikely to get through to the types of voter whom he must attract if he is to win a working Parliamentary majority. He seems to me to be weak when he should be strong: the ongoing struggle to reverse the egregious abuses of the Human Rights Commission is a striking example. He seems to be constantly globe-trotting when he ought to be here, giving steady direction and reassurance to his Government.

      Fourthly, much as I wish Mr Turnbull to be gone, I have no enthusiasm whatsoever for an Abbott restoration. The plain fact is that Mr Abbott, immediately before the 2013 Election, gave public assurances which he broke practically as soon as he was in office. He then compounded that breach of faith by asserting rather aggressively that he had not really broken his word. The first Abbott/Hockey Budget was a political disaster, not because its underlying reasoning was necessarily misconceived, but because it was sprung on the nation in a way that made it all too possible for an unscrupulous Opposition and media to suggest that the Government was being sneaky. Mr Abbott’s approach to the s18C bullying regime was disgraceful for a Liberal Prime Minister. His robust declaration after the first attempted and unsuccessful deposition, (and to the cynics at the National Press Club, for pity’s sake), that the era of good government had now begun, made him look like, to speak colloquially, a prize dill.

      Finally, it must have dawned upon at least some of the more thoughtful members of the Liberal Parliamentary Party, that they are going to be annihilated at the next Federal Election unless they find some way of ridding themselves of both Messrs Turnbull and Abbott; of getting some quality fresh blood into their ranks; and of going back to the philosophical roots that once distinguished the Liberal Party from an essentially totalitarian ALP, to say nothing of the rabble of economic illiterates, social subversives and moral vandals encompassing the cargo cult of Gaia, the Green Goddess and pretty well all of the cross-benchers. I am not holding my breath.

      Quem deus vult perdere prius dementat. Indeed.

      • Warty says:

        Indeed, those whom God wishes, or seeks to destroy he first sends bonkers, and there are all too many barmy ones in the Liberal Party. But yours is an altogether comprehensive, considered response.
        I lost patience with the Liberal Party some time ago, and way back in the Whitlam era, I was a passionate supporter of Labor, but my brain was rather aswim with noxious weeds then. the thing is, it is little point there being just ‘some’ thoughtful Liberals being aware that there is a looming catastrophe, because there are all too many who believe in business as usual, and are doing precious little to stem the flow of disillusioned voters. Letting loose a few bleats about dodgy pre-selection processes and party factionalism is, as they say, too little too late: the damage is already done. There are far too many Liberal politicians whose views are not all that different to some of those in the Greens, and that’s simply appalling, no matter how broad a church they pride themselves on being.
        “Well, why don’t you write to your local then”? you might say. And receive another ‘cut and paste’ response, I’ve received so many times in the past? I don’t think so. The tendency to not listen to their support base is so deeply entrenched, it is going to take a massive defeat before anyone back at HQ wakes up, and by then we have booked in two generations of gender-fluid something or rathers.

  9. Bran Dee says:

    bts, the Liberals must do a preference deal with One Nation so after the next election the governing Coalition will be Liberals/Nationals/One Nation. Multiparty coalitions are common in Europe, viz Dutch.