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Engaging Proactively with the Risk of World Misleadership

Trump vs Clinton and the potential of carpe diem in the democratic process?

Engaging Proactively with the Risk of World Misleadership
Missing the point?
A question of style?
Business-as-usual versus Risky change guaranteed?
Dilemma for voters
Time for paradoxical strategies and carpe diem?
Value of a disastrous president of the world's superpower?

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Inspired by commentary on the first televised Clinton-Trump debate (26 September 2016)


The future will no doubt be appalled by the current presidential campaign in the USA through which the leader of the world's superpower will emerge. But by what exactly might the future be appalled?

For many countries the American electoral process is a mess and a tasteless show, with every possibility that it will be rigged in some way, at least in some locations (Ronald Bailey, Voter ID and Rigged Elections,, 12 August 2016; Roger Stone, Can the 2016 election be rigged? You bet, The Hill, 16 August 2016; Spencer Gundert, Hillary Clinton and Electoral Fraud, 28 April 2016; Richard Stallman, Republicans actions to systematically rig elections, 2016).

This would all be seen as a mockery of the democratic process -- or claimed as the epitome of what it stands for in reality. Is the the pretence of standing for something the only thing for which the world's greatest democracy stands? On the other hand many countries currently experience similar distortions of the ideals of democratic election and may realize that their hopes for better governance are likely to be frustrated.

The media, most especially the American media, has embroiled itself fully in the presidential campaign. This started with systematic mockery of Donald Trump. Following his surprising success in gaining the Republican nomination, the preoccupation has been with details, savoured and framed as indicative and symbolic, by which his candidature could be condemned as the epitome of unreason (Leah Barkoukis, Report: 91 Percent of Media's Trump Coverage Has Been Negative, Townhall, 26 October 2016). Only the points made by Hillary Clinton are now to be framed as reasonable and of presidential calibre.

What to think? What might the future think?

Post-election addendum

Following the electoral triumph of Trump, against seemingly impossible odds, commentators and experts of every kind have desperately attempted to understand how their analysis proved to be so inadequate to the reality of the situation -- despite the assertion of President Obama (US election 2016: Obama warns fate of world at stake, BBC News, 3 November 2016).

As noted by Anthony Zurcher:

Very few people thought he would actually run, then he did. They thought he wouldn't climb in the polls, then he did. They said he wouldn't win any primaries, then he did. They said he wouldn't win the Republican nomination, then he did. Finally, they said there was no way he could compete for, let alone win, a general election. Now he's president-elect Trump. (US Election 2016 Results: Five reasons Donald Trump won, BBC News, 9 November 2016)

The more fundamental issue, however, is not "Trump" (as many now fear), but rather the evidence of an unrecognized level of dysfunctional groupthink with respect to global governance -- and those who need to be blamed and demonised. The issue for conventional thinking is then: What else have arrogant democratic elites got radically, dangerously wrong? Overpopulation? Radicalism? Ignorance?

In contrast with conventional strategic preoccupation with "9/11", the questions raised by the election of Donald Trump on 9 November suggest that "11/9" may prove to be of far greater significance. But, as noted by Rod Dreher:

Will this catastrophic failure of the media cause soul-searching and, dare I say it, repentance? Forget it. To do so would require the press to face up to its worst prejudices, none more deeply held than the belief that its members are on the Right Side of History. (US election 2016: America's front-porch revolt, BBC News, 9 November 2016)


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