Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Why Trump won.

Trump won because he said he would and what's more he'd be truly awesome.
It couldn't happen save by poll rigging. 
And he'd fight that no holds barred.

People who wanted change believed him.
Because he was the only person offering change not because he wanted to be elected President but because he believed he would be elected President and change was something the country would have to do coz no way he'd preside over a country that wasn't getting more awesome real fast.
In other words, there was no 'Agent-Principal' hazard.
He wasn't promising Change only so as to actually do Continuity.
What you saw was what you'd get.
The answer was his colossal ego.
Becoming President was like grabbing pussy- something he was entitled to coz he was awesome at everything and everything became more awesome when he did it.
Hilary lost precisely because she was so evidently doing everything necessary to win- which meant she didn't think herself just naturally entitled to the top job. Thus, in office, she would believe herself beholden to those who had provided her the means to achieve her ambition which not even she believed was what was best for everybody by reason of her in-born awesomeness.

Hilary had lost before.
Not despite, but because she had locked in the support of everybody who mattered.
Mattered, that is, at that moment.
Ergo, these were people who would lose their salience if she brought genuine Change about.
Thus, she was the candidate for a continuity the electorate wanted anything but.

By contrast Obama's ticket was change- if only of a token or occultly wonkish variety.

Obama hadn't promised he'd deliver change.
The man was a Harvard educated Law Professor not Kanye West.
What he said was 'WE can!' Not 'I will!'
He had absolved himself of responsibility in advance.
Hence the untarnishability of his cool, detached, style.
Clearly, the same We Can! wave which put him twice in the White House had been derelict in its duty elsewhere. Nothing was his fault. He was a proof that the We Can! wave could do improbable things but, so long as he remained in the White House, it wasn't down to him if it collapsed into a puddle in the face of Big Media or a gerrymandered Legislature. 
By contrast, Hilary, by joining his administration to build her C.V, became identified with everything that had blocked the 'We Can! Wave'.
Now there is no We Can.
There is only Trump's 'I will'.
Will it be awesome?
Trump comes into office unhampered by a 'vetocratic' Legislature. The GOP has belatedly woken up to the fact that he is a vote-catcher. They need to keep him sweet. The Bench too is likely to be tractable. Trump can actually launch the sort of massive infrastructure scheme that will turn things round for the Rust Belt. He can bring tax-cuts at the price of fiscal reform. His hundred days could end with a sustained Bull Market of a sort we've all but despaired off. But only if he gets Foreign Policy right.
Here too there is cause for optimism.
Obama said American foreign policy was 'doing stupid shit'.
But he didn't stop doing stupid shit.
His alienation of Duterte was a particularly pointless piece of stupid shit.
& it wasn't just Duterte.
Erdogan, Netanyahu, Xi Jinping, Putin, Khameni- every one- except Merkel, who is soon to vanish- has a good reason to wish him off the stage.
But then Obama's real post White House role- assuming all his wonkish 'inside game' tinkering is washed away- is as some sort of International Human Rights advocate. He will spend the rest of life pointing out that he did too censure everybody under the Sun- except the Saudis- for Human Rights violations. Narendra Modi may not have minded. Duterte did and suddenly the balance of power in the South China Sea was upset.

Trump has sent a powerful signal that 'Human Rights' will have no place in his foreign policy. American self-interest will be the only criteria. But, such self-interested actions are predictable and so deals can be struck across the board which foreign governments can have confidence will not be upset by Presidential grandstanding on supposedly 'moral' issues. In Economic jargon, Trump's Mercantilism makes policy space, in International Trade, uni-dimensional. By contrast treaties like TPP are multi-dimensional. They take in the environment and human rights. But, this means that Mckelvey's chaos theorem has salience. The outcome of the Trade or other agreement has become highly manipulable. Countries with a poor record on the environment or human rights or judicial independence or effectiveness fear that their gains from trade could be confiscated arbitrarily. Worse, they are weakened internally. This makes for increased uncertainty and hence volatility in the international arena.

Trump's pitch for the White House started off with his claim to be good at making deals. Certainly, such success as he enjoyed in Real Estate arose from his ability to shift risk onto the suppliers of capital- financial or otherwise. Curiously, an indebted America borrowing heavily abroad for infrastructure investment, is a good thing for global stability- provided the Americans are making deals clearly advantageous to themselves. Why? Alternatives to the dollar, as a universal currency, no longer look as feasible as they did even four years ago. Multilateral trade and currency areas may burgeon or atrophy but no feasible unilateral solution exists save one where American seigniorage is backed by massive infrastructure overhaul such that the relevant risk is properly hedged on American stock markets. 
Not everything is going to come up roses with Trump in the White House.
But, unlike Brexit, there is at least a chance of a win win for both America and the World it loves to do stupid shit to.

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