FOUR YEARS LATER, THE QUESTION STILL REMAINS . . .
by Selvam Canagaratna
“Once a change of direction has begun, even though it is the wrong one, it still tends to clothe itself as thoroughly in the appurtenances of rightness as if it had been a natural all along.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Crack-Up (1945)
Rob Urie, an artist and political economist, writing on October 16th in CounterPunch magazine, posed the question of who elected Donald Trump may seem redundant, irrelevant even, this close to a new election at the time of writing. He noted that the upset victory of Donald Trump in 2016, produced a torrent of head scratching, finger-pointing and outrage by pundits, the politically oriented commentariat, and the vast food chain of professional politicians, consultants and advisors whose livelihoods depend on selling plausible explanations of unexpected outcomes to political donors.
What is inexplicable in one explanation, fits into the trajectory of an historical epoch in another. The Wall Street – DC establishment sees the question in terms of the comparative incomes of the people who voted. However, this view casts aside the exodus of core constituencies from the duopoly political parties and electoral politics. As is illustrated below, voters who didn’t vote in 2016, or who switched from one party to another in ways that are inexplicable within the official view, had a large impact on the outcome.
Right up to election eve, 2016, the overwhelming consensus was that Donald Trump would lose and that capitalist democracy would proceed apace with corporate bailouts, gratuitous wars, and trade agreements that benefit corporate executives and the already rich. The predominant storyline in the press going into the 2016 election was that Donald Trump’s appeal was to a dispossessed ‘white working class’ which was receptive to xenophobic scapegoating, of which Mr. Trump provided particularly crude examples. Interviews were featured with former workers in the industrial economies of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio, who shared tales of lives lived ‘playing by the rules’ laid out by liberal politicians, but who nevertheless were cast aside when trade agreements like NAFTA sent their livelihoods overseas in pursuit of low-wage labour. The result: widespread disenfranchisement, executive bonuses and stock market gains.
Left unsaid going into the 2016 election was that voters had been abandoning the establishment political parties since George W. Bush’s war with Iraq headed south around 2005. First it was Republicans who bailed on the Republican Party. Then, following the implementation of Barack Obama’s political program, came the Democrats. Party affiliation held steady going into the 2008 election, after which it declined precipitously as Mr. Obama implemented his neoliberal political program.
With respect to those who voted in 2016 — Donald Trump’s constituency was richer, in terms of both average and median income, than were Hillary Clinton’s voters. This point was used by the establishment press to ditch the ‘white working class’ meme and shift focus to the explanations being offered by political marketers for the Democrats. As far as it goes, the comparative incomes explanation fits the facts provided. And it is much truer than the explanations that establishment Democrats invented to explain their loss. But in terms of descriptive political reporting, it excludes more than it illuminates. In fact, core constituencies for the Democrats either stayed home (blacks) or voted for Donald Trump after twice voting for Barack Obama. Treating these constituencies like they either don’t exist or don’t matter is, in fact, The Problem.
The establishment Democrat’s explanation for Mr. Trump’s victory, conceived by campaign consultants to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, was 1) racist backlash against Barack Obama’s tenure as the first Black President of the US, 2) endorsement of Donald Trump’s racist and xenophobic statements by white nationalist and anti-immigrant groups looking for a leader to lead their movement, and 3) a campaign to sow social divisions in the US led by Russia, in particular by Vladimir Putin. The only reference made to the consequences of four decades of planned de-industrialization was ‘economic anxiety’ as a psychological malady unrelated to economic dispossession.
A paradox lies at the heart of the conceit that not voting is an implicit endorsement, or more minimally, a facilitation of the election of, this candidate or that. Do those who chide eligible voters for not choosing between politically retrograde candidates really care to go there and blame Blacks and Hispanics for the election of Donald Trump? The arithmetic is more complicated, with proportional representation calculations needed to adjust the actual impact in order to assign precise responsibility. But as a general proposition, does boycotting an election really imply that those who did the boycotting are responsible for the outcome?
From a political marketing perspective, once it was known that people of colour partially boycotted the 2016 election, the obvious marketing strategy became to create racial appeals that boosted the Democrat’s ‘brand’ (forgive me) and diminished their competitor’s. In fact, leading Democratic strategists who had spent storied careers crafting cynical dog whistle campaigns, began shouting racist! to shut down any challenge to their campaign. Donald Trump helped their cause with his insipid slanders of mostly powerless people. But the disenchantment expressed by black voters in 2016 illustrates the power of people to make up their own minds regarding political issues.
According to the polling organization , by election eve 2016, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were the two most reviled candidates for President in polling history. Both of the establishment political parties experienced plummeting memberships during periods of profound policy failures.
Writer Matt Taibbi and the makers of the documentary film, The Social Dilemma, have both argued that traditional and social media have turned stoking social divisions into a business plan. From a Marxist perspective, class antagonisms are the product of economic relations.
the down ballot exiling of Democrats during the Obama years — with the loss of over a thousand congressional seats and state and local elected positions, as the natural ebb and flow of American politics. This was the pitch that Nancy Pelosi offered in 2016, the ‘fashion’ view of politics, that voters like to change which party governs every few years. To buy it, one must ignore the history of Democrats and Republicans working together to create institutional impediments that make third-party challenges well nigh impossible. Facilitating the will of the people does not correlate with excluding viable candidates because they lack party affiliation.
To the issue at hand, the question of who elected Donald Trump in 2016, the comparative incomes approach is reactionary in the sense that it affirms the establishment view that low relative and/or absolute voter participation is due to personal and cultural factors rather than political disaffection. Circumstantial evidence, such as the steep drop in voter affiliation with the establishment parties, the correlation of this drop with identifiable policy failures, vibrant and enthusiastic political participation outside of official channels, and the widespread and historic loathing of the duopoly Party scions put forward for elected office, suggests that there is more to the story. With their livelihoods and power tied to perpetuating the existing system, it is folly to wait for the political leadership to understand this. They never will.
Hair Growth and Thickness
LOOK GOOD – with Disna
Oiling is an old home remedy for hair growth and thickness. Oiling is also used for the strength, shine, and length of hair, from ancient times. The use of coconut oil, especially, is very effective when it comes to the amplification of hair health. Additionally, there are many essential oils for faster hair growth which you can use, too.
* How to Use: Generally, hair oiling works best when applied overnight. You could use this therapy every night, or after each night, then wash your hair, in the morning, before heading for studies, or work.
* Aloe Vera:
Aloe vera has long been used as a home remedy for hair growth, thickness, and treating hair loss problems It contains vitamins A, C, and E. All three of these vitamins are known to contribute to cell turnover, supporting healthy cell growth and shiny hair. Plus, vitamin B-12 and folic acid are also included in aloe vera gel. Both of these elements can keep your hair from falling out. Aloe vera plants can be easily grown indoors. A leaf can be plucked, occasionally, and cut open to reveal its gel. This gel needs to be applied on the scalp, basically, to provide nourishment to the roots.
* How to Use:
Rub this gel on your head properly, leaving no area dry; wash after half an hour or so. Keeping this massage as a part of your weekly routine will eventually make your hair thick and long.
* Green Tea:
Green tea is often consumed as a home remedy for weight loss. Surprisingly, it has many other benefits, including hair-related benefits.
* How to Use:
Consuming green tea once every day can add to the strength and length of your hair. If your body is extremely comfortable with green tea, then you may even consume it twice every day.
* Onion Juice:
A bi-weekly application of onion juice can relieve you of your tension, regarding hair health. The smell can really torture you, but divert your attention in doing something else for a while, like making a puzzle or washing the dishes. From an early age, onion juice has been used as a home remedy to control hair fall. Research has shown that onion juice has been successful in treating patchy alopecia areata (non-scarring hair loss condition) by promoting hair growth .
* How to Use:
Take half onion and blend it. Apply the mixture on every nook and corner of your scalp and let it sit for some 60 minutes, or so. Shampoo it off when it’s time for the hair-wash.
Fun-loving, but… sensitive
This week, my chat is with Nilu Vithanage. She is quite active, as a teledrama actress – having done four, already; her first was ‘Pavela Will Come In The Cloud, Mom’ (playing the role of a nurse). Then Came ‘Heavenly Palaces’ (student), ‘Black Town’ (a village character Kenkaiya), and ‘Wings Of Fire,’ currently being shown, with Nilu as a policewoman. You could checkout ‘Wings Of Fire,’ weekdays, on Swarnavahini, at 7.30 pm. Nilu is also active as a stage drama artiste, dancer…and has also been featured in musical videos.
And, this is how our chit-chat went…
1. How would you describe yourself?
Let’s say, I’m a bit on the playful side, and I like to have a lot of fun. But, I do find the time to relax, and, at home, it’s dancing to music! Yeah, I love dancing. Oh, I need to add that I’m a bit sensitive.
2. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I get angry quickly. Fortunately, that anger doesn’t last long – just five to 10 minutes. But I wish I could get rid of anger, totally from my system!
3. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
Nope, can’t think of anything, in particular. Everything is fine with us, and I’m proud of my only brother, and I feel safe when he is around. Or, come to think of it, if I did have another brother, I would feel doubly safe…when going out, in particular!
I did my studies at two schools – C.W.W. Kannangara Central College, and Panadura Sumangala Girls’ School for my higher studies. Representing my school, I won first place in a speech competition and dance competition, as well.
5. Happiest moment?
When my husband comes home, or talks to me on the phone. He is stationed in Hatton and those calls and home visits are my happiest moments
6. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I really find a lot of happiness feeding the fish, in ponds. I love to see them rush to pick up the tidbits I throw into the pond. That’s my kind of happiness – being close to nature.
7. Are you religious?
I would say ‘yes’ to that question. I like to go to the temple, listen to sermons, participate in meditation programmes, and I do not miss out on observing sil, whenever possible. I also find solace in visiting churches.
8. Are you superstitious?
A big ‘no.’ Not bothered about all those superstitious things that generally affect a lot of people.
9. Your ideal guy?
My husband, of course, and that’s the reason I’m married to him! He has been a great support to me, in my acting career, as well in all other activities. He understands me and he loves me. And, I love him, too.
10. Which living person do you most admire?
I would say my Dad. I truly appreciate the mentorship he gave me, from a young age, and the things we received from him
11. Which is your most treasured possession?
12. If you were marooned on a desert island, who would you like as your companion?
A camel would be ideal as that would make it easier for me to find a way out from a desert island!
13. Your most embarrassing moment?
One day, recently, with the greatest of difficulty, I managed to join a one meter distance queue, to withdraw money from an ATM. And, then I realised I didn’t bring the card along!
14. Done anything daring?
I would say…yes, when I ventured out to get involved in teledramas. It was a kind of a daring decision and I’m glad it’s now working out for me – beautifully.
15. Your ideal vacation?
I would say Thailand, after reading your articles, and talking to you about Amazing Thailand – the shopping, things to see and do, etc. When the scene improves, it will be…Thailand here I come!
16. What kind of music are you into?
The fast, rhythmic stuff because I have a kind of rhythm in my body, and I love to dance…to music.
17. Favourite radio station:
I don’t fancy any particular station. It all depends on the music they play. If it’s my kind of music, then I’m locked-on to that particular station.
18. Favourtie TV station:
Whenever I have some free time, I search the TV channels for a good programme. So it’s the programme that attracts me.
19. What would you like to be born as in your next life?
Maybe a bird so that I would be free to fly anywhere I want to.
20. Any major plans for the future?
I’m currently giving lessons to schoolchildren, in dancing, and I plan to have my own dancing institute in the future.
Snail-napping sets the stage for CGI road trip
The SpongeBob Movie:Sponge on the Run
By Tharishi hewaviThanagamage
Based on the famous and one of the longest-running American animated series that made its debut on Nickelodeon in 1999, created by marine science educator and animator Stephen Hillenburg, ‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run’ is the latest addition to the SpongeBob movie franchise, coming in as the third installment after ‘The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie’ (2004) and ‘The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water’ (2015).
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