When Voters Get Extreme
When this website began back in 1953, one of my very first posts made fun of Sarah Palin. Oh how we laughed. Now, many years later, it’s time to wipe the smirk from our faces. But it’s an international disease; around the world, voters are choosing some very strange candidates.
In the UK, the rise of hardliner Jeremy Corbyn is disturbing to anyone who vividly remembers the 1970s and the disasters wrought by the hard left. Corbyn has been misquoted on a number of issues, or certainly quoted out of context, but he’s also not what the left needs right now, and has the potential to turn the UK into a one-party system for the next decade or so with his backward-thinking rhetoric.
Mercifully Nigel Farage has shut up in the wake of widespread public sympathy for the Syrian refugees – until the next time he finds a way of whipping up anger about immigration. The good thing is that the refugee crisis has improved public knowledge about the real facts and figures behind European migrants, which undermines Farage’s knee-jerk arguments.
Meanwhile, across the pond, things are going a bit Pete Tong too, as – of all the people not to choose – mad-haired ignorant lunatic property developer Donald Trump conducts a love-in with the fabulously stupid Sarah Palin.
‘We have a large and wonderful Hispanic population that is helping to build America,” Palin said on CNN. ‘On the other hand, you know, I think we can send a message and say: ‘You want to be in America? A, you better be here legally, or you’re out of here. B, when you’re here, let’s speak American.’ She then corrected the last word to ‘English’ upon realising that American isn’t a language.
Her ‘On the other hand’ comment is reminiscent of Louis CK’s joke about nut allergies. ‘It’s terrible that we have to guard children’s lives by keeping nuts away from them. On the other hand, maybe they deserve to die.’ Palin also told CNN she took Spanish and French in high school, adding, ‘I shouldn’t have taken them both, because I got them all mixed up.’
What’s worrying about strategic voting is that it ultimately doesn’t reflect well on anyone. A public sympathy vote went out to doomed Ed Miliband not for a reversal of opinion on some of his badly thought through policies, but because he grew a beard and looked less uncomfortable. Was this how France ended up with Sarkozy and Italy got landed with Berlusconi? People thought – ooh, pretty girlfriend, nice house?
I guess that thinking will stop Farage and Corbyn in their tracks, but who in their right mind would consider Trump a good candidate? This is a man who tried to explain the difference between a big wall and a big fence to Jeb Bush in his immigration ‘policy’. Meanwhile in Israel, Netanyahu is refusing to take any refugees and is also proposing to build a nice 18-mile fence. Or possibly a wall.
Well, just when David Cameron made politics predictable and boring, it’s good to have extremes acting as a counterbalance – that’s what democracy is all about. Let’s just not choose people because it’s an easy way of expressing one’s disappointment.
Meanwhile a petition has been set up to swap Katie Hopkins for 50,000 refugees, although the general opinion is that we can get more for her if we really push. It shows that human beings can be sensible when they try.