In This Episode: Whose “fault” is it that the United States is divided like never before? Wait: it’s too easy to point at Donald Trump, or even to the “right” or the “left,” because there is fault all around. By applying the Uncommon Sense of a foreign observer, and without being partisan, let’s explore what both sides can learn from this election so we can move forward.
* Help support Uncommon Sense: kofiwidget2.init('Support TRUE on Ko-fi', '#29abe0', 'L4L31K3PE');kofiwidget2.draw(); — yes, $5 helps!
* Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) studied America and Americans up close, and is especially known for the resulting two-volume study Democracy in America, published in 1835 and 1840, which is considered an early scholarly work of both sociology and political science.
* Australian journalist Jacqueline Maley’s opinion piece: “Why Did So Many People Vote for Trump? Like it or Not, He Is a ‘Safe Space’ for Millions”, is in the 8 November 2020 Sydney Morning Herald.
It’s hard for people — or a people — to see themselves clearly, so it’s smart to look toward informed observers from the outside. Over our history we’ve learned a lot from outsiders, from Alexis de Tocqueville in the early 1800s onward.
So I turned to one of our greatest allies, Australia, for an unflinching outside look, and got an excellent perspective. Jacqueline Maley, Columnist and Senior Journalist at Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald, wrote an opinion piece about us and our election in Sunday’s edition of her newspaper. I’ll link to her essay on the Show Page.
First, what led to Trump’s appeal? “Given his open mendacity, corruption and contempt for democratic norms,” she writes, “Trump’s mass appeal remains incomprehensible to many, particularly to those of us outside the United States.”
“While the world watches and waits [for final election results], the half of Americans who didn’t vote for Trump are trying to understand why the other half doubled down on their support of him, and why he was able to improve his vote by about seven million votes from 2016.”
Part of it, she says, was that he was “tough on economic ‘rivals’ like China, and a booster for the blue collar workers whose socio-economic status is threatened by globalisation.” Also, she writes,
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