Not surprisingly, lots of people, not just in the US, are trying to draw lessons from Donald Trump’s victory in the US election. Fair enough.
What lessons can be learned for local politics? Was is Trump’s views on trade, economics, and foreign policy? Was it his outsider status and his “delivery”? Probably all of those and more.
The games have already begun here in Australia with debates about immigration, infrastructure spending and domestic industry policy. There has been discussion of corporate tax rates also, but sadly, there has been no discussion on reducing the deficit, reigning in red tape and unwinding the climate change industrial complex (or should that be the climate change de-industrial complex?).
Yes. Donald Trump’s victory was significant and is important, but it should also be noted that the Democrats also got “done” in congressional, senatorial and gubernatorial races. Between 2008 (election of Barak Obama) and 2016 (election of Donald Trump):
- Democrats lost 12 senate seats (from 60 to 48 out of 100)
- Democrats lost 41 congress seats (from 233 to 192 out 435)
- Democrats lost 14 governorships (from 29 to 15 out of 50)
This was not just a Clinton loss but Democratic Party loss. But notwithstanding, all the focus is on Trump.
Yes Hillary Clinton was a terrible (and risky) candidate. Yes Obamacare and other President Obama policies were abject failures. Yes there must be some correlation between all these results. But the non-Presidential results cannot be entirely explained by the Trump or Clinton effects.
If there is one take away that certainly must be drawn, it is the declining accuracy and relevance of polls. Perhaps that should be a lesson for our major parties. If you are going to have a change in leaders, the reason better a hell of a lot better than poll numbers. Another takeaway, perhaps, is where on the left-right continuum the bulk of the populous sit may not be where it is currently assumed.
One thing is for sure. The next major election (state and/or federal) will be very interesting to watch.