Flat White

The critics trumped

13 December 2016

12:47 PM

13 December 2016

12:47 PM

President Elect Trump Continues His "Thank You Tour" In Grand Rapids, MichiganFive weeks after Donald Trump’s election it’s time to stop the endless finger-pointing and hand-wringing about missing the biggest story of the year and start having a serious look at just what sort of government the US is going to have.

It’s also worth understanding it’s not our government but theirs.

Most of the hand wringing and finger pointing is coming from those Australian commentators who totally misread the US electoral mood and let personal bias override all portents of a pending Trump triumph.

How predictably wrong they were.

Those commentators and politicians who likewise allowed their political bias to override their political discretion to make disparaging public comments about either presidential candidate also need to take a close look at their behaviour.

Not to mention their credibility.

Imagine the outrage here if a senior US political figure decided to make such gratuitous intervention into an Australian election?

Not that the Americans could probably be bothered.

Australia is not now nor ever likely to be a US state so how Americans in whatever numbers and percentages decide to vote is their decision and not ours.

No Australian votes in US elections.

Except for those “dual” citizens who really need to make up their minds about where their primary loyalties lie.

How the US decides to frame and implement its own electoral laws is their prerogative alone.

It’s none of our damn business how they do that no matter how strongly some Australians may feel otherwise.

Who cares whether Clinton secured the slender majority of the popular vote but failed to secure a majority of electoral college votes?

Get over it, that’s the way the US system works.

Similar outcomes occur here.

Other countries ridicule our multiple layers of government and our compulsory, preferential voting but that’s the system we have.

Securing government with less of the two-party preferred vote was something of a historical art form in some Australian states and still occurs without plaintive cries of outrage.

Jay Weatherill’s South Australian government secured government in 2014 with 47 percent of the popular vote to the Liberals’ 53 per cent and not for the first time.

Labor however secured 23 seats, the Liberals 22 with two independents holding the balance of power.

One of them then upset the apple cart by dying.

The other was seduced with a ministry and a senior Liberal was similarly convinced to commit an act of political treachery and cross the floor.

Labor seized the deceased independent’s seat in a by-election giving it a 26 to 21 parliamentary majority despite the disparity in the popular vote.

And the outrage from the political commentariat?

Not a peep.

Because Trump is president-elect he can select whoever he likes to be his secretaries rather than being forced to choose from the elected dross as occurs here.

Those US appointments require the scrutiny of Congress, but with majorities in both houses his decisions, or rather those made with the advice of the Republican inner sanctum, will probably prevail.

Perhaps not in a couple of cases but that’s the US way.

The Republicans, however, are unlikely to nominate any individuals who will face opposition from their own during congressional review.

The US will get on with governing itself under President Trump despite any continuing squeals of outrage from the Australian commentariat.

So to all those commentators who believed they could influence the outcome of the US elections, you failed dismally.

To all those who continue to believe Americans got it wrong, get over it, it’s done and dusted.

To all those who continue to predict doom and gloom under Trump, it may be a bumpy ride at times but at least it will be interesting.

Five weeks after Donald Trump’s election it’s time for some Australian political commentators to stop the endless finger-pointing and hand-wringing about missing the biggest story of the year and start taking a serious look at what political credibility they retain.

Ross Eastgate is a Queensland based commentator on political and military affairs

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