The triumph of Trumpism

The recent chaos around One Nation (including Fraser Anning, reactions to the Christchurch atrocity and the Al Jazeera sting and the reactions to it, show how thoroughly Trumpism has conquered the Australian right. Most obviously, any doubts anyone might have had about Hanson and One Nation have been resolved. She and her party are racists (or in some cases, opportunities riding the racist bandwagon) trading in lunatic conspiracy theories and the rhetoric of the terrorist alt-right. Nothing really new here.

The truly revealing outcome is the reaction of the mainstream right. It’s divided into two groups: those (most notably Tony Abbott and the entire National Party) who have maintained their support for an open alliance with Hanson, and those like Morrison and (Oz columnist) Paul Kelly who have taken the line: Racists are bad, but the Greens are worse.


This makes no sense in terms of policy positions. The items on which the Greens have been attacked include support for estate taxes (maintained for decades under that notorious communist, Sir Robert Menzies), phasing out coal-fired power by 2030 (five years behind the target of the Conservative government in the UK) and hostility to the US alliance (at least this is a radical position, but one shared with the left of the Labor party, and unlikely to have any practical impact).

On the other side of the coin, Hanson has nothing in common with the market liberal ideology (what I’ve called hard neoliberalism) that dominated the political right from the 1970s to the recent past. Admittedly market liberals like Howard were willing to appeal to racist sentiment to secure votes for their policies of privatisation and liberalisation, but now the tail is wagging the dog.

Hanson and her allies share with the market liberals a visceral hostility to welfare recipients, unions and environmentalists. But they aren’t any keener on big business, banks or free trade. They are enemies of liberalism in any form: classical, left or social.

If there was anything left of market liberalism as a political force in Australia, you would expect to see some significant group on the right calling for a complete break with Hanson and anyone willing to associate with her. We have seen nothing of the kind.

There isn’t even a coherent political calculation here. Given that the Nationals are going to do a deal with One Nation, the only voters who matter are urban moderates, who might be willing to vote for the Liberals but are repelled by Hanson. These voters are familiar enough with Greens as local councillors, MPs and so on that they aren’t going to buy the absurd rhetoric of Morrison and Kelly, suggesting that the Greens are a fundamental threat to our way of life. Equivocation on the principle of putting racists last makes it clear that the decision to put ON below Labor is purely tactical, and that, in the event of an election victory, the LP-NP-ON coalition will continue to operate as it has done for the last three years.

The real point, illustrated by the response of Abbott and others is that Trumpism within the Liberal Party is now so strong that Morrison can’t fully repudiate someone Hanson, even if he would like to. The Liberal “base” is closer, on average, to her than it is to him.

Assuming that the LNP loses the coming election, it’s hard to see how a sane centre-right party can be built from the remains of the current government. And, of course, a win against the odds would absolutely cement the faith of the Trumpists that God is on their side.


13 thoughts on “The triumph of Trumpism

  1. Trumpism triumphs like fascism triumphed in Europe during the thirties of last century. There was a brick wall called reality waiting at the end of the wide and leafy-green tree-lined boulevard.

    We know from history that the wall is called, “fruits of denialism”, but is really about the Death of Historical Memory, when confronted with ungoverned appetite and the urge to gratification, with its fantasies.

  2. I think the Triumph of trumpism is more creating fake news to ensure the base simply brushes off his many lies.
    Hence after the Al Jazeera expose’ that is exactly what Hanson did. Her supporters wil lap it up of course.

  3. It’s sad to see what Paul Kelly has become but all the signs were there during the same sex marriage plebiscite.

  4. JQ – “the only voters who matter are urban moderates, who might be willing to vote for the Liberals but are repelled by Hanson. These voters are familiar enough with Greens as local councillors, MPs and so on that they aren’t going to buy the absurd rhetoric of Morrison and Kelly, suggesting that the Greens are a fundamental threat to our way of life.”

    By this you mean the Doctors’ Wives. There is no outcome changing swing from that quarter, no ‘voters who matter’, as they regularly vote that way already. They aren’t subject to anywhere near the crushing ponzi migration scam as other mainstream urbanites are. Who will close the gate sufficiently? There is no environmental issue that an exploding population helps solve. The duopoly and Greens are beholden to top of town and treasury ponzi population scamming vested interests and are demonstrably incredible on population policy.

    The Hansonites are probably right in that there will be a backlash favouring them over the duopoly’s lame ABC setup, and much else besides. Perhaps Shorten and Morrison and state premiers could gang up again and illegally bang up the Hansonites in prison once more before the election? They do have sufficient time left for that.

  5. “It’s hard to see how a sane centre-right party can be built from the remains of the current government.”

    The major Australian parties have proven themselves to be very resilient over their history, recovering time and again from near death experiences. The Liberal Party will revert to the mean sooner or later.

  6. @mycraw :
    APRIL 1, 2019 AT 11:24 AM

    I would say that across the political spectrum (and associated media platforms) the issue of debt is largely defused for now. The far left want more debt, the centre-left (ALP) don’t care that much about debt. Whilst on the right there is no one skilled or brave enough to successfully prosecute the case for debt reduction. The LNP were stung quite badly in 2014 with spending cuts to reduce the deficit (and have never really recovered), and they are very reluctant to raise taxes. So, here we are; no-one really wants to talk about debt.

  7. ” The LNP were stung quite badly in 2014 with spending cuts to reduce the deficit (and have never really recovered), and they are very reluctant to raise taxes.”

    They certainly appear relucant to raise taxes, but (please correct me if I’m wrong) we are now; under this coalition gov; taxed more than ever before (thanks to the GST changes on imports). More hypocrisy?
    Regarding debt – Ross Gittins has written some excellent articles about it for the SMH which I don’t have a link to, but here’s a link to Peter Switzer’s summary of an excellent Ross Gittins explanation which debunks some of the claims of both the right and the left.

    http://www.switzer.com.au/the-experts/peter-switzer-expert/peter-switzer-draft20182602/

  8. As the LNP has yet to agree on who is to be in the tent strange partnerships are evolving, Hanson is making googly eyes at Barnaby saying that she wants to work with him over the Bradfield scheme.

  9. chumpai,
    The main point of the article is not about the debt, it’s more that the media should not just repeat the rubbish talking points that the conservatives come up with. They should offer critically analysis. This was not long after the GFC and it should have been obvious that we should be more worried about high household debt and less worried about public debt. The conservative were all Chicken Little, “OMG the sky is falling”… back in 2013. Even if they couldn’t get this right back then, journalists should be pointing it out now.
    In conservative voters’ minds this was a big issue. At the last state election I heard it talked about on public transport, and by relatives (i.e. the general criticism of Labor for too much government debt). They seemed quite angrily. I guess in being conservative, you’ve got to be angry about something. They need their bubble popped so that they don’t make silly decisions.

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