I didn’t watch the debate last night. The US presidential campaign has descended into such an all-out mudslinging contest that absolutely everybody is getting covered in mud – and it’s a bit of turn-off.

I did what I did at the last debate, and watched some of it with the sound off. Last time I just wanted to know whether Hillary would be sitting or leaning on something. And this time she began sitting about 20 minutes in. And Trump remained standing the whole time, as far as I could see. So Trump won the body language battle: he remained standing, and she didn’t. In this heavyweight contest, she ended up metaphorically on the ropes.


debate2aIn the previous debate, which I scored as a Clinton win, she remained standing, and looked bright and smiling and confident. This time she looked tired and rather dejected.

And if forceful hand movements counted as punches, Trump threw a lot more of them than she did. He never sat on his stool, but he instead periodically retreated behind it, using it as a shield against expected low blows.

Worst of all for Hillary was that it seemed that a fly landed on her face at one point. That’s not good symbolism.


48 hours after the latest loud calls (some from within the Republican party) for him to step down and quit the race, Hillary Clinton probably expected to a beaten, dejected Trump to appear – if he showed up at all – merely to apologise for his latest gaffe and announce his withdrawal from the race. Instead he came out fighting, and it was Hillary who ended up looking beaten and dejected.

But the way I see it, this presidential election isn’t about these two people at all. It’s about two different visions of America’s future. And they’re the same two visions that were what the UK referendum Brexit vote was all about back in June:

Do you want your country to remain a sovereign state with its own borders and its own laws and its own currency, or do you want it to be dissolved into a new global political order where there are no borders, one single currency, and one legislature that makes one-size-fits-all laws for everybody on the planet? 

It’s about identity. Do you want to carry on being you, whoever you are, warts and all? Or would you rather trade yourself in for a new personal identity, with a pretty new face, a slim new body, and a set of matching, sustainable, environmentally-friendly beliefs and convictions, all carefully designed by a consensus of the best experts in the top universities using the very latest computer simulation models?

If you want America to cease to exist, vote for Hillary Clinton. She’s already sold quite a lot of it abroad. And if you want America to remain as its founding fathers bequeathed it to its people, vote for Donald Trump. Everything else, including all the mud, is irrelevant.

And I think that, faced with that stark choice, Americans are going to vote for America, just like us Brits voted for Britain back in June. Why should anyone surrender something that they’ve fought and died for?

And it’s the same choice everywhere else in the world. And I suspect that we’re soon going to see the French voting to remain French, and also the Italians and the Spanish and everybody else voting to remain who they are.


About Frank Davis

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24 Responses to Identity

  1. jaxthefirst says:

    I heard a bit of the debate on the radio when I went to bed last night, and I was appalled by the childishly low standard offered by both parties. These are presidential candidates, for goodness’ sake! You’d think that if nothing else, they’d both know how to conduct a decently thought-out discussion with dignity and objectivity.

    But no. As expected, Clinton went straight for the “tape” angle, foolishly thinking, I believe, that Trump wouldn’t see it coming, and sounded smugly like someone who thought that she had – excuse the pun – the real trump card in the argument. Trump, who clearly knew she’d bring this subject in right from the start (not that it would take Einstein to work that out), instead of quietly rebuffing the comments and re-stating his apologies and then letting the subject peter out by saying as little as possible (thus making her look like the proverbial dog with a bone if she continued), retorted fairly bullishly with his “no-one has more respect for women than I do” (yeah, right), which, in the light of recent revelations came across as massively insincere, and he then, extremely clumsily tried to change the subject to a rant about totally-unrelated issues – ISIS and the US economy and migration and all his usual old “tried and tested” crowd-pleasers. But his attempts were so obvious and awkward that they made him come across as simply trying to avoid the whole subject, which I suspect he probably was. He just wasn’t skilled enough at debate to do it seamlessly and smoothly. He literally didn’t know how. So much for all that “debate tutoring” by Nigel Farage. But then, I guess no-one can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear and all that.

    There then ensued something which was little more than personal mud-slinging worthy of a couple of self-righteous, over-emotional teenagers in a secondary school playground. And, at around that point (no more than five minutes, at most, I’d say), I fell asleep because neither candidate was saying anything remotely interesting.

    I have to say that if I was American I’d have a hard time lifting my butt off the sofa to vote for either of them. What a dreadful choice the American people have this time around. We over here in the UK (particularly smokers) have had more than our fair share of devil-or-the-deep-blue-sea type choices in our elections, but I think I can honestly say that I don’t think we’ve ever had to choose between two politicians of such a shambolically low standard as these two. And that’s saying something when you consider how inept most of our MPs are …

    • Manfred says:

      jaxthefirst, to my mind ‘debates’ frequently involve statements or speeches of argument that are often read verbatim or from heavily referred to notes. On the other hand, being addressed from a pulpit with a teleprompter usually leads to the smoooooooth waffley political erudition and easy pontification that means something to everyone and nothing in particular. I’m utterly sick of that. The TV ‘debate’ we witness is really little more than the equivalent of a bar room brawl with a couple of biased refs and no beer, and definitely no smokes. How much better it would be with a glass of one’s choice and a smoke. It would be electric! So, the standard is very tricky and relies on quick thinking footwork and hoping one’s intellect is not ambushed by one’s fears or emotions. Smart answers and a quick wit may make good salespeople but not necessarily adroit or able leaders. An hour or more on the hoof is damned hard work and I believe we’re lucky to get to see the candidates under this kind of performance pressure. It affords an opportunity to study them closely, to weigh their authenticity, to develop a ‘feel’, if you’ll forgive the pun.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I don’t think we’ve ever had to choose between two politicians of such a shambolically low standard as these two.

      Nevertheless, that is the choice they have before them. And they have to choose.

      Thomas Sowell:

      My own take on this election is that the voter is in a situation much like that of an American fighter pilot in World War II, whose plane has been hit by enemy fire out over the Pacific Ocean and is beginning to burst into flames.

      If he bails out, there is no guarantee that his parachute will open. But even if he lands safely in the ocean, he may be eaten by sharks. If he comes down on land, he may be captured by the Japanese and tortured and/or killed.

      And, of course, there’s the Do Nothing option, which is to not bail out, in which case he gets burned to death in the cockpit of his fighter plane. It’s an unenviable set of possible choices.

      He argues – or seems to argue – for making the choice that offers a thin vestige of hope of survival. When you bail out over land there is a chance that friendly villagers will find you before the Japanese do. There’s also a very slim chance, if you bail out over the sea, that you will land on the deck of a passing American troop ship.

  2. Some French bloke says:

    You’d think that if nothing else, they’d both know how to conduct a decently thought-out discussion with dignity and objectivity.

    Just like once you’ve found out that a TV series excludes smoking, or only includes it the better to pile on the anti-smoker stigma, you can safely bet it will be both bland and manipulative (see last two ‘‘Banging on about’… threads), just by considering that, in the case of those presidential debates, we’re merely dealing with the spectacle a non-smoker (obviously cluesless as to the magnitude of the anti-smoking scam) pitted against a sufferer from AntiSmoking Dysfunction Syndrome, (whose recent respiratory woes – no less obviously – failed to alleviate, and possibly even exacerbated), you know the matter doesn’t need devoting any more of your PRECIOUS time and attention!
    I rest my case.

  3. waltc says:

    OT but someone has to post this here, tho I wish Hitler weren’t so easily invoked. His point, however, is that in the interests of Tobacco Control, the WHO blindly praises the world’s craziest dictators.

  4. Rose says:

    What interests me most is, who kept a recording of a private conversation overheard by accident for ten years and then produced it at exactly the right moment to do the most harm to Donald Trump?

    “Trump has made cameo appearances in films and television series, and he appeared at the Miss USA pageants, which he owned from 1996 to 2015. He sought the Reform Party presidential nomination in 2000, but withdrew before voting began. He hosted and co-produced The Apprentice, a reality television series on NBC, from 2004 to 2015, for which he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.”

    Obviously who ever it was thought it might prove valuable, but they had had plenty of opportunities to use it before.

    “In June 2015, Trump announced his candidacy for president as a Republican and quickly emerged as the front-runner for his party’s nomination. In May 2016, his remaining Republican rivals suspended their campaigns, and in July he was formally nominated for president at the 2016 Republican National Convention.”

    So how long have the Clinton camp had it? They act as if it was new revelation to them, perhaps it is.

    • prog says:

      Yes, it’s down to timing Rose and, by some accounts, there’s more examples to be released as the big day approaches. But, as yet, I don’t think any women have made direct accusations of sexual harassment. And Hellary obviously must know far more about her husband’s sexploits than most people.

      The whole situation is tragic, with both candidates clearly unsuitable in so many ways. Trump’s an amateurish buffoon and Hellary’s a likely sociopath who will stop at nothing to achieve power. Both cannot be trusted to public interests before their own, though I guess that applies to most of the political elite.

  5. junican says:

    I have just watched the first ten minutes or so, including the tape business. I agree with Rose and Jax. I think that Trump handled the matter wrongly. He should have asked where the tape came from, who had it, how much was paid for it. How has it come to light just at this moment? I would have said that it has been brought to light deliberately to harm me. THEN I would have apologised and said that men talk like that sometimes. They try to find something funny to say. It happens all the time. Then I would have shut up.

  6. harleyrider1978 says:

  7. harleyrider1978 says:

    How much would anyone bet that if Trump wins, Owebamas last day in office is a blanket presidential Pardon for every Cronie out there including tobacco control activists.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Remember tobacco control activists broke federal law on federal grants for lobbying and broke IRS laws. The IG Inspector General warned them to stop doing it as the Federal public health depts. in Washington like CDC,NIH HHS etc etc………

  8. harleyrider1978 says:

    Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte wants to ban smoking

    Known as ‘The Punisher’, Rodrigo Duterte’s 100-day-old drug war has already left thousands dead (pictured), but now he is now determined make smoking a thing of…

  9. slugbop007 says:

    There is already some form of policing-with leashed dogs-of smokers in the Philippines. Perhaps some in Singapore as well. The snitch system is invoked in both these countries. It might happen in Montreal one day.  


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