Business Insider 2017:
In her new book, “What Happened” — officially out next Tuesday — Hillary Clinton wrote that her biggest regret from the campaign trail last year was saying she would put coal miners out of business.
Saying that ensured that she’d lose the votes of miners and people in mining-related industries. Nobody had to organise miners against her. All they had to do is hear what she said.
What she probably isn’t aware of is that, as perhaps America’s principal antismoker, she’d already lost the votes of America’s smokers, who comprise a far larger fraction of the electorate than miners.
…there is a ban on all kinds of smoking in the White House. At First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton’s orders, all ashtrays have been removed, and at her insistence, they are never to be placed on tables for official dinners. Apparently, her target was cigarettes, yet the effect of her decision also covers cigars.
Nobody had to organise smokers to not vote for her. As soon as they found out what she was, they were never going to. Most of them wouldn’t have told anybody. They wouldn’t have written letters to newspapers about it.
Hillary Clinton was unelectable because she hadn’t just trodden on miners, but she’d also trodden on smokers. She’d probably trodden on any number of other people as well. And they’d all decided not to vote for her.
With rumours that, if Hillary doesn’t run, Michael Bloomberg might step into the 2020 presidential race, it’s worth pointing out that he’s the guy who, as mayor of New York City, more or less single-handedly got smoking banned there. And America’s smokers will have noticed that. And, if he runs, they won’t be voting for him either. So Michael Bloomberg is probably as unelectable as Hillary Clinton.
David Hockney in the Guardian, November 2016:
“…I must admit I wasn’t that keen on Hillary because when the Clintons were in the White House they banned smoking immediately.
“I said, well that would welcome Hitler a lot more than Churchill. Churchill smoked 10 cigars a day for 70 years and lived to be 90, so I don’t know what they’re going on about. And Hitler was the biggest anti-smoker of them all, you couldn’t smoke in his presence – which is why I notice in Germany there are quite a lot of smokers because they can’t demonise smokers there.”
It’s an idiosyncratic reason for a political leaning, but Hockney has been smoking since 1954 and takes delight at thumbing his nose at the demonisation of his habit.
I don’t think there’s anything idiosyncratic or peculiar about this. I think David Hockney was simply telling it how it was (and still is) for smokers. Or it’s no more idiosyncratic than American miners not voting for Hillary because she was anti-coal.
As I’ve remarked several times, I used to be pro-EU until in 2010 I found out that the EU was pushing for smoking bans everywhere in Europe. More recently I’ve learned that it had been since at least 1989. Overnight I swung from being pro-EU to anti-EU. And I also started to believe that the EU was a doomed political project, because it had made itself far too many enemies among the smokers of Europe. How can a political project possibly succeed if it demonises about a third of its population? It’s a politically crazy thing to do.
Nobody else will suggest this, but it seems to me very likely that it’s not “national populism” that’s now tearing Europe apart: it’s disenchanted smokers. Nobody had to organise them to do that. They were just going to turn against the EU as soon as they found out that it was helping to lead the war on smoking, just like America’s miners were going to turn their back on Hillary Clinton as soon as they found out that she intended to do them out of their jobs.
Recently I heard Nigel Farage say that he became a eurosceptic back in about 1990 because he “didn’t like the way things were going in the EU.” That’s very non-specific. There could have been any number of ways things were going that he didn’t like. But I wonder… might it have been because he found out back then about the EU’s plans to rid Europe of smokers, 15 years before I did? Might it have been that Nigel Farage felt the exact same revulsion that I did for the EU’s antismoking plans, 15 years before me? I wonder how many converts he made to UKIP simply by pointing out to blissfully ignorant smokers (like me) what the EU was planning for them?
Do smokers need organising? Perhaps they don’t. All they need is to be kept informed, and they’ll do whatever is necessary, and do it automatically, without bidding. There’s maybe no more need for smokers to get organised than there was for America’s miners to be organised against Hillary Clinton, because they were organised the moment she opened her mouth and revealed her plans for them. There was no need for demonstrations or marches or sit-ins because there was no need to draw attention to what she’d said, no need for “consciousness-raising”, because everybody already knew all they needed to know.
And the apparent disorganisation of smokers, and their consequent invisibility, may also be an asset. Because their enemies are unaware of their intentions. Their enemies are paying no attention to them whatsoever. And so they’ll find out far too late that there’s an army at their gate, one that they never saw coming.