Tribalism trumps principles

Had I been true to my principles I wouldn’t have voted for the National Party in 1984.

The big government, protectionist, high tax and spend policies Robert Muldoon and his government were pursuing did not align with my views on what was best for New Zealand.

I could have voted for Bob Jones’ New Zealand party, but I didn’t.

Why not?

I was a member of National, though not an active one, but still tribalism, my loyalty to the party, trumped my principles.

This must be what is happening in the USA.

So much of what Donald Trump stands for must be anathema to Republicans who want small government, a lightly regulated economy and free trade.

At least some Democrats must be more than a little concerned about Hillary Clinton.

But, even though polls show both candidates have more people who don’t want them than do, tribal loyalty will trump voters’ principles. They will vote/have voted for their party’s candidate and one of other of these unpopular people will become president.

Commentators who know far more about the USA, its politics and people than I do, are forecasting trouble whoever wins.

But political tragics forget that most people aren’t as wrapped up in the minutiae of politics and politicians as they are.

They overlook the fact that, imperfect as democracy in general and the way it’s operating in the USA at the moment in particular, is,  the vast majority of people where it’s been working, for better or worse, for hundreds of years, will accept the result.

And they don’t realise that, barring a major calamity, people carry on doing what they do as much in spite of governments and their actions as because of them.

6 Responses to Tribalism trumps principles

  1. JC says:

    I would argue this election isn’t really about the candidates but two opposing cultures vying for the soul of the country.. or if you will, the future of the country.

    Right now the country is immersed in losing five wars and spreading refugee misery throughout Asia and Europe. That and other gaffes are Obama’s and Hillary’s foreign policy legacy.

    Uncontrolled migration across the Southern US border is rapidly changing the face of many states. There’s stagnation in the Heartland, poor employment prospects, rising white male suicide, falling male work participation, changing political cultures, massive increases in crime in the cities and general malaise and its mostly been ignored these past several decades. Tens of millions of Americans are affected but their concerns are being blown off with cries of racism, red neckery etc.
    This all has to be addressed but wouldn’t be without Trumps bloviations focusing the election around them.

    Trump has no answers to these problems and realistically his followers can’t expect much but at least these concerns are now on the table. The question is whether the next administration will address the biggies of foreign policy, illegal migration and something on Heartland rejuvenation.



  2. Andrei says:

    The level of corruption in American politics makes is eye watering – at the same level Hillary Bokassa Clinton

    She is evil and will eventually be called to account for her role in the destruction of Libya, Yemen, Mali and Syria from which she and her cronies profited handsomely

    It is sad that so many people are voting for her just because she has a twat but if Americans are that stupid they deserve everything they get


  3. Will says:

    Many believe, with some justification that ‘free’ trade has been a net disaster for them, and that the Republican party has no more commitment to small govt. than the Dems. They tried to bring change with the Tea Party movement and were stalled by the media and their own party elite. Now they are desperate. Hence Trump.

    Then there is the Alt-Right. A product of the information revolution, and not nearly as crazy as they seem. Will be a major force in the future I feel.


  4. Andrei says:

    It seems the American people are not dumb, though Jack Tane seems to think they are

    Every time they cut to him as this unfolded to his astonishment he put it down to the votes “uneducated white people”Duh!

    It is just that sort of elitist thinking the American people have reacted to


  5. Will says:

    Disgusting isn’t it. The old media really disgraced themselves and I don’t think they are coming to grips with the new reality yet.


  6. Mr E says:

    I loved every minute of the election – including the result.

    Why? Entertainment.

    I have been chuckling away for months and last night was better than the Billy T show. Well to me at least.

    I am not fearful of the result, or implications. Why worry about things you cannot effect?

    I am not worried about what this says about society. People are welcome to their own opinions. I have not walked in their shoes, so why is my opinion more valid than theirs. It really is impossible to say why people voted for Trump so we cannot conclude racism or sexism was a driving force. Trump said many many things – who knows what motivated individuals.

    Democracy has spoken, and if we are worried about the outcome, it is largely because we are part of a global economy and that is of our own doing. We know the risks and rewards and you can’t have one without the other. Exporting comes at a cost.

    Then there are the positives. I have been regularly reminded of how lucky we are here in NZ. We have relatively humble leadership in most aspects of our life.

    So I have been having a little internal celebration of how great NZ is. I have largely contained it at that, as not to err towards the behaviours I loathe so much.

    “Make NZ look Great” should have been the catch phrase of the election.


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