In a climate where anger Is plentiful but constructive solutions rarely offered, maybe we need the stability and clear-headedness of consensus politics...
Waking to a bright blue sky and a glistening carpet of snow in Colorado, the maddening strife of home seems far away, the General Election results a mere smudge on the skyline. From the vantage point of Sentinel Rock in the Flatirons, looking east towards Kansas where the earth curves before you, all human endeavour seems insubstantial, transient.
These huge and ancient rock formations were there before we came and will be there when we are gone. Here be beautiful and vast landscapes that truly merit that much-abused word “awesome”. But there’s no such thing as paradise. Even here, dark clouds loom. The sheriff has been to the local school to ensure that everyone knows what to do if there’s a lockdown ordered. Meanwhile, children openly discuss the prospect of exile should Donald Trump be elected as the next President of the USA, in November. Ah yes, Trump. Like Silvio Berlusconi before him, he’s a populist billionaire buffoon. But for all his awfulness, Berlusconi had a rascal charm – whereas Trump is rude, charmless and ignorant. He’s a carnival huckster, a barker, a bully. But that’s precisely why he’s on a roll. He gives expression to the worst of America. Think Beavis and Butthead in combed–over middle age. And he could indeed be the next President of the United States. It is deeply dispiriting.
Europeans are mostly horrified. Yet they also see his rise as part of a global phenomenon in which electorates across the world are turning to outsider candidates on both the right and the left. Look at what has happened in Ireland. Voters have had enough of elites, we’re told. They want a new kind of politics, we’re told.
Certainly, there’s much anger and abuse in the air. But more than anything, this signifies the corrosion of political, social and cultural discourse by internet comment facilities and social media – an arena where viciousness, abuse and bullying are endemic.
How do we reconcile fuck–you individualism with fuck–this socialism? Both may oppose elites, but that’s as far as they agree. In the Irish context, hipster app designers want less Government not more; socialists, meanwhile, want more Government, not less. Across Europe, populations rattled by terror and changing economies want more Government to ensure less immigration, just as NGOs want more Government to protect immigrants. Everything, as Bob Dylan said, is a little bit upside down...
So it may be self–deluding to think, as many political analysts appear to, that the voters of the world, including Ireland, are demanding a new and better society. It is much more complicated – and less attractive – than that. There’s resistance for the sake of resistance. Voters toss out one party (Fine Gael) because they’re tired of them, not because they believe the others (Fianna Fáil) will build a better or more equal society.
As to what follows, well, no Government it seems can satisfy the myriad dreams and demands of modern life. We have just been through the most vicious recession since the Great Depression. Indeed, it may even have been worse than the events of the 1930s. How can anyone satisfy all voters? You can’t. Many Americans (and others) express disappointment in Barack Obama. But given the tsunami of global financial disorder that his Government had to deal with, he didn’t too so badly. Politics is as much about pragmatism and compromise as it is about ideals. One thing is genuinely clear: the middle class is being squeezed everywhere and they’re really angry. Their rage, however, has little to do with the righteousness that political analysts imagine. Sadly, it’s much more insular and inward–looking than that.
Every certainty has been undermined. As a result, the centre ground has shrunk. Voters have migrated in all directions and, clearly, not just left and right. In the US there are voters in favour of women’s choice who are also for guns and free trade, just as there are voters who are anti–abortion, pro–immigration and pro–guns.
Similarly, in Ireland the centre cannot hold. Far from considering grand national issues and voting for a New Republic, the Irish electorate have retreated to the certainties of personal agendas and local issues. The Brown Trout party lives!
We may now be in for an era of instability. Indeed there is a Deja Vu aspect to it all: remember the beginning of the 1980s in Ireland, when there were three elections in two years? We may be back to that future, with knobs on.
You could argue that in an increasingly chaotic world, one characterised by rapid and uncontrolled social and technological change, and risk of war, disease and famine, we’ll need the stability and clearheadedness generated by consensus and discourse rather than anarchy and headline-generating turmoil.
That’s a sustainable view. On the other hand, in the USA Obama has to a great extent been stymied by the Republican–dominated Congress. And you know what? Things still functioned.
The same may happen in Ireland too. Of course, as in the US, the potential political instability is likely to trigger effects that are utterly contrary to notions of a new politics. Critical decisions will rest largely in the hands of public servants. While this might even be a good thing, their decisions will not reflect any political viewpoint and will, of necessity, be conservative.
Instability will establish a vacuum that could well be filled by undemocratic forces. Crucial discourses will wither. For example, we really should be talking about artificial intelligence, robotisation, surveillance and data mining, reducing our carbon footprint – but if all politics is once again local and oppositional then we won’t.
All successful societies are ultimately about cohesion. We have a choice: consensus or confrontation? As I look out from a Colorado mountain this morning, I see large birds lazily circling. They could be eagles. They could be buzzards. Right now, the omens are not good...
The Twin Peaks director, who maintains that he's "not really a political person", certainly raised eyebrows this week with his comments about the US President. But he's now decided to expand on his comment in a Facebook post.Read More
A protest rally against Donald Trump's policy of separating children from their parents at the US-Mexican border and detaining them is being held outside the US Embassy in Dublin from 4pm this Thursday.Read More
Another day, another Twitter outburst from the US President. He may have been in the middle of the most important summit of his presidency with North Korea's dictator Kim Jong-un but that didn't stop Donald Trump from finding the time to attack the Oscar winning star.Read More
THE US President has said that he will "probably" support a Marijuana Bill that would protect state marijuana laws from federal interference.Read More
The Oscar winning star's like a raging bull in a china shop ever time he mentions the name Donald Trump. And last night TV censors had to bleep out parts of his speech at the Tony Awards 2018 when he started using foul language live on air.Read More
Kim Kardashian has revealed that she broke down in a flood of tears last night after she phoned a 63-year-old woman behind bars to inform her that she was going to be finally released from prison after spending 20 years locked up.Read More
She's already beaten his backside with a roll-up copy of Vanity Fair - and now Stormy Daniels is beating Donald Trump in the media war.Read More
Donald Trump accused the rapper of having a "failing career" during a Twitter spat last year. But Snoop Dogg has now escalated their tit-for-tat fight by saying that he imagines Lucifer would look like the US President!Read More
It appears to be Donald Trump's favourite catchphrase these days. But Leo's government is now being publicly called upon to support a new Online Advertising and Social Media Bill that aims to make "fake news" illegal.Read More
A US auction house that is co-run by an Irishman is about sell off a controversial statue of the US President which literally leaves nothing left to the imagination, as you can see from the photograph!Read More
The popular website has been forced to remove the popular personal ad section in the USA because of a new law coming into play.Read More
Stormy Daniels revealed how Donald Trump told her that she "reminded him" of his daughter Ivanka before they had sex in 2006.Read More
A former Playboy model, Karen McDougal has claimed she had a long-term affair with Donald Trump prior to him being elected US President.Read More
Oh, and probably those of Philipines President Roberty Duarte, where extra-judicial murders by the State number between 4,000 and 12,000.Read More
The Taoiseach is in hot water after he admitted during his US visit yesterday that when he was Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport he phoned Clare County Council on Donald Trump's behalf over a planning permission issue.Read More
Labour Party Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has condemned the Taoiseach for extending an invitation to Donald Trump to visit Ireland.Read More
Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin is to lead another protest rally against President Donald Trump and his Irish-American support in the Riverside Church, New York City on 16 in aid of the American Civil Liberties Union.Read More
Musician Joy Villa, who is a big Donald Trump supporter and wore a "Make America Great Again" dress at this year's Grammys, has made the allegations against the US President's former top aide Corey Lewandowski.Read More
As the United States threatens a $285m reduction in the UN budget, the Irish Labour leader has said that he believes it might be time to consider moving the HQ's location from New York back to Europe.Read More
On Thursday 3rd November for the first time since May of 2009, the Twitter account of Donald Trump did not exist.Read More
Meanwhile, Trump & the White House have yet to respond to his $10m impeachment offer...Read More
They've been divorced for donkeys years, but Trump's first wife Ivana is bizarrely claiming that she is entitled to call herself America's First Lady.Read More
Chief of staff John Kelly may have said "It's me or him" – but the world is a slightly better place now that the noxious Bannon has been shown the White House doorRead More
The controversial US President has such a grá for the Emerald Isle that he'll probably make several trips over here during his presidency, according to his son.Read More
You couldn't make this up: the frontman of a British punk band has told how he was refused entry to the US this week after a furious emigration officer lambasted him for impersonating the US President during a live gig in German last year!Read More
Dozens of artists have used their music to express outrage throughout Trump's campaign and into his presidency, but now the US President has a pro-Trump tune he wants everyone to hear.Read More
The unpredictable US President is famous for his abrupt manners and even occasionally hanging up on other country's leaders during heated so-called diplomatic phone calls. But he was charm personified last night when chatting with our new Taoiseach... and he even took the time to pause mid-conversation to flirt with RTÉ’s Washington correspondent, who was invited into the Oval Office to film the historic phone call.Read More
American Idol star Adam Lambert has used a very strong expletive to heavily criticize the US President's first 100 days in the Oval Office.Read More
As the immigration issue rages across the U.S. even the world’s biggest music showcase isn’t immune.Read More
The comedian and former late night chat show host believes the US President is so "ignorant" that it's "insulting to America"!Read More
You couldn't make it up: the so-called Leader of the Free World, Donald Trump reckons that the mix-up in announcing the winner for Best Picture happened because the Hollywood elite were too focused on attacking him!Read More
Filmmaker Louis Theroux has revealed that he is now planning to make a documentary exploring Donald Trump's path to power.Read More
No bunnies were boiled, but otherwise it was full-on Fatal Attraction...Read More
Conor Dignam SC, Chairman of The Bar of Ireland Human Rights Committee has criticised Trump, saying "President Trump's personal attacks on US judges for performing their duties has no place in a democracy based on the rule of law." He also believes that it a sinister trend, for which Trump should be condemned.Read More
He once played a boxing champ in Raging Bull, but now Hollywood actor Robert De Niro confesses that he’s like a bull in a china shop who would love to punch Donald Trump in order to teach him some manners! While action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger has also admitted that he too would like to take a pop at the US President and “smash his face into the table”!Read More
An Oscar-nominated film director from Iran has confirmed that he won’t be attending the prestigious Academy Awards ceremony in LA because of President Donald Trump’s controversial ban to stop Muslims from seven countries entering the US.Read More
The writer later apologised on Twitter, saying her actions were "inexcusable."Read More
There’s just been even more embarrassing news for President-elect Donald Trump – with a Bruce Springsteen cover band now also deciding to pull out of playing at the inauguration ball later this week.Read More
Broadway star Jennifer Holliday has made a dramatic u-turn and decided not to perform at President-elect Donald Trump’s looming inauguration on 20 January.Read More
Senior US intelligence officials briefed both US President Obama and Donald Trump last week about claims that Russian spies have obtained compomrising personal and financial information about the President-elect, according to shock news reports that surfaced last night in the US media.Read More
Trump announced that the album sales of young singer Jackie Evancho have "skyrocketed" since it was announced she would be singing at his inauguration. As a fellow Hot Press journalist points out, there's also another way of looking at it.Read More
British singer Rebecca Ferguson has been asked to sing at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on 20 January – but the 2010 X-Factor runner-up took to Twitter to say she will only “graciously accept” the invitation on condition that she’s allowed to perform Billie Holiday’s ‘Strange Fruit’.Read More
An angry passenger had to be forcibly removed from a domestic US flight after going on rant when he spotted President-elect Donald Trump’s daughter on the same plane.Read More
President-elect Donald Trump took to twitter yesterday to attack Vanity Fair’s editor after the magazine gave one of his restaurants a negative review in their latest edition to just hit the newsstands.Read More
Some of the most influential figures in the music industry are urging President-elect Donald Trump to radically shake-up laws concerning intellectual property rights.Read More
Tina Fey has opened up about how she believes that Donald Trump’s negative presidential campaign and his shock victory has alarmingly fueled an increased level of misogyny in the US.Read More
“Do not deceive yourselves: Trump is no ordinary conservative Republican. He is the closest thing to Hitler Americans have ever seen.” That’s the stark warning from an Associate Professor of US History at Trinity College Dublin.Read More
Christmas may be coming - but in the wake of the most astonishing US Presidential election in living memory, the fear that a cadre of white supremacists may get their hands on the levers of power is growing. And it feels like uncharted territory...Read More
Bernie Sanders has confessed that he's left wondering "what if" if it was him instead of Hillary Clinton who ran against Donald Trump.Read More
The US's First Lady-elect is threatening YouTube with a major lawsuit over a video on its site that claims her son Barron is autistic.Read More
The USA might have had a very different President-elect right now – if it wasn’t for the fact that Donald Trump's grandfather was booted out of Germany, according to a legal decree that was recently discovered.Read More
The chairperson of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform in the USA is urging the media to stop sensationalizing President-elect Donald Trump’s comments on immigration.Read More
US President-elect Donald Trump opened up about a wide-range of contentious issue – discussing everything from abortion, to same sex-marriage and immigration – on CBS’ iconic show 60 Minutes on Sunday night.Read More
First there was shock... and regret. And then the city of San Francisco – a place where so many one-time outsiders have found a home that welcomes them – rose up and marched. It was a moment where hope began again. But the road ahead will not be easy...Read More
More white women voted for Donald Trump than for Hillary Clinton. And as for white men? They were even worse. The questions is: why? And the answer? Trump’s victory is an endorsement of white racism...Read More
Discover classic book reviews of 'Charlie and The Chocolate Factory' and 'The Great Gatsby' through a Donald Trump filter.Read More
Celebrities tweeted up a storm during last night's debateRead More
The Republican candidate is damaging both himself and the US electoral system with his ever more absurd utterances.Read More
Saturday Night Live are also giving the American Mr. Pussy a hard timeRead More
The Trump campaign has been rocked by yet another controversy. It’s being claimed that there is a drove of controversial material of unaired footage from ‘The Apprentice’ show in which for the Republican presidential candidate makes unsuitable sexually comments about contestants and crew members. It’s claimed he even made comments on contestants breast size during breaks in filming the hugely popular show.Read More
The potential next American Presidential gave the late-night shows plenty to dissectRead More
The US presidential debate comes to the streets of KillarneyRead More
As part of MoveOn.org's "United Against Hate" campaignRead More
While there is something frighteningly familiar about the mass shooting that claimed 50 lives at Pulse nightclub, there are also signs of an even more disturbing trend within US society. Hot Press writer – and Florida native – Mackenzie Kees explains.Read More
The unthinkable has come to pass. A former reality television star and world-famous blowhard is the presumptive Republican Party candidate. But how did “The Donald” outflank party favourites to come within a hair’s breath of the most powerful office on earth? Here is a frontline report from our man in Washington DC.Read More
The hip-hop singer has assured Trump on Twitter that a "cease and desist" is coming his wayRead More
There's a new anthem for the times we live in!Read More
"Women, you have to treat them like shit"Read More
This is the second time since 2015 that the hacktivist group has targeted Trump's campaign – on this occasion declaring that it is 'hateful' and 'appalling'Read More
"Trump is a messed up guy with a hole in his heart that he tries to fill with money and attention. He can never ever have enough of either and he'll never stop trying"Read More
The Republican front-runner admits that he's full of it...Read More
Someone has superimposed Donald Trump's head into Game of Thrones and it is terrifying.Read More
Needless to say, Donald Trump is among them...Read More
"The trouble with Trump is that he is, by temperament, by experience, and by character, utterly unqualified to be president of the United States. He is a buffoon."Read More
Declaring the programme a job's scheme for foreign youngsters, Trump hopes to scrap the the initiative if he gets elected into officeRead More