Just a few days ago my friend and creative collaborator, Welsh punk folkie Nigel Phillip Davies, uploaded a reworked version of the early Bob Dylan classic, Mr Tambourine Man, to YouTube. Rechristened Mr Tangerine Man with lyrics reworked by yours truly, it’s a fairly pointed satire directed at a certain florid, male contender for President of the United States.
We’ve scored more than 3,000 hits on YT, a combined 200-plus likes on YT and Facebook, 133 shares and 160 comments. Not exactly viral, but enough to bring home to this non-US resident a sense of what certain sections of that country’s electorate are thinking.
By certain sections I mean, of course, Donald Trump supporters.
Making America great again Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
“Get your head out of your ass,” said Marie Upthegrove (sic) from Florida, one of the first to comment on the Universal Stranger FB page.
“Now give me a MISOGYNIST any day, I will love him, respect him and cook for him, but don’t give me a woman who is KILLING my little sisters and brothers, the children of my innocent country,” said Federico, apparently a former head of the mathematics department at a rather posh private school in Blackheath, London (the rest of what he wrote is unprintable).
“This is just ridiculous…out of hand completely. You people who believe in evolution are nuts,” said Betty Christen who, judging by the beautiful landscape and equestrian shots on her FB page, lives on a ranch somewhere in the Mid West. (Evolution? Where did that come from? There’s nothing in Mr Tangerine Man about evolution!)
“Better this guy than a lying crooked c***t with the blood of the Benghazi dead on her hands…here’s yer (sic) sign, you moron!” (picture, possibly manipulated, of Donald Trump flippin-the-bird). Thank you, Rebel Dawson.
And so on.
Nothing surprising here, perhaps—especially for the Clinton supporters who characterise their opposite numbers as “deplorables”, or poorly educated white trash who are barely capable of seeing the bigger picture, let alone articulating it.
But I found it interesting that, while the number of Likes on the FB page exceeded Dislikes by several mutliples, the comments were overwhelmingly from Trump supporters (and therefore overwhelmingly negative and violently anti-Clinton).
For the record, my own view of US politics right now is that Clinton is the rotting corpse of the post-war liberal consensus and Trump is the vulture feeding off it.
As a marketing consultant might put it, the positive responses were nearly all quantitative while the negative ones were qualitative.
What does this mean, if anything? Perhaps comfortingly for the Clinton camp, it suggests that the numbers are with the liberally-minded. And perhaps the fewer but more vocal responses from Trump supporters simply reflect the pent-up rage and frustration that America’s white working- and lower-middle classes have felt for so long toward a political system that no longer works for them.
Or does it signal more than that? Could it, perhaps, imply something about potential voter turnout? Does the numerically superior but otherwise largely mute response from the liberal constituency hint at a certain complacency? After all, it’s quicker and easier to click Like and move on to the next FB post than comment about the political issues raised by the one you’ve just read.
Anti-Trumpers like myself, though undoubtedly on the right side of the truth, may yet end up on the wrong side of history.
And does that translate to an assumption that Trump is so obviously unsuited to be President that the election result is already a done deal? Does it suggest a lack of any sense of urgency about the importance of voting on November 8?
By the same token, does it imply that Trump supporters are so impassioned that their turnout will be higher on the day and might just swing the election Trump’s way? Especially in those open-carry states where, rumour has it, Trump supporters will be turning up at election booths on the day, while exercising their right to open carry, to ensure that no “irregularities” occur?
Too many questions; too much hypothesis and speculation.
For the record, my own view of US politics right now is that Clinton is the rotting corpse of the post-war liberal consensus and Trump is the vulture feeding off it. Rather than Clinton win, I would prefer the Republicans to disendorse Trump and field a credible candidate so that at least the electoral process can be salvaged (it may be too late to save the country).
Meanwhile, while I can’t draw any hard and fast conclusions from the FB responses to Mr Tangerine Man, I can’t shake the nagging feeling that anti-Trumpers like myself, though undoubtedly on the right side of the truth, may yet end up on the wrong side of history.