Dalkey Literary Awards - 20th June 2020
Dalkey Literary Awards - 20th June 2020

What the f**k is going on with this US election? Some brainiacs attempt an answer

We’re finally getting down and dirty with the topic that has continued to come up all weekend – what the f**k is going on with the US election?


We’re with editor of the FT Weekend, Alec Russell, the man who actually broke and orchestrated the Panama Papers, Gerard Ryle, Ivy League Professor Mark Blyth, and former Pimco managing director Paul McCulley, who will be moderated by US anchor woman Marnie Inskip who’s had her own run ins with the man she refers to as “the Donald.”

Here’s my take Marnie begins with an intro:

“The electorate is clearly angry as they deal with the unimaginable fraud of the financial system.”

“All the dark impulses are being exploited. The dark side of the human spirit. We have two outsiders who stand in stark contrast to the all-time insider Hillary.”

“In a presidential election you need 270 electoral votes to win. The majority does not rule. Every vote is not equal.”

She then opens up the discussion to the panel with a Gore Vidal quote: “Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for the president. One hopes it’s the same half.”

Paul is saying that the reason we’re where we are with this US election is because the electorate is so angry. He’s saying the mix between monetary policy and fiscal policy has been unambiguously for the rich and against the middle classes. He says that this “religion of fiscal austerity” in America”has failed in satisfying the vast majority of the American people.”

Marnie is onto the next question: “Why is Hillary so unpopular?”

Alec suggests that “it speaks to one of the issues that was brought up when the Clintons first made it into the White House – Hillary was calling a lot of the shots and it was alienating middle America.”

“The simplest answer is people get bored – Hillary has been in spotlight for a very very long time,” Alec concludes.”

“Trump is actually easier to explain than Hillary,” Paul suggests._MCX7819

“I think Hillary is seen as exceedingly opportunistic. Bernie was able to pull her to the left, but she remains deeply opportunistic,” Paul continues. “There’s a fair amount of the American people who think that the Clintons will do what suits the Clintons. American democrats have two choices. They can hold their noses and vote for her or they can stay home. ”

When asked about Bernie Sanders Paul seems optimistic about the lasting impact the Sanders campaign will have on US political thought and discourse.

“I do believe that the movement Bernie Sanders has started will remain a powerful one. It’s the issue of redistribution which the Democrats are supposed to represent.”

Mark Blyth (who, it has to be noted, can vote in the US but has an incredible Scottish accent) comes in: “Never discount the left’s ability for undermining itself and shooting itself in the foot.”

“And then to reload and do it again,” Paul ends the thought.



— Roisin Agnew (@Roisin_Agnew) June 19, 2016

“If you go on Hillary’s website is like liberal whack-a-mole,” Mark says, pointing to the fact that the Hillary campaign doesn’t seem a Democrat’s one.

“She has issues on her website and one of them is ‘tackling the problem of campus rape’. But for millions of Americans the issue is that they can’t afford to send their kids to college to be raped!”

Gerard Ryle of the Panama Papers comes in after Marnie asks him if there’s any scandal to be found in these US elections. “We found both Hillary and Trump in the Panama Papers. In terms of scandal I think the biggest issue was the issue of her emails. She was looking at emails that were actually state secrets. Trump himself doesn’t have any scandal – his whole thing is he scandalises people himself.”

Gerard hints at some funny story about Bill Clinton and a fancy dress outfit payment and the panel push him to tell it! “Well HSBC bank transferred a million dollars to Bill Clinton for showing up in a vintage Russian army suit, and when we were investigating things there it was – 1 million dollars to the Clinton Foundation.”

Paul is now onto the subject of Obama.


“Being isolationist in his foreign policy, anti-interventionist. I applaud him and I think he’s captured the sentiment of the American people. They are tired of foreign nation-building, they are interested in domestic nation-building. He’s got people to think we’re not so shiny – let’s do some home buffing up here at home. Hillary has not captured the mood of the people and is hawkish.”

Trump has completely upended the Republican rule book, Alec suggests.

“Trump is an opportunist,” Mark quips back. “He’s said  he’s going to tax the rich, and then last week he said ‘I’m a guy who’s pro tax cuts’. I think he’s going to go in there and disappoint everyone who voted for him.”

“Trump is a random uncertainty generator,” Mark goes on. “First he came out and said that global is a reality, counter to the Republican line on the question, and then just two weeks ago he said, ‘Global warming is a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese government!’ I mean he’ll say anything!”

“Final thoughts,” Marnie says. “Who do you think is going to win and why?”

Alec: “At the moment I put money on Hillary Clinton because of the nature of her opponent.”

Mark: “We have to look at who turns out to vote, if there are anymore terrorist attacks in order to know.”

Gerard: “Barring a total disaster it’s going to be a landslide for Hillary.”

Paul: “Hillary wins, the big issue is whether the Democrats get the Senate.”

Let us hope.