Current Affairs Internet Politics Technology

Politico And The Fake “Irish” Supporters Of Brexit

The online machinations of that other IRA, the Russian Federation’s state-linked Internet Research Agency, may have failed to inadvertently bring about the downfall of the US president Donald Trump but it and other internet troll-farms are certainly keeping busy. Take the European edition of Politico, the centre-right American politics website, where the most prolific commentators on the subject of Brexit and Ireland are named “O’Brien”, “O’Toole” and “McGregor”. These individuals offer screeds of semi-coherent, copy-and-paste diatribes against the supposed evils of the European Union and the necessity for a “free Britain” while being conspicuously uninterested in any other stories related to the Emerald Isle. C’mon tovarishchi, at least make an effort. Meanwhile, following the failure of Robert Mueller’s dog to issue a growl let alone a bark, and the very public troubles of limelight-chasing Trump critic Michael Avenatti, Stormy Daniels’ former lawyer, a 2020 run by the current incumbent of the White House is growing ever more likely.

15 comments on “Politico And The Fake “Irish” Supporters Of Brexit

  1. The thing about Russian propaganda-it was never meant to be all that convincing. It was meant to be cacophonous, and get some of the more susceptible people into a space where one thing is as believable as another and the very idea of truth becomes “fake news”. It’s not the same as propaganda that tries to convince you to vote a certain way, buy war bonds, support a certain policy, or do something specific. It’s all about creating FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt).

    Of course, Trump is going to run. It is very, very unusual in the US for a President finishing a first term not to stand as nominee for a second term. Challengers rarely succeed. There’s been some talk of Romney challenging Trump for the Republican nomination, but that sort of play is an extreme longshot. The last time a President finishing his first term didn’t run for a second term was with Lyndon B. Johnson, who apparently couldn’t simply not bear to prosecute The Vietnam War. He believed in Containing Communism, but having those deaths on his head was apparently beyond what the man could bear. Having died in 1973 and chosen not to run again in 1968, it was probably wise.

    The only other one I can think of who opted not to run for a second term was Andrew Johnson. Besides having the name “Johnson” both had been installed after the assassination of Lincoln and Kennedy respectively. LBJ did win one full term however. Andrew Johnson had been impeached and cleared by the Senate, but it was decided that he not run again and give the Republican mantle to a war hero like Ulysses S. Grant.

    But anyhoo. Trump not running for a second barring illness, death or impeachment always was a longshot.

    • Yep, I quite agree. It’s mostly just online shit-stirring. The theatrics of maskirovka. But it works.

      Oh, I thought he might opt out. Take his one term, do a Bush and claim job done Iraq War-style, and leave in self-delusional triumph. A more attractive proposition, especially if he was facing an opponent who had none of Clinton’s perceived electoral toxicity.

      Now, I’m pretty sure he’s going to go for it. And what’s more, he might win again. The Muller outcome is a disaster for his opponents, no matter all the spin or trying snatch a few crumbs of comfort. The Republicans will fight tooth and nail to keep this out of Congress. And Trump’s critics seem to be succumbing to fatigue, even with the rise of the new Democrat representatives.

      • For him to opt out would in the usual logic of US electoral political be very, very unusual. One well known phenomena which you seem to be underplaying is this. There is always a certain number of people in the US, who are determined to “boot the incumbent party” Their basic line of thinking tends to be either that the incumbents “have had their turn” or “haven’t cleaned house enough” so that the other party needs to kick their ass. Even if on an abstract plane they prefer the incumbent part to the other, their reasoning can become that the incumbent party needs to “learn a hard lesson”.

        They are a small minority on the whole, but can be found in every demographic in the country. Scots-Irish tend to be particularly prone to this pattern, but every group has at least a tiny percentage. Most Swing States are diverse among several lines culturally, economically, and in terms of old US regionalisms, but they tend to also have a nice healthy sized Scots-Irish element within it.

        Usually the “boot the incumbent” impulse tends to be lowest when a non-incumbent party President is running for his (or her? Sigh!!!!) second term, but the longer the party remains incumbent the more it tends to rise. Of course, there are other factors, but completely avoiding the tendency towards “rising anti-incumbent vote” the longer a part has held The White House seems impossible.

        If a President who CAN run for a second terms doesn’t, especially if that’s by choice, it’s a nightmare for the incumbent party. While Trump can’t be seen as a normal Republican, not seeking a second term by choice is unusual. However, I think his ego will stop him from stepping down no matter what. He can’t bring himself to quit. I suspect even his initial run was a publicity scam where his ego wouldn’t let him gracefully think of a way to leave.

        Similar with a significant in-party challenger to a President seeking a second term. Such challengers rarely succeed, but when they do it seems to damage the incumbent President’s chance at The White House-Ted Kennedy’s challenge to Jimmy Carter in 1980 is a good example. I’m hoping and praying Romney will challenge Trump. If he does a lot of Democrats might try to vote in the Republican Primary (state laws vary on this!!!), but The Party leadership would tend to discourage that as it’s so damaging to the incumbent President.

        However, if you look at cases where a President leaves his second terms, candidates who take that party’s “torch” tend to have a weak track record. Look at who gets elected after a two-term President, you can see that it tends not to be the same party. And even when the incumbent party DOES win they tend to be one-term Presidents. For those who say “Hillary Clinton just had this one in the bag, but she fucked up royally.” I’d say “You aren’t looking at the historical record of candidates who were doing the first term for themselves but third term for their party runs.” And she did win a majority of the population but lost on an archaic technicality.

      • I just want to clarify. If an in-party challenger tries to seek the nominated for the party of a President seeking a second term, there’s a very low chance the challenger is going to win-that almost never happens and when it did it was mostly very, very early days for the Republic.

        However even a failed challenge for the nomination, can really damage The President’s second term. So a lot of people both Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans are hoping, hoping, hoping, Romney will challenge, but unless The Republican National Committee really turns on Trump (and Presidential systems have a profoundly different dynamic than Parliamentary ones on this), they are going to discourage Romney from doing this.

        • That’s a very interesting analysis Grace re a failed challenge being damaging. And I suppose it depends on how strong a challenge it is too. You could see a few people like Romney actually getting quite some distance on it.

          • Well in order for the RNC to sign off on Romney (the most likely one by far), or Paul Ryan (with his case of Ayn Rand induced historical amnesia) to challenge Trump for the nomination one of two things would have to happen:

            1) They decide that Trump is just so damaging to their party that they would rather face a severe loss of face, near guarantee of a Democrat taking The White House, and possibly a generational set-back in terms of winning “hearts and minds”, than run Trump again. While I’ve always wondered when they would finally accept this because Trump is……well, Trump. So far, they seem to be circling wagons at all cost, so I’m not holding my breath.

            2) Disaffected Republicans put overwhelming pressure on the RNC to let Romney, Ryan, Rubio, or Christie challenge Trump. And this is likely to be tough, because of polarization and cynicism, they are likely to image any such pleas are from Democrats or swing voters rather than True Republicans.

            Also if one of them really tries to run, but isn’t allowed that can also really really hurt the GOP.

            What I’m afraid is going to happen is that Bernie Sanders is going to do what he’s done int he past. I don’t believe foreign media captured all that well just what poor political acumen Bernie Sanders displayed during years in Congress, and how much he really damaged Hillary Clinton’s campaign by beating his drums so hard after it was clear he couldn’t win.

            I felt that the European media didn’t quite get these things and were like “Wow!!! There’s a serious American candidate for POTUS who openly calls himself a socialist!! This is a big deal!!”

            In reality the difference between Bernie (and many European “socialists”) was more about willingness to use the term than any substantive positions. Indeed many American politicians who are MORE liberal than Bernie (and some European “socialists”) identify as “progressives” or “liberal Democrats” or identify with a Democratic affiliated party like “farm and labor” such as Amy Klobuchar.

            Americans as a rule of thumb don’t use the term socialist unless they advocate things such as a fully state planned economy, or accept the tenets of Marxism in full. One of the real reasons marxism didn’t catch on is the fact we’ve never had Laissez Faire Capitalism like Britain (and thus Ireland) and much of Europe did.

            To make a long-and painful-story short, I think that Bernie is as much to blame for Trump as Comey or Putin and certainly more so than Hillary Clinton herself.

            • Dara O Rourke

              If it wasn’t for laissez faire capitalism there would be no Irish Americans

              • Well there probably would have been fewer Irish immigrants to the United States and Canada, as Britain’s responsibility for The Great Famine was partly the result of Laissez Faire Capitialism. I’m not sure that would have meant no Irish American community whatsoever.

                There were quite a few Scots-Irish immigrants to many of the 13 colonies.

                My point in bringing it up, is that if Bernie Sanders calls himself a socialist it has far, far more to do with his background-NY Jews are much more likely to following European terminology than the rest of the US. Many Americans who are more liberal than Bernie on actual policy self-identify as “progressives” , “liberal Democrats” or even with various affiliate of The Democratic party that DO NOT use the label “Socialist” at all. As a strong ROT very few Americans would use the label “Socialist” unless they were orthodox Marxists or wanted a state planned economy with few market opt-outs.

                The fact is however, that The United States government has NEVER at any point embraced Laissez Faire Capitalism. Of course, “pure” capitalism and socialism are theoretical ideals that have never existed n the real world. However, the US utterly rejected the Laissez Faire philosophy much of Europe and Britain embraced in the 19th century.

                The “frontier” realities, the issues with solvency after The Revolution, and the aftermath of The Civil War all would have made Laissez Faire pretty untenable.

                Even earlier in The Cold War you saw surprisingly few advocates of Laissez Faire. Mostly it was an odd mix a very American paranoid hysteria (see Salem Witch Trials), fear of “godless communism” and legitimate horror at the Russian Famine of the 1920’s and the fact that the USSR and PRC didn’t have the best record when it came to individual rights. However until Ayn Rand started to get a larger following in the 1970’s almost nobody specifically advocate Laissez Faire, not even the hardest core anti-communists.

                Even as late as the 1960’s LBJ saw containing Communism in SE Asia (which turned out to be a horrible mistake) as very much of a piece with his War on Poverty and Passing of The Civil Rights Act.

          • Romney is probably the most likely. When he ran in 2012, my friend would call him The Romney Tron, but now he looks much better than Trump!!!

            Same with Paul Ryan with his Ayn Rand induced historical amnesia (yes some of his amnesia involves Irish history).

            If another Republican challenged Trump one thought is that some Democrats would try to vote in Republican primary. In some states it’s very easy to do this and you don’t declare a party to register to vote. In others it’s extremely difficult or not allowed to change your party on the eve of a primary. In no state can you participate in more than one primary, so any Democrat who tries to help a Trump Republican challenger, forfeits any say in the Democratic primary-which is already looking raucous.

            One piece of hopeful news in the Colorado has joined the NPVIC (National Popular Vote Interstate Compact), a stop gap or long term measure to reform the process of electing the President. Since Colorado is the first “purple state” it’s a really big deal for the measure. I’m extremely happy about that glimmer of hope in these times.

    • Spot on on your first paragraph, Grace.

      Peter Pomerantsev (“Nothing is True, Everything is Possible”) is the best on how Putin-era information warfare works.

      See for instance here: https://granta.com/why-were-post-fact/

      I don’t know enough about US politics to judge the rest.

      • It is crazy stuff. Of the relative few people I know who support Trump, I find that for every “True Believer” there seem to be a dozen or so, who say things like “Well we don’t really know the truth. Everyone in the media and government just lies and lies. I’m sure Trump is more stable than the liberal media wants you to think.” It’s like on one hand they express a point of view but they implicitly say “Nobody really knows the truth, so no argument against what I’m saying can be valid.”

        If believe that this describes major portions of Trump’s base, rather well. I don’t agree with it all, but it’s the best description I’ve seen:

        https://newrepublic.com/article/151603/nihilist-nation-empty-core-trump-mystique

        To my thinking the correlation between this really nasty Nihilism and racism is if anything notably looser than what the author indicates. It is definitely a positive correlation not a negative one, but there’s in my experience a continuum. At one end of it lies all the The White Nationalists, Nazis, Neo-Confederates, and this full blown renaissance of anti-semitism, and on the other you get people who are hard core destructive nihilism and if they express racism at all it’s either a “secondary disease” in their case or it’s something they express entirely to “piss off the liberals”.

        As for learning another country’s politics. I’ve found that trying to understand British politics has been a nightmare!!!!! It’s like you are looking at everything through a fog and trying to make sense of a bizarre foreign system. Ireland’s and France’s politics for example are much, much more straightforward (and I’m not just saying that to be polite!!)

  2. My enemy’s enemy is my friend. Slava bogu.

  3. Anybody that believed that ‘the Russians did it’ concerning Trump narrative, really must lap up everything they are told. Remember the biased euro centric media promoted the Russian/trump saga as well; that same media is/was spouting anti brexit tales too. Lest we forget.

Leave A Comment (Please familiarise yourself with the ASF Terms of Use and Commenting Policy before posting a comment)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: