Alexandra Tselios

The “Weak” in U.S. Politics: August 1st 2016

How the RNC fared against the DNC, Trump and Twitter, and why an ex-Australian Prime Minister needs Clinton to win.


The “Weak” in Politics as seen by Alexandra Tselios

Everything we suspected in the past six weeks has generally come to pass: Bernie sided with Clinton instead of Jill Stein, the polls continue to soar for Trump, and we finally saw the first female Presidential nominee. At this point, it is almost irrelevant which celebrities come out to endorse which nominee, whether that’s Homer Simpson (WTF? Why is this a trending news story?) or Charles Koch (He recently said, “At this point, I can’t support either candidate.”). What is relevant though is who is leading in the polls, with The New York Times showing a Clinton lead (44%) on Trump (41%) and Reuters showing a Clinton lead (41%) on Trump (35%). There are a number of factors to the increase in the polls and in particular I want to focus on three main areas.

  1. The Democratic National Convention (DNC) Beat The Republican National Convention (RNC)

The Republican National Convention saw controversies such as the Melania Trump speech and Ted Cruz not playing ball, while at the same time news of the USA Freedom Kids (remember them?!) threaten to sue Trump over an unpaid invoice. There was literally very little controversy during the Democratic National Convention, rather touching moments such as the speech by Khizr and Ghazala Khan and a rather sweet joy from Bill Clinton over balloons. In saying that, during the Democratic National Convention we did see protesters burning the Israeli flag in a disgusting act that prompted the National Jewish Democratic Council to say it was, “Disgusting and totally reprehensible. These protesters aren’t only wrong, but are fundamentally anti-progressive.” Alas, the DNC beats the RNC in 2016 in terms of pulling off a streamlined, substantive week.

2. Trump’s Loose Relationship with Foreign Affairs

When a potential POTUS suggests Russia should hack another candidate’s emails, there is going to be concern, especially when it draws Putin into the discussion. While Trump dismisses his comments as glib and sarcastic, the whole incident has ignited discussions around the strained relationship between Hillary Clinton and Putin (when Clinton was Secretary of State, she raised serious concerns around the election of Putin). The “joke” of suggesting a hack prompted Clinton to say, “We would not tolerate that from any other country, particularly one with whom we have adversarial position.” Never forget, that in 2015 Putin was reported as saying Trump was a “brilliant and talented person” (which he later denied) to which Trump replied, “He actually is right, I am brilliant.” The concerns here lie primarily in glib comments by a POTUS that, while many Americans will chortle, can have the potential to create further division with international leaders. I actually would like to believe many ridiculous things Trump says are often facetious and inflammatory for “fun,” however, the complexities around navigating these relationships enter dangerous territory when one is too glib or familiar.

3. Trump’s Twitter Account

I don’t even know where to start. Trump is not helping himself when he tweets, whether it is responding to Clinton’s acceptance speech in fragmented 140 characters or less snippets, or trying to wrangle disgruntled Bernie Sanders supporters.


It seems that social media is potentially Trump’s Achilles heel with the lure of the send button too much to bear for the guy. Although, the Internet hasn’t always been a fail for Trump who in 2015 redirected Jeb Bush’s expired domain back to himself. It was one of my favorite pranks of the year. But to get back to Trump internet fails, it is worth revisiting Trump’s most offensive tweets of all time, including “@FrankLuntz is a low class slob who came to my office looking for consulting work and I had zero interest.”

Meanwhile, here in Australia, I am a bit embarrassed about how we look to the world with our Prime Minister refusing to nominate an ex-PM for the role of UN Secretary. You can see the video here, it’s awkward, not long after a full week of not being able to tell who our next Prime Minister is because apparently it’s tiring counting paper votes. However, hope is not all lost for Kevin Rudd who could still have Hillary Clinton’s support as “he ticks all the boxes for her, not least as someone who purportedly knows how to handle China.” So, from a safe distance, it is not just us here at The Big Smoke fixated on the outcome of this election, for some ex-Prime Ministers our future depends on the outcome.


The “Weak” in Politics as seen by Roger Pugh

Heard in a Rodeo Drive Restaurant
“What did you think of Ted Cruz’s speech at the Republican Convention when he failed to support Trump?”
“I think it would have gotten a better reception at the Democratic Convention.”

Heard at a Dance Party
“I think Trump and Hillary should be drug tested regularly during the Presidential election.”
“Good idea, both of them obviously need guidance on taking something more performance-enhancing.”

Heard at the Democratic Convention
“What’s the difference between Trump and a raving nut job undergoing intensive psychiatric treatment?”
“Only one of them has been diagnosed.”

I Want to Be Absolutely Clear about This
During his recent visit to Australia, Joe Biden told us not to worry about the outcome of the Presidential election because “the angels will prevail.” We believe he must have been referring to a surprise third party candidate because surely not even he could possibly refer to the Clintons as angelic.

Heard at Republican Party HQ
“What do you know about Tim Kaine?”
“He’s not very Abel.”

Heard at Trump Campaign HQ
“Why did the Democratic Party establishment favor Hillary over Bernie?”
“They were concerned that, if Bernie became their nominee, Wall Street would stop paying their rent.”




Alexandra Tselios

Founder and CEO of The Big Smoke, Alexandra oversees the leading opinion site in both Australia and the USA. As a social commentator, she is interviewed most days of the week on radio across the country in Australia as well as working with NFP think-tank, Plus61J, which explores the political and social ties between Australia and Israel.

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