I don’t normally do Trump blogs. Most days I don’t see the need; it’s like shooting fish in a barrel, but I’m going to make an exception because I believe the real need is to ask how a country with so many resources and so many people decided that Donald Trump was the best choice they had on offer.
That says a lot about the United States electoral system, right there, and makes me suspect that there may be major flaws in the way Americans vote for their president. Every time that president Trump makes the headlines for all the wrong reasons, social media explodes with the usual run of “I didn’t vote for him” posts.
I’m making an exception to write my Trumped-up blog because right now, in Australia, we are told our vote is wasted if we don’t vote the two-party-preferred system that’s favoured by all the major parties. We are also told by one of those major parties that one of its major election promises is to hold a referendum to give us an Australian head of state.
While that all sounds very fine and patriotic, so far it is hypothetical; nobody has told us exactly how we are to elect an Australian head of state. Why aren’t we being told what the plan is exactly? If it’s worth spending so much money on a referendum to ask us to approve an Australian head of state, surely somebody, somewhere, has thought about how that head of state is to be selected and what their job specification will be. There are three things I really want to know.
First, do we also vote two-party-preferred for this, so that the backroom boys in the winning party select who will be the Australian head of state, the way they currently select who will be prime minister? Does that mean that we don’t really need a prime minister anymore? If that is the case, I wonder why this is any better than the system we currently have, flawed though it is. Sounds like an expensive re-branding exercise, where the Australian taxpayer will pay a lot of money for a referendum to change the title, but not the job.
Then, does the prime minister retain the current role with the new Australian head of state having the same role as the governor-general, that is, opening parliament and cutting ribbons and looking good at official functions, but not really running the country? As an aside, the governor-general is also chosen by the winning party, so this appears to be an expensive re-branding exercise that isn’t going to achieve anything other than providing us a warm, fuzzy, patriotic glow. Maybe we could divert the patriotism and the referendum money into helping our struggling Australian farmers, or Australian homeless, or Australian pensioners, or Australian children living in poverty.
Finally, and this is another possibility, would the Australian head of state have the same powers and status as the American president? Does that mean the Australian public vote for an Australian president in a separate poll, like they do in the US? If Australia is to follow the American model, just how flawed is that system? Is it likely the Australian people could also get ‘Trumped’?
These worry me far more than the posting and reposting of criticisms of a man who — whether or not you like it and whether or not you like him — was elected president of one of the richest nations in the world.