Readers' Letters: Why did US vote the way it did?

Why did more than 70 million people vote for Donald Trump in last week's Presidential election?

Could Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty explain US election result?
Could Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty explain US election result?

Why, indeed, did more than 73 million vote for his opponent, now president-elect Joe Biden? It is just too simplistic, as your November 9 editorial suggests, to say that some of those voters backed a candidate who “embodies the politics of division”. Only a small minority of Mr Trump's supporters could be described as white supremacists, misogynistic and committed to the view that the world began 6,000 years ago.

Equally only a small minority of Mr Biden's supporters would describe themselves as socialists and determined to redistribute rather than create wealth. In between are more down to earth concerns about the work ethic, taxation, quality of schools, the environment, job creation, health and, yes, how far the government should interfere in every day life.

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Much more research needs to be carried out to determine the cause of Mr Biden's victory. It will be more complicated by early indications that many black and Latino voters backed Mr Trump.

Was this because, rightly or wrongly, he was seen to be more supportive of enterprise, and particularly the small enterprises that help increase the incomes of the ethnic minorities? There is a need to look closely at whether some voters see the Democrats as just too close to the dead hand of government, and too much associated with the political class that holds back their interests.

One thing is certain. Neither Republicans nor Democrats can take the votes of the non-white electorate for granted. They fall into income and social groups that need to be analysed closely to determine their preferences. Getting to the root of those preferences will need deeper thought than the Trump/Biden divide might at first suggest.

Bob Taylor, Shiel Court, Glenrothes

Don’t team up

As a member of one of the three parties which Brian Monteith wants to back each other in the forthcoming election, I can assure him that if such an alliance were to materialise I would cancel my membership. I have no wish to join the SNP, whose faults I can see, but the SNP is right on Europe and right on Trident, both of which for me are issues of deeper principle than whether Scotland is ruled from a dysfunctional building in London. Scottish independence would, in my view, be very problematic, but less so than pooling resources at the behest of someone whose Brexit is the reason for the surge in support for the SNP.

Peter Lush, India Street, Edinburgh

Shirking blame

Scotland had the highest rate of care home covid deaths in the UK and there is strong evidence that covid-positive patients were knowingly returned from hospitals to care homes. Several questions and a call for a Scottish public inquiry have been frequently put to the Scottish government who have refused to answer awkward questions. This culminated in all SNP MSPs voting against the proposal for a public inquiry.

Now the Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, has reportedly written to all other health secretaries suggesting a UK-wide inquiry. This suggestion, and the SNP vote against holding a public inquiry in Scotland, can only be seen as a brazen attempt by the Scottish Government to avoid a specific investigation into an issue that they had sole responsibility for.

It is shameful that not one SNP MSP had the courage to vote in favour of the proposal and instead put party loyalty ahead of those family members looking for explanations about why their loved ones died and It appears that a devolved responsibility becomes a UK one where there is blame to be had.

Paul Lewis, Guardwell Crescent, Edinburgh

Credibility void

Isn’t it amazing how the independence movement supporters will turn to any snippet of perceived credibility, no matter the irony when one looks into the actual content of the comment. Mary Thomas states, “last December, the Tories had a once in a generation vote general election to stop Indyref2 and lost badly in Scotland” (Letters, 9 November).

First and foremost, this is utter drivel, as when voting in a UK government election, there are bigger UK matters to consider when deciding how to vote than a minority Scottish government party, held together by six unelected Green party members.

This idea that “the people of Scotland” – a phrase so readily screamed across the floor of Westminster by Ian Blackford that really does stick in the thrapple – are screaming for Independence is utterly false, no matter how many polls say otherwise. The questions used in the polls are as easily discredited as those of the Sage scientists and the graphs used to influence a prime minister!

The First MInister makes comments about democracy while deriding events and individuals in the United States, yet she has, since 2014, completely and utterly consigned democracy to the wastebin.

Her new plan to open “embassies” around the world is the biggest piece of grandstanding yet. This should be illegal, as the Scottish Government is a devolved position in the big picture of politics – and the money it receives is for the good of “the people of Scotland”, not for a bunch of single-minded isolationists to beat a drum for Independence.

The one thing which puts all SNP MSPs, MPs and supporters in their place is this sentence: “I will provide you with a piece of A4 paper and a pen, now write down how Independence is going to be paid for.”

Cartoons of a magic money tree are not submissible.

David Millar, West High Street, Lauder

Blue sky thinking

The COP 26 Glasgow climate conference was supposed to start yesteday, but was postponed to next year due to covid. Can someone from the climate lobby explain why it hasn't gone ahead via video conferencing? Think of the emissions that would have been avoided.

Geoff Moore, Alness, Highland

There were spies

You report Sir David Omand as asserting that the British security services have never infiltrated the Scottish independence movement (9 November). Many would doubt that statement. In the 1950s there were several instances of police agents joining groups of those favouring independence and appearing to seek to get them to break the law so they could be prosecuted. "Spot the infiltrator" could be almost a game and it was not always clear who was leading whom "up the garden path".

Notable was the "Conspiracy Trial", in or about 1952, in which four students in Edinburgh were accused of conspiracy to overthrow the government by force, and two lesser charges, on the evidence of a police agent. A jury found them not guilty on the major charge, Not Proven on the second and guilty on the third – of possessing an unlicensed firearm – and they were sentenced to one year in prison.

Even some respected members of the Establishment were disgusted at the behaviour of the authorities in this case and the agent required to be protected from the public when he left the court.

David Stevenson, Blacket Place, Edinburgh

Thought police

The invention of 'hate crime' has turned Scotland into a society where the police can patrol our minds and opinions while our children and grandchildren are turned into Stasi spies. What we say in our own homes will in future be prosecuted – a wholly totalitarian idea, especially now that almost anything can be recorded.

I was a scientist but expressing doubts that trace amounts of CO2 drive climate change could wreck my career today and might well see me in jail tomorrow. I have yet to hear Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf explain how you can commit an offence of public order in private.

(Dr) John Cameron, Howard Place, St Andrews

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