Western Australian voters went to the polls yesterday in their state election. As the polling suggested it was an easy win for Labor. Historic.
Yet the level of that win was hardly predicted. The Lieberals and Nationals only managed to get about 30% of the primary vote. But even more surprising was Pauline Hanson's One Nation party. Polling at the start of the campaign had her party on 13% primary vote. Yesterday the party only managed less than 5%. That's a crushing defeat in anyone's language.
She was supposed to ride a wave of Trumpism that saw her elected to the federal senate last election. It failed. After only a few weeks of Trump in Washington he became a liability not an asset. Anything to do with Trump in any election here is now electoral poison. His divisiveness and hate has been soundly rejected.
The likes of Cory Bernardi come to mind, who's gone so far as to resign from the gov to become an independent, most notably citing the election of Trump in the US as a big motivating factor. My guess now is that Bernardi's election prospects will be decidedly lessoned by such close praise of Trump.
In 16 years, its voter support in that state fell from 9.5 per cent to 4.7 per cent, according to the two-thirds of the vote counted by late Sunday.
Pauline Hanson was supposed to be riding the same tsunami of nationalist populism that carried Donald Trump to the White House. Instead, she was left making excuses and blaming the voters:
"People ask me about preferences and they don't understand the voting system, the preference system, and the preferences. I think that's where most of the damage has come from."
This is desperate stuff. Until now, populists only ever blamed the elites. They don't blame the people.
Unshakeable faith in the common sense of the ordinary people is the very definition of populism. Hanson, under pressure of failure, has lost the plot. The Age