Pauline Hanson and Donald Trump - the similarities are unmistakable. (Photo Digitally altered)
Pauline Hanson and Donald Trump - the similarities are unmistakable. (Photo Digitally altered) Digitally altered

Strange Politics: I'm not racist but...

"I'M NOT racist, but..." and "Islam is not a race".

It is no coincidence these two phrases have enjoyed a popularity spike alongside the political careers of categorical racists Pauline Hanson and Donald Trump.

As excuses they are flimsy as wet cheese, yet people everywhere roll them out like get out of jail free cards every time xenophobic drivel hits their venom-flecked lips.

The fluorescent firebrand himself avoided the sentence-starters during this week's US presidential debate, but you cannot escape facts: Donald Trump is a bigoted sack of farts.

It does not even matter that Trump, by any traditional measure, lost the debate in flying colours.

Hillary Clinton's intelligent, measured responses are not what Trump voters are looking for.

They want fire and brimstone and he doled out whopping great lashings of both in a climate where fear is the greatest currency in politics.

Those same scapegoating tactics launched Hanson into parliament back when pesky Orientals were poised to destroy 'Straya and the tactics revived her depleted status once Muslims became issue of the day.

Her warnings about (insert most topical ethnic/religious group here) and Trump's talk of murderous Mexican rapists have proven very effective at stirring up hate and getting votes.

Their shared economic and cultural protectionist policies ignore the fact Australia and the United States would be financially ruined without robust international trade. Installing xenophobic policies does the two countries no favours among neighbouring countries.

Propping up failed industries instead of finding new ways to create jobs and wealth would run the well dry and trigger retaliatory trade restrictions. And telling Indonesia all Muslims are banned from migrating to Australia is just an idiotic move by any sane measure.

If the US presidential campaign has taught us anything, it is that fear sells.

Capitalising on that concept may be the only way for Hillary Clinton to win what once looked like an unlosable election.

The fear of having Donald Trump in the White House is now her greatest weapon.

As she said during the debate: "A man who can be provoked by a tweet should not have his fingers anywhere near the nuclear codes."

Australia and the United States are not alone in this shift to hardline nationalist policy.

The Philippines has installed Rodrigo Duterte as president after he condoned murdering drug dealers in the streets.

Thousands have been slain so far.

A moment of madness saw Britain vote to exit the European Union, prompting Prime Minister David Cameron to resign.

Now the man who gave Clinton a run for her money, Bernie Sanders, is back in the news.

His brother Larry Sanders, who has lived in Britain since 1969, is running for David Cameron's seat in parliament on the Green Party ticket.

Funny how things work out.

Australia's election is over and we are stuck with Pauline Hanson for at least six years, but that does not mean we have to heed her blathering or fall for her scaremongering tactics.

I'm not racist but I voted for a racist whose entire political platform was racist.

Are you sure about that?