US political sneeze causes NZ to catch conspiracy cold

By Stefan Dimitrof

A leading sociologist says the result of the mid-term election in the United States could mean New Zealand loses a multilateral relationship with the US.

The US mid-term elections were held yesterday and the current vote counts show that the United States isn’t that united.

Counts are leaning toward a Republican clean sweep of the US Senate and the US House, which is likely to prevent President Joe Biden from passing many laws for the next two years of his term.

Professor Paul Spoonley, a Massey University sociologist and co-director of the newly established Centre of Research Excellence for the prevention and countering violent extremism, said that the results of the mid-terms could mean losing a multilateral working relationship with the US with the Democrats whereas a Republican-led US would be more focused on an America-first foreign policy.

Spoonley, who is soon to publish a new book, Histories of Hate, about how the US racist right has influenced New Zealand, said “as in the United States, the racist right got a real boost through the pandemic because people were naturally anxious".

The parliamentary protest at the start of 2022 showed the arrival of American flags, the discredited confederacy flag, a whole lot of "trump stuff" and the inclusion of the sovereign citizens' movement believing that they could give rights to sheriffs to set laws and arrest people from the Prime Minister down.

“It’s been one of those moments where suddenly what happens in the US particularly given Q-Anon and the other conspiratorial views that have come out of there have had a huge impact here and it really surprised me, the depth of that impact.”