The US poll is like a card game that reminds you that the joker often comes up trumps

Trump might be more surprised by his victory than Clinton by her defeat. But such is the world we call electoral politics.

A semiotics expert shrewdly watching politics once told me a man can only become president of the United States if he looks like a cartoon. Think of Ronald Reagan or Bush I and II. It is true for India also. Narendra Modi looks like a piece from Madame Tussauds. Donald Trump looks like a leftover from Mad magazine. Hilary Clinton carries the weight of history and the historicity of her husband. She is like a bad piece out of the New Yorker while Trump reads like a graphic novel. His daughter and wife are perfect accompaniments, nay accomplices, to his career. Clinton appears like a set of broken promises, bits of glass that do not connect as a kaleidoscope. Trump is a cartoon whose career will be a caricature of his promised self.

Reality, values, consistency play a serious part in the construction of both. Clinton is a collage of broken moments – feminist democratic, internationalist. She has played pied piper to many multinationals. She sounds like a hypocrite, a part of the upper-class establishment that talks values but insists others should pursue it. She is real, historical and tired.

Trump is sheer fiction. His reality stems from his power to exaggerate. He is part American salesman, part playboy playing out the repressions of middle America. He represents a working class that is threatened by loss of work. He is a hard hat representation of a working and blue-collar working class.

Both emphasise their anxieties by immediate threats. The enemy, says Trump, needs to be extradited, interned and exorcised without any of the human rights claptrap that Clinton or the New York Times may want. Trump is outrageous, provocative, a salesman of the repressions of an America that is not quite global. Clinton is cosmopolitan, hypocritical. Trump sounds like a combination of a bully, a Sunday sermon and an obscene joke. Clinton sounds like a prevaricating editorial, a representative of all the institutions that create the credibility gap in America – from Wall Street to Silicon Valley.

Clinton sounds like the United Nations secretary general, a post she could have filled with greater elan. Trump sounds like something that preceded the Monroe Doctrine – which warned European nations against interference in US interests – isolationist, a salesman pretending to be Old Testament, calling for God to strike with thunder and lightning anyone who seeks to outsource America.

Symbolic battle

The electoral battle was not so much an ideological war but a semiotic battle where Trump was a believable version of himself. Trump could only be Trump while Clinton pretended to be too many people caught in a ganglion of too many issues. Clinton sounded confused trying to please too many people. Trump echoed a simple catechism. Clinton sounded like a multi-cultural handbook in a congregation of hard hats wanting immigration to end.

Both were readings of the global world. Clinton read America like the former British Prime Minister David Cameron read the European Union. Trump had the simplicity of Brexit. Any outsider, in fact all outsiders, was the enemy regardless of whether they were Chinese, Arab or Mexican. Globalisation to Trump was anti-American. But for Clinton, globalisation was the next step in the American dream. She sounded like an area studies handbook, Trump was a simplified America. Clinton looked like something from a salon, Trump from a bar room brawl.

Clinton was politically correct, liberal, democratic and cosmopolitan. Trump was a bull in a China shop in a world tired of China shops, tired of delicacy when it demanded immediacy. Oddly, Trump came out as more honest than Clinton. In a Bible thumping heartland, an Old Testament prophet in the garb of a salesman is more effective than a feminist liberal. For Trump, boasting about grabbing beautiful women “by the pussy” was mere locker room talk. Clinton was coy but people felt that Trump in his Playboy candidness was more real than the Clintons. An advocate of porn is preferable to a hypocrite with backroom indulgences. Trump’s promises sounded real, simple, like a medicinal advertisement. Clinton reeked of policy documents that have little credibility. In fact, Trump as the inexperienced outsider contained more of Horatio Alger’s America than Clinton who reeked of the establishment. It showed that a movement that speaks the language of experts and policy cannot match the language of folklore.

Trump may not have articulated new dreams but at least he played out old repressions. Clinton sounded like a collection of old dreams and promises that were difficult to redeem. It was like Ivy League battling working class America as the true locus of the American dream. A John Kennedy could enact Camelot. Clinton’s Camelot had too many vacancies. It failed as a poetic act. A bad epic sometimes is no match for a Falstaffian limerick. It is not the content of the message alone but the messenger. Trump is the Barnum of the communication world. Clinton as political soprano lost her voice.

The American election is like a card game that reminds you that the joker often comes up trumps. Clinton becomes a period piece who can be confined to history as Trump steps out to create it. This was a communication and semiotic war where idols were vandalised and iconoclasts valorised. In a strange iconic way, Trump might be more surprised by his victory than Clinton by her defeat. But such is the world we call electoral politics.

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Top picks, best deals and all that you need to know for the Amazon Great Indian Festival

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The Great Indian Festival (21st-24th September) by Amazon is back and it’s more tempting than ever. This edition will cater to everyone, with offers on a range of products from electronics, home appliances, apparel for men and women, personal care, toys, pet products, gourmet foods, gardening accessories and more. With such overwhelming choice of products and a dozen types of offers, it’s not the easiest to find the best deals in time to buy before your find gets sold out. You need a strategy to make sure you avail the best deals. Here’s your guide on how to make the most out of the Great Indian Festival:

Make use of the Amazon trio – Amazon Prime, Amazon Pay and Amazon app

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Load your Amazon pay wallet; there’s assured 10% cashback (up to Rs 500). Amazon will also offer incremental cashbacks over and above bank cashbacks on select brands as a part of its Amazon Pay Offers. Shopping from the app would bring to you a whole world of benefits not available to non-app shoppers. App-only deals include flat Rs 1,250 off on hotels on shopping for more than Rs 500, and flat Rs 1,000 off on flights on a roundtrip booking of Rs 5,000 booking from Yatra. Ten lucky shoppers can also win one year of free travel worth Rs 1.5 lakhs.

Plan your shopping

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Track the deals

There will be lightning deals and golden hour deals throughout the festival period. Keep track to avail the best of them. Golden-hour deals will be active on the Amazon app from 9.00pm-12.00am, while Prime users will have access to exclusive lightning deals. For example, Prime-only flash sales for Redmi 4 will start at 2.00pm and Redmi 4A at 6.00pm on 20th, while Nokia 6 will be available at Rs 1,000 off. There will be BOGO Offers (Buy One Get One free) and Bundle Offers (helping customers convert their TVs to Smart TVs at a fraction of the cost by using Fire TV Stick). Expect exclusive product launches from brands like Xiaomi (Mi Band 2 HRX 32 GB), HP (HP Sprocket Printer) and other launches from Samsung and Apple. The Half-Price Electronics Store (minimum 50% off) and stores offering minimum Rs 15,000 off will allow deal seekers to discover the top discounts.

Big discounts and top picks

The Great Indian Festival is especially a bonanza for those looking to buy electronics and home appliances. Consumers can enjoy a minimum of 25% off on washing machines, 20% off on refrigerators and 20% off on microwaves, besides deals on other appliances. Expect up to 40% off on TVs, along with No-Cost EMI and up to Rs 20,000 off on exchange.

Home Appliances

Our top picks for washing machines are Haier 5.8 Kg Fully Automatic Top Loading at 32% off, and Bosch Fully Automatic Front Loading 6 Kg and 7 Kg, both available at 27% discount. Morphy Richards 20 L Microwave Oven will be available at a discount of 38%.

Our favorite pick on refrigerators is the large-sized Samsung 545 L at 26% off so you can save Rs 22,710.

There are big savings to be made on UV water purifiers as well (up to 35% off), while several 5-star ACs from big brands will be available at greater than 30% discount. Our top pick is the Carrier 1.5 Ton 5-star split AC at 32% off.

Also those looking to upgrade their TV to a smart one can get Rs. 20,000 off by exchanging it for the Sony Bravia 108cm Android TV.

Personal Electronics

There’s good news for Apple fans. The Apple MacBook Air 13.3-inch Laptop 2017 will be available at Rs 55,990, while the iPad will be available at 20% off. Laptops from Lenovo, Dell and HP will be available in the discount range of 20% to 26%. Top deals are Lenovo Tab3 and Yoga Tab at 41% to 38% off. Apple fans wishing to upgrade to the latest in wearable technology can enjoy Rs 8,000 off on the Apple Watch series 2 smartwatch.

If you’re looking for mobile phones, our top deal pick is the LG V20 at Rs 24,999, more than Rs 5000 off from its pre-sale price.

Power banks always come in handy. Check out the Lenovo 13000 mAh power bank at 30% off.

Home printers are a good investment for frequent flyers and those with kids at home. The discounted prices of home printers at the festival means you will never worry about boarding passes and ID documents again. The HP Deskjet basic printer will be available for Rs 1,579 at 40% off and multi-function (printer/ scanner/ Wi-Fi enabled) printers from HP Deskjet and Canon will also available at 33% off.

The sale is a great time to buy Amazon’s native products. Kindle E-readers and Fire TV Stick will be on sale with offers worth Rs 5,000 and Rs 1,000 respectively.

The Amazon Fire Stick
The Amazon Fire Stick

For those of you who have a bottomless collection of movies, music and photos, there is up to 60% off on hard drives and other storage devices. Our top picks are Rs 15,000 and Rs 12,000 off on Seagate Slim 5TB and 4TB hard drives respectively, available from 8.00am to 4.00pm on 21st September.

The sale will see great discounts of up to 60% off on headphones and speakers from the top brands. The 40% off on Bose QC 25 Headphones is our favourite. Top deals are on Logitech speakers with Logitech Z506 Surround Sound 5.1 multimedia Speakers at 60% off and the super compact JBL Go Portable Speaker at 56% off!

Other noteworthy deals

Cameras (up to 55% off) and camera accessories such as tripods, flash lights etc. are available at a good discount. Home surveillance cameras too will be cheaper. These include bullet cameras, dome cameras, simulated cameras, spy cameras and trail and game cameras.

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Interesting finds

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Small shopping

If you have children, the festival is good time to stock up on gifts for Diwali, Christmas, return gifts etc. On offer are gaming gadgets such as Xbox, dough sets, Touching Tom Cat, Barbies, classic board games such as Life and more. There are also some products that you don’t really need, but kind of do too, such as smartphone and tablet holders, magnetic car mounts for smartphones and mobile charging station wall stands. If you’re looking for enhanced functionality in daily life, do take a look at the Amazon Basics page. On it you’ll find USB cables, kitchen shears, HDMI cables, notebooks, travel cases and other useful things you don’t realise you need.

Check-out process and payment options

Amazon is also offering an entire ecosystem to make shopping more convenient and hassle-free. For the festival duration, Amazon is offering No-Cost EMIs (zero interest EMIs) on consumer durables, appliances and smartphones, plus exchange schemes and easy installation services in 65 cities. HDFC card holders can avail additional 10% cashback on HDFC credit and debit cards. Customers will also get to “Buy Now and Pay in 2018” with HDFC Credit Cards, as the bank offers a 3 Month EMI Holiday during the days of the sale. Use Amazon Pay balance for fast and easy checkouts, quicker refunds and a secured shopping experience.

Sales are fun and with The Great Indian Festival offering big deals on big brands, it definitely calls for at least window shopping. There’s so much more than the above categories, like minimum 50% off on American Tourister luggage! To start the treasure hunt, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Amazon.in and not by the Scroll editorial team.