Life is much better with a variety of opinions. Juggernaut, my young friend, certainly has a great man well thought out opinions. Since I have been a bit away as of lately (a number of meat-space issues have kept me away for much too long), he has offered to share with us his opinions on the recent US election of God Emperor Trump, Kek be praised!
How I Learned to Love the Donald
I’m not inherently a liberal or a conservative. I look at things objectively and look at evidence before making conclusions. On this subject, many people like using data to support their own preconcieved conclusion. I guess Im not good on the theatrics of politics.
Clinton is the ugly status quo we all hate and Trump is an alternative offering some improvements coupled with lots of troubling positions too. Johnson was the lesser evil.
I was wrong.
Most thought Clinton would win, especially the left leaning media of course. In my projection, I predicted 46 out of 50 states correctly: more accurate than most pundits.
I was wrong on Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Florida was a tossup and most didn’t think he would win the other 3 states. Three weeks ago, even his own supporters believed winning via Nevada, Colorado and New Hampshire was more feasible.
Even him and his own supporters were prematurely calling it rigged. He won all 4 of those states by a margin of ~2%.
My error was in assuming the rust belt was out of his reach because both Democrats and Republicans were blindly partisan. I was half right. Many Democrats only vote for charismatic candidates like Obama and the rust belt only leaned slightly blue to begin with.
Before the election, I had lamented the fact that only 15 states matter electorally while your vote doesn’t really matter in the other 35 states. But in this election we saw 3 solid blue states turn red. Millions of forgotten invisible rust belt workers have had their say, and that’s great. It’s what the EC was built for. Really, there’s no perfect system. Popular vote gives less populous regions a disadvantage, and EC gives an advantage to swing states. No easy answers here.
Why Clinton lost.
I could name a number of bad decisions she made in her campaign:
She attacked Donald but never made a strong case for herself
“America is already great” = complacency.
Starting a weird anti-Russia obsession to court hawkish Republicans
Campaigning in solid-red states like Arizona
Ignoring Wisconsin and Michigan, taking them for granted.
Picking Kaine as a running mate (he added nothing to the ticket)
Plus, lots of other baggage: scandals, Iraq, etc.
Why Donald won.
In the primaries, it was simple. He had 17 opponents, and that meant he was able to win even if 60% of the party didn’t like him. He didn’t have to debate any single candidate in depth, and in a crowded field, the loudest person gets the most attention. Republicans were tired of Bush’s RINO/neo-con policies. Also, they were tired of their polite establishment candidates like Romney and McCain losing.
Let’s make it simpler. Charisma always wins. McCain, Romney, Kerry, Dole, HW Bush, Mondale and Carter all fit in the same category. Intelligent and qualified, but boring and tone-deaf. Donald was by far the most charismatic. Opponents don’t want to admit it but he got endless coverage due to the fact that he was entertaining and knew how to trigger emotions.
I care about logic and the issues but most voters vote on emotion. Donald was by far superior in tapping into the emotions of the voters. People were angry and felt the establishment was a joke, and he provided that.
Trump supporters are not monolithic
Biased media outlets wanted to paint a monolith of his supporters largely being racist rednecks, but really it’s a more complicated picture.
If I were to construct a pie-chart of his supporters, it would look something like this:
10% – racist / xenophobic
10% – isolationists / protectionist / rust-belt
20% – fiscal conservatives
20% – people who view Clinton as a greater evil
20% – partisan Republicans
20% – people who are angry at the establishment
Much of this election result was due to Obama failure to communicate. He was great at the motivational speeches, but a laid off factory worker with an almost-empty refridgerator and a daughter wearing the same pair of shoes for 5 years isn’t as optimistic.
Obama exists in a professorial Harvard bubble with some Chicago sensibilites, but the same sobriety that gives him a good temperment has resulted in him being too afraid to express condemnation and frustration where appropriate. Donald is the anti-Obama. Obama is cautious, business-casual, overly politically correct, mild-mannered. Donald is brash, bold, loud, angry and blunt.
Trump is the establishment
Many of Trump’s supporters are echoing the same kind of naive optimism of Obama’s win in 2008. Obama was a stock Democrat, not much different than Kerry in policy, but he convinced people via marketing that he represented change despite having conventional policies.
Trump was a billionaire political donor, friend of the Clintons, to begin with. He already backpedaled on most of his hardlined positions last week.
In a way, he’s our first third paety president, but he appointed mostly establishments Republicans. From his perspective its brilliant. He can silence opposition. If you work for an administration, its harder to criticise it.
Trump is not revolutionary
The only thing thats revolution is his rhetoric. Its not unthinkable for America to elect Trump. Hes a demogogue and second world countries are full of Trumps.
Fiscally, Hes a liberal Republican who likes taxes low, spending high and debt high. On foreign policy, hes keeping most of the old guard in place. On immigration and trade, hes different, but he backpedaled on that.
Anti establishment doesn’t exist
There will always be an establishment. Anti establishmenr politicians only want to replace the current establishment with their own. Certain groups of people will be favored and certain groups will be left out, and it will always be that way.
97% of Congressional incumbents were re-elected, and Congress holds most of the government’s power.
Trump’s moral character is condemnable, his anti intellectual populism is repugnant, but his ability to defy the odds, defy big money interests, galvanize millions and be a leader in that regard is admirable. No matter how many asterisks we can place next to it, Trump is synonymous with success.
If his run, results in more people questioning our government and culture, it could be consequentially good. But most other discussion will be theatrics.
Democrats don’t get it
They’re going to nominate a more progressive and more moralistic Democrat in 2020, make more “you dont care about ____ people” argument, and theyll lose anyway.
Donald will be endlessly parodied on SNL, he will become America’s most endearing but oafish cartoon character. He’ll take the route of political convenience and offer purely cosmetic changes.
And americans will likely re elect him again in 2020 because he is a born leader.