Friday, September 16, 2016

bruce wilder 09.16.16 at 8:19 pm

Raven Onthill: Bruce Wilder, Two of the best public poll analysts, Sam Wang and Nate Silver, say that Trump has a significant chance, and his chance is improving. All signs point to a close election and so we need the participation of all. I would rather be morally damaged by supporting Clinton and have prevented World War III . . .

My feeling is that polls sell newspapers (and attract eyeballs to new media) and therefore the people who pay for polls always want the polls to show how close an election is going to be. Nobody has a stake in polls that show the other guy is in a hopeless position. Trump’s chances are being exaggerated in a news Media that gets a huge payoff (as in beaucoup bucks) from campaign advertising.

This election may turn out to be different, in a “past experience is no guarantee of future performance” kind of way. I do sense that legitimacy issues loom larger this year than usual, but that’s just an extension of my cyclic argument. It would shock me if those issues mature fast enough for enough people to drown Clinton before the election almost as much as it would surprise me if they don’t contribute to drowning her Presidency afterwards.

My argument is not an argument against voting, or against voting for Clinton even, if that’s what your preferences or judgment dictate.

Even if a vote for President wasn’t swallowed up in the math of millions of votes, it would still be an impossible existential choice. You simply cannot project the ultimate consequences of such a choice. Even if you were the only one voting, I would not have confidence that you could possibly understand the consequences of your choice.

That doesn’t mean I don’t believe in democracy. I do, very much, as a good (American social) liberal. Mobilizing people behind a political program or candidate can be a vitally important device for coordinating behavior and expectations in a large-scale society. The existential uncertainty problem gets buried under civic ritual and solidarity; it is not about the person of the candidate, so much as the collective exercise of the franchise, which enables elected officials to rely on political solidarity to enable and support necessary political choices made subsequently.

I am arguing it is not good to be herded in this case by these oligarchic shepherds. The oligarchy does not need the “participation of all” to achieve Clinton’s election. They want the “participation of all” to legitimize that election and the policies that follow. They don’t need your vote so much as the pernicious rationalizations and emotional arguments dampening cognitive dissonance and critical assessment.

I am fine with holding your nose and voting for Clinton as the best of a bad lot. I am against not-holding-your-nose and pretending to yourself and others that she doesn’t stink.

If you think voting enthusiastically for Clinton is going to prevent WWIII, you have not been paying enough attention to who Clinton is. (Yeah, yeah, I get it Trump is volatile and in over his head; don’t disagree.) Clinton is the scariest major party candidate since Barry Goldwater. Her belligerence and bad judgment is staggering.

She may well want to go to war or create provocations. Remember, the post-WWII economic and political order is crumbling — that’s a real thing that’s happening and not a choice she makes. This isn’t Reagan in a peaceful world facing a decrepit Soviet Union waiting for Granada to demonstrate his manhood. Clinton will see the U.S. challenged across the globe and China, the next hegemon, in economic turmoil. These are really, really dangerous times and Clinton does not have a record of good or foresightful judgment. She just doesn’t. The Republicans make a scandal out of the wrong accusations, because they are idiots, but that doesn’t redeem her.

If the left feels it has to defend Clinton as a “normal liberal” President, one of their own, I think that may, in the inevitable crises to come, prove to be a major mistake, a trap, as it has been a trap during Obama’s Administration for so many left aspirations. So, vote for her, if you feel that’s best, but please do it with all the enthusiasm you would muster for Tricky Dick Nixon if you can remember him. Because it may not that far in the future when the “participation of all” may well be necessary to stop Clinton from taking us to the apocalypse.

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