2016, Politics, Society

Well that was Stupid

Regardless of how you feel about last night’s US general election, why did that take 18 months? Why does it take 18 months to make a decision about who should be president? 18 months! This is not normal. No other democracy in the world takes this long to pick its head of state. None. This is abnormal. Until Americans realize this en masse, it’s safe to say meaningful electoral reform will not occur.

It’s incredible to me that the undecided voters that swung the election to Trump in the last hours took 18 months to figure out whether they preferred him to Clinton. Why was this even a choice? It’s bizarre. What’s also bizarre is that, had this election occurred on a different date in the last 18 months, somebody else would have won the election. That shouldn’t feel good. That’s crazy. There was a clear choice. The fact that some people couldn’t make up their minds is a really interesting question for history.

Some other stray thoughts about last night:

  • Polling is not an exact science.
  • The urban liberal elites in the US need to understand that they cannot ignore the “fly over” states and counties. These people matter too and when they’re ignored or when they feel slighted, they will eventually let you know.
  • Ironies of ironies: an electoral system designed to prevent a populist from winning enabled a populist to win without the popular vote. So, if we didn’t think the Electoral College system was broken before…
  • This is at least the second time that a moderate Democrat has won the popular vote but lost the electoral college to a more radical Republican (albeit with a different radicalism).
  • In 2000, I argued that voting my conscience (had I claimed my US citizenship) was more important than helping perpetuate the US political system, and that the Democrats and Republicans were materially the same. That turned out to be completely wrong: though Gore might have invaded Afghanistan he would not have invaded Iraq and no Iraq invasion means not only no Iraq war but no ISIS. Nader voters voting for Gore would have likely prevented ISIS. I learned my lesson (I hope). I’m not sure anyone who voted for Johnson has learned the same one.
  • The US television news media enabled Donald Trump more than any other presidential candidate in my lifetime. I’m usually very wary of “the media causes…” arguments, but I think in this case there is strong evidence to suggest that Trump may not have been the Republican nominee without the slew of coverage he got and likely would not have won the presidency had the media not decided to morally equate fraud and the bribing of elected officials with using a private email server. It’s unlikely too many people will acknowledge this complicity, but ratings had a really big role to play in this election.
  • I have no idea what the next four years will look like, because I don’t know what Trump is going to do, because I’m not sure he knows what he is going to do. But if the US is in better financial/political shape in four years, I’ll print this off and eat it.

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