Too Close for Comfort

Posted: November 2, 2016 in Debate, Idle Nonsense, Industrial Collapse, Politics
Tags: , , ,

Predictions are fool’s errands. Useful ones, anyway. The future branches in so many possible directions that truly reliable predictions are banal, such as the sun will rise in the east, death, and taxes. (NTE is arguably another term for megadeath, but I gotta reinforce that prediction to keep my doomer bonafides.) Now only a few days prior to the general election finds me anxious that the presidential race is still too close to call. More than a few pundits say that Donald Trump could actually win. At the same time, a Hillary Clinton win gives me no added comfort, really. Moreover, potential squabbles over the outcome threaten to turn the streets into riot zones. I had rather expected such disruptions during or after the two nominating conventions, but they settled on their presumptive nominees without drama.

Polls are often predictive, of course, and despite their acknowledged margins of error, they typically forecast results with enough confidence that many voters don’t bother to vote, safe in the assumption that predicted results (an obvious oxymoron) make moot the need to actually cast one’s vote. (The West Coast must experience this phenomenon more egregiously than the East Coast, except perhaps for California’s rather large population and voting power. Has Hawaii ever mattered?) For that reason alone, I’d like to see a blackout on polling in the weeks leading up to an election (2–3 ought to do), including election day. This would allow us to avoid repeating the experience of the Chicago Daily Tribune publishing the headline “Dewey Defeats Truman” back in 1948.

Analysis of voting patterns and results also dissuades voters from considering anything other than a strategic vote for someone able to actually win, as opposed to supporting worthy candidates polling far enough behind they don’t stand a chance of winning, thus reinforcing a two-party system no one really likes because it keeps delivering supremely lousy candidates. Jesse Ventura, having defied the polls and been elected to office as an independent, has been straightforward about his disdain for the notion that voting outside the two main parties is tantamount to throwing away one’s vote. A related meme is that by voting for independent Ralph Nader in 2000, the Democratic vote was effectively split, handing the win (extraordinarily close and contestable though it was) to George Bush. My thinking aligns with Jesse Ventura, not with those who view votes for Ralph Nader as betrayals.

If the presidential race is still too close for comfort, Michael Moore offers a thoughtful explanation how Trump could win:

This excerpt from Moore’s new film TrumpLand has been taken out of context by many pro-Trump ideologues. I admit the first time I saw it I was unsure whether Moore supports Trump. Additional remarks elsewhere indicate that he does not. The spooky thing is that as emotional appeals go, it’s clear that Trump connects with the people powerfully. But Moore is right about another thing: to vote for Trump is really a giant “fuck you” to the establishment, which won’t end well.

  1. I’ve been struck by the feebleness of our democracy this go-round. Not just the candidate supported by the financial elites and the military establishment or the clown demagogue. But the paucity of choices and what is asked of us as citizens. My early vote consisted of a choice of the above and alternates, an entrenched incumbent in the US House, an unopposed state senate and house, and… nothing else. So meager as to be a somewhat meaningless exercise when one considers the issues that face our country, our species, our planet.

    BTW Speaking of “Dewey Defeats Truman”. After going to bed at the conclusion of the top of the ninth, I expected to read the headline this morning, “Indians Beat Cubs”. I had to check a couple of sources before “I believed”.

    • Brutus says:

      Feebleness of democracy and paucity of choices indeed. The call to service felt by earlier generations is still felt by some who join the military, but elected office these days seems more like a call to feed (gluttonously) at the public trough. And it comes with considerable downsides, such as the gladiatorial slugfest campaigns have become. It may be that few worthy candidates appear because those we might want to elect refuse to make themselves vulnerable to the many corruptions of office seeking. Who can say?

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