All through October people were saying they wanted the damn election to be over. I don’t think they did. It seems to be going on and on with little regard for the idea that we have done this 58 times, each with the same result: somebody won and somebody lost.
It is fashionable to search for great truths and even more fashionable to label them so. I suspect most of those truths are convenient more than they are great, to say nothing of being self-serving.
There will be no great truths here; just a few things I have observed in the last couple of weeks that you might find interesting. Each gets its own little paragraph and, if there is a discernable order, it is lost on me.
I’d love to hear your election reflections too. Please share them in the comments.
What made you think “hmmmm…?”
Millennials are among those said to be saddened by Trump’s win and Hillary’s loss. They are scorned for many things but a lifetime of participation trophies is high on the list. Wait, millennials did not create participation trophies. Their parents did.
Futilism, neo-liberalism, Trumpism, neo-feudalism, fascism… and blah blah blah. I am worn down by “ism ism” and especially worn out by neo-something-dredged-from-the-past ism. Sometimes I fear I have lost the will to live. The first “ism” in a story triggers scan mode and the second sends me to the delete key.
Some people don’t like monitoring and spying especially on themselves. Many people love the technologies developed by Silicon Valley. Yet the spies could not function without those technologies and there is a significant dependency the one on the other.
44% of voters were angry. 28% were anxious. Eight percent were both.
Parties have lost the ability to sponge up little groups and absorb them into their coalitions. Each little group demands absolute purity to whatever they think is both important and right. The other day I went to a coffee shop that had an especially wide array of choices. I made one and was then asked if I was right- or left-handed. They had differently shaped cups to enhance my enjoyment. Can right- and left-handed coffee drinkers be fused into a single party?
The Congress looks like a Parliament with a government party and an opposition party. Tip O’Neill said, “All politics is local.” Maybe not anymore? It is pretty much tribal. There used to be a substantial overlap between the most conservative Democrat and the most liberal Republican. All Democrats are now to the left of all Republicans and vice versa. The overlap that used to exist has been replaced by a widening gap between the two parties.
The largest group by party preference is independents and they are not permitted to vote in primaries so they have no voice in choosing the eventual candidates. The largest group of voters is non-voters – those registered who did not turn up. Eight of 10 voters were repulsed by the election. Liberals and conservatives have passion; moderates have lives.
Campaign finance reform has reduced the power of the parties and the candidates themselves. Outside groups have more power and are, at least theoretically, not even allowed to communicate with the candidates. Every time Congress tries to fix politics, it makes it worse.
For the party pros, everything – money, ground game, endorsements, celebrities, advertising, party unity — went wrong with the election. None of them worked. They believed their own magical thinking.
There is one Supreme Court vacancy and three more justices with an average age of 80, by which time most Justices depart. Merrick Garland’s nomination is dead. All the Justices went to Harvard or Yale Law School. Six (now five with Scalia’s death) are Catholic and three are Jewish. Four of five New York City boroughs are represented. A WASP from Staten Island who went to Columbia would constitute diversity. The Senate’s “advise and consent” role has turned into “search and destroy.”
A Trump win was supposed to tank the market. It didn’t.
The most important election of your life rarely is. Those to whom it is the most important are generally getting paid to make you think so.
The major Washington lobbying firms are supposed to be oh-so-savvy yet they did all of their hiring in anticipation of a Clinton win and now they are stuck with highly paid people who have even less than no access.
A propos of access, broadcasters who have readily identifiable audiences are especially eager to stay firmly attached to their perches as the spokespeople for their groups. “You can’t get to my group except through me” seems to be a reliable moneymaker. They get especially defensive if their roles are threatened. Needless to say they favor ever more segmenting especially of their target audience. They are the valves on the pipeline.
Remember political advertisements in newspapers? You did not see many of those this year. Watch for television to follow newspapers into oblivion because it does not deliver nearly as effectively as social media or better still free media. Except in one respect: the commissions paid to the campaign consultants are higher for TV — substantially higher.
What made you think “hmmmm…?”