[ Wednesday, November 09, 2016 ]



A friend emailed from Florida asking what I thought about the election.  Here's my hot take.

Surprised but not surprised.  Do you read Scott Adams?  He writes the Dilbert cartoon.  He’s been saying all along that Trump would win just because Trump is a master of persuasion.  Read his post from yesterday on confirmation bias and you’ll see what he’s up to.  If you have time, it would be very interesting to go back and read what he wrote back at the beginning. I said early that there’s no way Trump can win.  I knew he’d have popularity as a protest vote, an “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” vote.  People in early primaries would vent their spleens and he’d poll well, drawing a couple second place finishes as the herd got thinned.  Then folks would get serious, realize that burning down the house is not the way to get rid of the cockroach infestation, no matter how bad it might be.  He’d start losing, make a noisy exit, and build on the free publicity for his next reality TV show.  But as it progressed, and he stayed in, and kept winning, and took the lead, I threw my hands up and said whatever I’ve thought all along has been wrong all along: I know in my brain that it’s impossible for Trump to win, so he’s going to win.  I can’t explain it; nobody can; it’s like the EM Drive: it violates the laws of physics, but it’s real and it works. 

I kept that as my mantra from the latter parts of the primary season throughout the entire election season until about a week ago, when I finally faced reality and said there’s no way.  I can’t deny the ultimate truth: despite being the worst, most crooked, lamest, least likeable presidential candidate in history (Nixon and LBJ may have been a little less likeable, but she leads so far in all other categories that she’s cumulatively way out in front of them), Hillary was still going to beat the least prepared, most ridiculous candidate on a non-fringe party ticket in at least my lifetime.  Ultimately, the Democrat machine would beat the MAGA crowd: the Philly transit strike was ended, mail-in ballots in Colorado and Nevada were stacking up in some of the greatest voter fraud efforts ever, and the press was relentlessly encouraging the flyover rubes to stay home in droves.  It was gonna be relatively close, but the Never-Trumpers would outweigh the hold-your-nose, vote-for-the-orangutan-its-important voters, and Hillary and all her baggage would end up in the White House, where she could use the levers of government to prevent her criminal enterprises from taking her down.  There would be an exceedingly strong push to impeach her, and the House might eventually even do so, but the Senate Dems, having already sold their souls, would have no problem finding that being caught red-handed committing a felony (not just a felony, but a felony involving the loss of State Secrets, death of diplomats and HumInt assets, and the sale of government favors to Arab dictators) isn’t enough to impeach, as long as the target is someone on your team.

Maybe I needed to return to my certainty for it to happen; maybe, like Charley Brown and the football, it’s only once I truly believe my eyes that I get to learn that I was wrong again.  But sure enough, as soon as I stopped believing Trump would actually win despite the facts in front of my face, he won despite the facts in front of my face.


If Trump had lost, the next candidate would be much worse than Trump.  Keep in mind how we got here.  In response to government overreach (specifically the Stimulus Bill, doubled-down on by Obamacare) the Tea Party rose as an absolutely true grass-roots political movement.  No leader, no spokesman, no organizer.  It was respectful and polite, it cleaned up after its rallies, and it gave voice to a lot of people who really (and legitimately, and rightly) felt that government was not only not listening to them, but was actively and arrogantly going in the opposite direction.  And what was the response to the Tea Party?  They were vilified as racists and fascists, not only by the Democrats and the press (he said, repeating himself), but by the Republican establishment (GOPe) itself.  And despite the Tea Party delivering huge Republican victories in 2010 and 2012, the GOPe marginalized them and worked against them, continuing to work for larger government (or at least not fighting against it, such as by passing continuing resolutions that continued the growth of the State).  The Democrats in particular, but also the mainstream media, the entertainment industry, even the GOPe, dismissed them as ignorant fly-over rubes.  Being resented by your superiors is one thing, but being resented by those you consider incompetent, being told that you and all your friends are racists and fascists, at some point you fight back.  The Tea Party was the polite, “ahem, excuse me” movement; Trump is the “hey, I’m talking here!” movement.  Unless the political class took the moment to acknowledge the gulf and actively reach out to the disaffected, the next movement would have been a punch.  And there is NO WAY IN HELL that they were going to reach out.  The smug, arrogant, narcissism on the Left would not have been conciliatory, but would’ve been as condescending as ever (they’d have to be, that’s the only way you can defend against the absolute truth that Hillary is a felon and if you’re a Clinton or Obama, the laws are for the little people), and the third wave would have been a bad tsunami for our country.  If you think Obama’s “I won” attitude was off-putting, wait until you get to hear it from someone with much less charm than Obama, like Hillary. 

Our betters in the Democratic party, academia, the media, and the entertainment industry should learn a lesson from this, but they won’t. They are entirely bought into their perception that the only way you could be opposed to Hillary is if you are a racist or sexist (or both).  Here’s the Slate homepage on the day after the election:

If you voted for Trump, you are a white supremacist, misogynist, anti-democratic, anti-gay, anti-semitic hater.  That’s just one page.  Do you think the people who voted for Trump, faced with this attack/accusation, will look deep into their souls, and look at their Trump-voting peers, acknowledge their guilt and change their ways?  Or will they say, “no, I’m not, and I know I’m not, and I know my friends aren’t, . . . ” and no longer listen to said Democrats, academia, media, and press?  My youngest looked at the front page of today’s paper and said, “We should keep this, it’s a historic day and this might be valuable in the future.”  I agreed, not so much because of Trump, but because it might be the signal of the end of newspapers themselves: the press’ self-beclowning becomes suicide.  This is a shameful day for the media, although obviously they (at least those at Slate) don’t see it this way.  Unless they figure that out, and figure out why they don’t know the country they think they have the pulse of, they will be done.  They have no factual authority any more, and they have squandered their moral authority, and there are too many other ways/places to get information.  You can only tell your target audience that they are stupid, racist, fascists rubes for so long before they go away. . . .

Ever heard of the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect?  Once you begin to realize that the media is lying about you, you begin to realize that the rest of what it’s saying may be lies as well.  Less power to the media.

So, Trump-administration-wise, what do I think will happen?  Ultimately, I don’t think it will be too bad.  First, unlike Hillary, if Trump tries to do something stupid, the Republicans in Congress will stop him.  Keep in mind, he’s not a Republican; he contributed to Hillary’s campaign against Obama in 2008, and has always aligned with Democrat (statist) policies until he decided to run for President.  He does not have that many genuine Republican ideas (enforcing existing immigration laws is not the same thing as building a wall), and his trade policies are closer to Bernie Sanders than Ted Cruz.  But if he goes too far, the Republicans in Congress will keep him in check.  That would not have been true of the Democrats; like they did in 2009, they would have taken legislation to the last inch they could get, and would support any bad idea Clinton came up with (hey, they might get the Vince Foster treatment if they didn’t; you don’t want a naked Rahm Emanuel coming after you).  That actually was sufficient reason to hold your nose and vote for Trump, especially if the Democrats were going to win the Senate.  As I noted on Twitter a few days ago:

Secondly, Trump has not expressed much in the way of policy specifics.  There’s too much out there to bite off all at once, or perhaps even at all, for one iconoclast.  I suspect whatever policies he does come up with won’t be bold or far-reaching.  Sure, he said he’ll Build The Wall, but Obama said he’d close Gitmo.  How’d that work out?  And Obama really, really, really wanted/wants to close Gitmo.  I don’t think Trump really cares about the Wall, it was only red meat to his audience.  The other stuff he’s likely to do will be a ratcheting back of the regulatory machine, which is actually an absolute must to regenerate legitimate and deep-reaching economic recovery.  I don’t think he’ll even “repeal” Obamacare, although it will be substantially dismantled (more “amend and restate” than “repeal and replace”).  But in fact, nobody knows.  We are in entirely unknown territory now.

Trade may be an area where he really does something, but like with the Wall, I think his rhetoric was “boob bait for Bubbas” and what he actually does will be much less dramatic.  Also, remember that while he was pontificating about the Wall (“just got 10 feet higher,” “I’ll make Mexico pay for it”), he still went and had a completely civil meeting with the President of Mexico.  He seems to know when to say outrageous things and when not to.  That being said, he’ll have to do something splashy regarding trade.  Maybe that will work out (probably not).

Jeff [1:23 PM]

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