Monday, November 7, 2016

3 things: election-eve edition

  • I'm not for either candidate. I think both of them pose serious problems, but I can resign myself to a Clinton presidency. I think the apocalyptic view of her victory on November 8, assiduously promoted by Trump and his apologists, is wildly over-stated. On the other hand, I think the dangers of a Trump presidency are many, not least of which might be that he prospers by divisiveness, hysteria, the promotion of conspiracy theories, and a general coarsening of the national conversation. If such tactics work for him to gain the presidency, he will continue to lean on them while in the White House. Indeed, in many ways he represents everything this country can best do without. 
  • I've never seen an election like this (and I've been following electoral politics since 1968). I suppose all elections reveal the divides within the electorate, but never have those divides seemed so wide, and so potent with antagonism toward those on the other side. It seems a dangerous time in America.
  • American politics is a game that involves aligning enough interest-groups with one candidate so as to constitute a majority of voters. So each candidate plays to some subst of these groups, setting their interests against those of the other candidate's subset, who are then essentially demonized. They are out go get us, so we must stop them. Elect me, the candidate shouts, and I will satisfy your dream of the good life. This system cooperates with and furthers the decline of any sense of a shared narrative within the greater polity. We are nothing but an accumulation of competing subsets, vying with one another for a chance at satisfaction. We have no leaders who do not play this game.

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