Friday, July 01, 2016

The Challenge

As I have noted before, I work in an overwhelmingly liberal environment, and my Christian environment is split between liberals and conservatives. (My denominational environment also has many "not interested in politics" folks.) My closest family is center-right to paranoid conservative, definitely more GOPe than Trump; the next circle out is quite Arts & Humanities liberal.  My closest friends are 80-90% conservative. My FB feed, which includes many people from my early history, is fairly liberal as well.  All this is my data base for the following observation.

Many on the Republican/conservative side deplore the choice between Trump and Clinton. As a consequence, they talk about third-party votes, not voting at all, or calculated voting depending on how close their state is and what the congress looks like it's going to be, to minimise damage to the country. They are clearly conflicted and in pain.  (Yes, they also talk about Trump votes or Clinton votes, and most of them may end up there.  But there is significant conversation about alternatives, calculation, and political theory.)

My contacts on the Democrat/liberal side say they are distressed with how poor the choices are, and how upset they are about Hillary's dishonesty as well as Trump's authoritarianism, etc.* Sigh.  What hard times we live in, they say.  As a consequence, they talk about "how bad Trump is."  There is no mention of third parties, no mention of not voting, no mention of strategic voting on the basis of battleground state, divided congress, etc. This has gone on for months, and I have decided I no longer believe them.  Collectively, that is.  There are a few whose genuineness I do not doubt. Yet I think they are simply fooling themselves.  They are going to vote for the liberal, whoever it is, and if they can't have Bernie they will vote Hillary, with no serious intellectual questioning of themselves. It's all just a pose.  Whether they are trying to convince me or themselves I can't say. But I have heard only one Democrat at work say "I won't vote for Hillary, and I've been a Democrat all my life." None at church or in my larger Christian group are showing any actual signs of anxiety, other than ritual incantations about how bad the candidates are.

So now that we are later in the game I will read motives, though still a bit tentatively.  They deceive themselves.  They are not deeply upset over the choices.  It's business as usual.  It doesn't matter in the least what Hillary Clinton has done, they will vote for her.  The wringing of the hands is all display.

I contend that this is exactly what we see in the national discussion as well.  Where are the George Will's and NRO's and Ted Cruz's among the Democrats who are stepping away? What major media figures on the left are going full-out against Hillary and stating they just can't vote for her because of conscience?

The Challenge:  Provide contrary evidence.

If you cannot, you must ask yourself, not to please me but simply to be an honest person in your own private life, why not?  Who am I, that I cannot?


*I have also contacts on that side who think Clinton is just fine and are going to vote for her unapologetically.  That is a different argument, which I will not enter here.  I will note, however, that those always mention that she is unfairly accused because she is a strong woman, which conservatives cannot abide. A revealing argument.

Update:  This premise isn't holding up well under inspection.  See comments.

18 comments:

Grim said...

I can provide some. I went to a Jill Stein rally just the other night, because the woman herself was in town, and a number of my left-leaning friends were there. I'm pretty sure they're seriously not going to vote for Hillary Clinton -- not for the reasons I'm not going to vote for her, but for good moral reasons.

The D party at the national level is a racket, I mean like racketeering, and the people who are in are in for life. But they depend on a lot of rank and file voters, and some of them are not having it.

And some of those will vote for Trump, not Jill Stein -- especially the ones who are former union.

terri said...

I won't provide evidence. I think you are comparing apples to oranges here. Republicans are upset because so many of them who have been participating in the system for years lost the control they assumed they had over the primary process and wound up with Trump as their candidate. That wouldn't have been the end of the world except for the fact that many of them find Trump repugnant and stupid.

And it isn't just because Trump seems like a buffoon. Trump hasn't laid out any detailed policy plans. He makes outrageous plans about building walls, or trade agreements, or whatever, but doesn't seem to understand the basic process of how that would happen in government. He will say whatever he thinks the group in front of him wants to hear. He attacks fellow party members and doesn't work as part of the Republican team to help out other Republicans.

Republicans invested in the political system would have to vote for someone that they don't trust politically, morally, or personally. Someone who they are not sure is even reliably Republican. That's why they start talking about third parties or changing convention rules. They feel as if they have a nominee that doesn't really represent Republican ideals. His being a buffoon simply makes that worse.

The same thing cannot be said about the democrats. Hillary is not from the outside. She represents traditional Democratic values. She knows how governmental policy works. No one is afraid that if she gets elected she will destroy the Democratic party or cause other Democrats to lose their elections. Many will vote for her even if they don't completely like her because she is at least part of the team.

I think it says something that some Republicans will simply not vote. They would rather throw the election to Democrats than bring themselves to vote for their own party nominee. If you want to start talking about hidden motivations, you could say that they would rather have Hillary than Trump and feel that a Hillary win would still not be as bad as a Trump win.

Edith Hook said...

I know assuming is bad form, but I am guessing that most of your acquaintances are educated and that their employment reflects that education. I am curious to know if they are capable of thinking outside the Republican/Democrat, Right Wing/Left Wing, or Idea/Personality dichotomies. Have they considered that there might be a realignment occurring or any other dynamics at play? Bottom line, the interests and agenda of the political and financial elites are not compatible with the interests of working people.
The middle has just not had a voice.
In any case, the Globalists and the Financialists are the political paymasters and dominate the political discourse. They do appear to have coopted both parties. It is rather daunting to mount a campaign for high office without their financial support. Then along came Sanders and Trump. Trump gamed the media and self funded. I think a lot of his supporters are perfectly well aware that his campaign has been cringeworthy but he is the only game in town for the put upon middle.

Edith Hook said...

If ya vote for the machine, ya deserve to be screwed cause yus is a chump and that’s what chumps is for.
To quote myself: Being 4th generation Chicago, I was born knowing that government is a form of racketeering, albeit sanctioned and necessary. It always has been, from the time that the first prehistoric elders cajoled/coerced the first chumps to build the first stick stockade to keep the live stock in and the two legged and four legged predators out. Add graft, nepotism, protection rackets, featherbedding, and voila, you have Chicago, but, of course corruption is not at all unique to Chicago; it’s part of the human condition. The founders realized this of course and tried to mitigate it with checks and balances, separation of powers, and decentralization. In the US, we managed to keep corruption down to a dull roar, at least enough so as to not crush the commercial private sector, which depends, on stable currency and enforcement of contracts, a somewhat level playing field, some agreement on standards and measurements, financial infrastructure, and some relief from the significant criminal class ……. I recall the names and faces of the Chicago pols of my childhood, and though they were cynical, sneaky and self serving, yes; they were not nearly as perverse, malignant or greedy, as today’s coiffed, and credentialed suits. They mostly knew better than to kill the golden goose, or eat the seed corn, or kr@p in their own nest; survival imperatives, No? Certainly, they weren’t taken in by silly, fantastical, utopianist malarkey, though they might use it to con the saps.

Zachriel said...

"Vote for the crook. It's important."

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Excellent points. I think my premise is going down in flames. I will not take it down or modify it, however, other than to note that weaknesses have been discovered. I think it should stand as a testament to what irritation and overpersonalised sample sets can do.

Earl Wajenberg said...

I second terri here. The Democratic party machinery does not, itself, run democratically. (Neither does the Republican, but that generates no name-based irony.) Democrats are quite unhappy about that. But they are not as unhappy as the Republicans.

"If you want to start talking about hidden motivations, you could say that they would rather have Hillary than Trump and feel that a Hillary win would still not be as bad as a Trump win."

Then there's P. J. O'Rourke, who isn't hiding his motivations at all -
"I’m voting for Hillary, and all her lies and all her empty promises. It's the second worst thing that can happen to this country. But she’s way behind in second place. I mean, she’s wrong about absolutely everything, but she’s wrong within normal parameters. I mean, this man just can’t be president. They’ve got this button, you know, in the briefcase. He’s going to find it."

Boxty said...

Terri,

I doubt that more than 1% of the people demanding detailed policy proposals from Trump have required the same from any other candidate they voted for. It's just posturing.

Regardless, Trump has released detailed policy proposals on the economy, national security, and foreign relations. You can watch the speeches he gave to coincide with the release of those policy papers on Youtube. I learned about them from Breitbart first but also saw them mentioned on Fox News and Reddit of all places. So you would have to be very disengaged from the news or not serious about wanting that info to have missed them.

Boxty said...

Terri,

I doubt that more than 1% of the people demanding detailed policy proposals from Trump have required the same from any other candidate they voted for. It's just posturing.

Regardless, Trump has released detailed policy proposals on the economy, national security, and foreign relations. You can watch the speeches he gave to coincide with the release of those policy papers on Youtube. I learned about them from Breitbart first but also saw them mentioned on Fox News and Reddit of all places. So you would have to be very disengaged from the news or not serious about wanting that info to have missed them.

GraniteDad said...

Boxty, I can't speak to percentages, but I can speak for myself. I am interested in policy positions I can review, not because I necessarily think the candidate will accomplish them, but because I'm interested to see how they approach these topics.

Please don't pretend that Trump has strong policy positions he has released. His team certainly has, but he has spoken against some of those same policy positions, even very quickly after his team put them out. For instance- http://www.redstate.com/streiff/2016/05/05/breaking.-donald-trump-renounces-tax-plan/

Trump is a con man, enriching his own companies from his campaign coffers. He cares about himself. I don't give people credit for policy positions they release but don't hold themselves.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Interesting. I never even considered that a policy position might not be known by the candidate.

james said...

"Did you ever hear such innocent prattle?" said its father. And one person whispered to another what the child had said, "He hasn't anything on. A child says he hasn't anything on."

"But he hasn't got anything on!" the whole town cried out at last.

The Emperor shivered, for he suspected they were right. But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all.


Maybe Trump is like the little child, announcing what nobody else dared to. I'm not sure I care to appoint the child as the new Emperor, though I'm certain the existing crew and their designated heirs need to go.

GraniteDad said...

James, I now have a mental image of Trump parading around naked, thanks a lot...

Edith Hook said...

Sheesh, I must live in a bubble of my own. But, first, full disclosure. I am not a fan of people who write or regurgitate white papers, if that's all they bring.
I have to admit, I just assumed the political policy papers were written by consultants, spin doctors, and tried out on focus groups.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

@Edith Hook - you are right, of course. Obama can't string sentences together on his own and even Hillary, who can at least accomplish the task, isn't great at it. Policy statements are always written by others. But I expect at least some overlap, and that the candidate does not contradict the people he hired.

@ James - pay no attention to Granite Dad. The analogy is apt. Trump is the child who dared announce that the emperor has no clothes, and that is a valuable thing. Yet it does not qualify the child to be the new emperor.

Though I have to admit, CS Lewis seemed to think it might be just enough. But Peter was quite hesitant and humble about his ability to rule.

Edith Hook said...

Oops, that was not where I was going, AVI. Even if they were glib, I would be unmoved. In fact, I'd be leery. I'm looking for people who have been doers not just wonks, people who have had hands on, in the trenches experience and perspective. And to repeat myself, people who have spent their lives at the public trough are rarely my first choice.
I'm reminded of a comment by Anglelyne

I dunno. Western Europe has much "better" politicians, in terms of "professional" presentation, public-speaking skill, and keeping up a pretense of "substance" ("being the adult in the room" ha ha ha) but they're screwing up their countries even worse and faster than our clown club is managing to screw up ours.

Grim said...

It's such a shame that the officers I knew in Iraq, who rebuilt much of that country while stopping a war, have not chosen to stand for office. I can't blame them, of course. I don't stand for office either. No sane person would want to be part of the mess that has been made in DC. But that leaves us with people who aren't fully sane, in the sense of 'healthy.'

dmoelling said...

The times are very similar to the pre-civil war period with a string of mediocre to bad presidents (alleviated only by their bad health). The country was struggling with both slavery and with normal economic and civic strife (as well as large immigration). The extreme division and distrust today are very similar to the 1840's and 50s. Only when the issues became more clarified did better candidates appear to respond to the public demand.

AVI, you are correct that many republicans are going to not vote for Trump out of the sense that he is unqualified in so many ways, and that he does not stand for the general principles of the party (even if those principles are often forgotten by current officeholders). The Democrats are not happy with Hillary but have long ago learned that they cannot deviate much from the now ascendant progressive line. Both are backward looking, which is not conservative. Hillary looks back to Bill's era to be sure but also to LBJ. Trump, is more Hoover without Hoover's intelligence and courage.