Michael Maiello's picture

    This Dumb Election

    This is a dumb election.  It's not because the opponents are the same and it's definitely not Hillary Clinton's fault. It's a dumb election because Donald Trump suffers from the insane delusion that years of high ratings playing a celebrity billionaire villain on reality TV shows means that people like and respect him and so he tried to turn the election into one about the likability of his persona versus the likability of his opponent.

    To give Trump some due here -- this actually worked for him in the Republican primary, as he prevailed over a dozen and a half goofs through the sheer force of his own personality.  But that was in front of an audience that really did like the Trump character of The Apprentice and it was against a large field of mostly weak politicians who fell into Trump's game.

    Hillary Clinton, always the Tracy Enid Flick in the room, was never going to fall for Trump's game.  If Trump chose to run as the powerful, popular, forceful jock, she would stick to her knitting as the woman actually qualified for the job at hand.  It takes bravery to be yourself. She had already lost an election, after all, to a more charismatic opponent.  But Obama is truly likable and Trump is not and Obama could reasonably match Clinton's competence while Trump definitely cannot.

    In a race between a blowhard and a smarty-pants, the blowhard can often control the pace.  Trump has been so out there that he has won pretty much all of the media and public attention.  The race is, in ways unfair to Clinton (though to her practical advantage) a referendum on Trump's mental fitness. That's fine, in so far as my side will wind up winning.

    It's not fine in that it's left us with a dumb election.  A truly dumb election.  We have discussed grabbing pussy, accepting election results, building walls that won't be built and the influence of Vladimir Putin and we have had pretty much no discussion of climate change, LGBT rights, police tactics, bank regulation, $2.2 trillion in US profits tax sheltered overseas, the future NASA or, well, much of anything.

    There is a silver lining, actually, if Democrats win the Senate and it is this -- Clinton hasn't had to triangulate on any issues and so she hasn't staked out any middle ground on, say, banking regulations, that would put her at odds with Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and that means that the left wing of the party could have a clear runway to pursue its agenda. Other Democratic senators, by the way, will likely not stand in the way as the next wave of challenges seems to be from the left.

    Still, a dumb election. We haven't discussed much of, well, anything important.



    Amen, brother. You said it.

    (And yet, it has been exciting, hasn't it? Much more fun than 2012. Did we discuss anything important in 2012? I don't remember. They say Americans have short memories.)

    It may well be that 2012 was just about the issues I pay more attention to, but I remember it being a referendum on Obama's handling of the Financial Crisis and, because of the credit downgrade in 2011, debt management and the sequester.

    Ah, 2012.  Those were the days. Foodies.  The iPhone 4S. Millenials with headphones ignoring you in the office... A simpler, better time.  I'm going to make America 2012 again.

    Trump didn't 'prevail' because of his 'sheer force of his personality'. Trump's personality is execrable.

    Which has only recently become obvious to the Trumpian uninitiated in the nation and the world, but was clear to many women, contractors, investors and suckers fleeced in his various scams.

    Failing to mention race, racism, hate or lies in discussing this election omits the elephant in the room. A very nasty part of this election. A part that objective observers must now see is crystal clear. 

    A large part of the GOP base is not only uninformed, living in a Fox News/hate radio ideological bubble, near imbecilic in conspiracy beliefs, but also angry racists.

    The GOP uses all of these factors to exploit them for votes, and then leaves them high and dry as the GOP cuts taxes on the rich, further widening the nation's wealth inequality.

    Krugman's take on why Trump was nominated from today's NYT:

    Mr. Trump won the nomination because he gave his party’s base what it wanted, channeling the racial antagonism that has been the driving force for Republican electoral success for decades. All he did was say out loud what his rivals were trying to convey with dog whistles, which explains why they were so ineffective in opposing him.

    Very good point

    But actually Trump wasn't the only one - during the Republican primaries, they were *all* letting their hair down more than in past years.

    And as long as they were hanging around the Republican tent, they could all pretend that they were just expressing mainstream opinion - just Donald being more direct than the others, willing to go that extra step. (Though wasn't Fiorina pushing that false abortion video the hardest? These people got problems.)

    Once they got out of the Republican echo chamber, especially getting called "deplorable", some got to self-examine a bit.

    [Pence is a good example of the standard GOP trick of speaking horrid rhetoric in calm boring tones so you almost think he's being adult, reasonable and not hateful. Trump partnering with him and then walking all over his schtick is unusual, just as was calling out George W. Bush for *not* protecting the country when the right had pretended for 15 years that letting 9/11 happen was somehow bold  - probably Donald's better truth-to-power statements were against recent Republican cant, not against Liberalism which tended to just sound typically unhinged and oblivious to any facts]

    Right on MikeM.

    Again, And I keep saying it over and over again, Cruz and Rubio and Walker and so many other repubs would have done much better and then screwed us all. hahahahah

    Bernie kept Hillary honest and what a guy!

    We must check in next week when we have 12 days left.

    But it is looking goooooooooood. I still do not think we can get the House. But damn, a Senate with Kaine presiding will help us a lot.

    Hell, give us one or two more!

    Anyway I am elated that this has so far become a silly election.

    But my ballot is in the mail.


    I appreciate the silver lining you provide.
    You are right. The Republicans have become so policy free in this cycle that there is nothing to compromise with. They ended their nomination process by opening cans of dog food like Gibson did in that Mad Max movie.

    Go, Democratic Senate Majority.

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