Monday, October 10, 2016

what's exciting about this election

Given the nature of the American two-party system,* the runup to every presidential election is a clash of worldviews. But this year, the clash has gained a specificity and an urgency that are hard to ignore. Predictions from both sides of the aisle are being put forward with near-religious conviction. On one side, you've got people like Scott Adams, who is convinced that, not only will Trump win, but he'll win in a landslide—a conviction that is utterly unsupported by poll-aggregators like 538 and RCP. On the other side, you've got leftie tweeters like Jon Lovett (90,000 followers—not exactly a small voice in the Tweetosphere), who writes, in reference to the second presidential debate, "This is the worst thing to happen to Donald Trump since the time he spent his whole life being a horrible human being," and, "If this night is reassuring GOP leaders, they are delusional. That. Was. A. Bloodbath."

Supposedly, the people from both sides of the aisle are looking at the same video, audio, and transcript evidence, yet they come away interpreting that evidence in such wildly different ways that a detached observer can't help but conclude that either (1) some extremely strong reality-distortion filters are in place, or (2) one side has an accurate grasp of reality while the other is utterly—as Lovett puts it—delusional.

So November 8 will be the day we find out who's right, and that's exciting. Who does have the better grasp of what's going on? Who has the superior understanding of human mass psychology? Personally, I still can't call this race. The poll-aggregators say one thing in favor of Hillary Clinton, and they say it with a conviction rooted in mathematical obviousness; the "wizards," meanwhile, point to subtle factors that the polls aren't considering—unquantifiable traits like persuasiveness, or occult factors like "the shy Tory," i.e., the person who will quietly vote for Trump but who won't admit his vote out loud. Poll-wise, the numbers tell the story of an imminent Hillary victory. But the wizards have evidence for their side, too: this article, for example, is a caution against believing your own Twitter feed: many Republican leaders might be abandoning Trump, but the base—the voters who count—strongly feel it's necessary to abandon "NeverTrumpism" and stand by the GOP candidate.

Which worldview will prevail? Whose interpretation of events is superior, being rooted in reality, and whose is merely built upon wishful thinking? In less than a month, we're all going to find out. I wonder if there'll be riots.



*Yeah, yeah—some folks say that it's really a rigged one-party system, with Democrats and Republicans both cynically on board the globalist machine, in contrast to Trump and spirit-of-Brexit nationalism. Still, bear with me: the left/right distinction remains relevant.



6 comments:

King Baeksu said...

The magick memeing of the second debate has already commenced.

I expect that moment to pick up at least a few million more African-American voters alone. As I have argued before, Trump understands online virality on a far deeper level than his out-of-date opponent, and rough meme magick beats out slick corporate propaganda every time.

When I told a Korean female friend in her forties that Trump promised during the debate to put Krooked Killary in jail if elected, she literally threw her head back in loud laughter. And she's a liberal, to boot. That's meme magick in action, and the French have a word to explain its appeal: jouissance. Does propaganda generate the same buzzy feeling? Don't think so!

This will be the diss heard 'round the world, of that I am certain.

King Baeksu said...

"Supposedly, the people from both sides of the aisle are looking at the same video, audio, and transcript evidence, yet they come away interpreting that evidence in such wildly different ways that a detached observer can't help but conclude that either (1) some extremely strong reality-distortion filters are in place, or (2) one side has an accurate grasp of reality while the other is utterly—as Lovett puts it—delusional."

The clash of worldviews can be summed up thusly.

King Baeksu said...

For all the beta boys and cat ladies in the house.

King Baeksu said...

The nuclear option is about to be deployed:

https://twitter.com/JamesOKeefeIII/status/785573385308962818

This is going to be freaking awesome.

John John McCrarey said...

Ex-wife #3 was ranting on FB about how awful Trump was for the things he said years ago. One commenter pointed out that Hillary had trashed the reputations of the women Bill had abused. The ex responded:

"They deserved it".

I noted that was far, far worse than anything Trump said about women. But the larger point here is that nothing is ever going to change the mind of someone who thinks that way. Which is why I have almost entirely disengaged from political discussions. There is just no point.

Kevin Kim said...

John,

I sympathize. At a guess, the intense interest in this election has people buzzing more than usual. Donald Trump has upset a lot of carts this year, and he keeps defying expectations. Much political wisdom is being rewritten as I type this, and that's probably what's most upsetting for people: like being in an earthquake, it sucks when you can no longer trust the formerly solid ground. Conventional wisdom and conventional metrics for predicting outcomes are failing everywhere. What seemed firm and reliable no longer is.