Wednesday, November 23, 2016

election 2016: one further thought

There were two things I've said with assurance for years, two axioms that I was always repeating, but which I somehow managed to forget over the course of the past year or so.

1. Hillary Clinton will never gain the presidency because of her "baggage."

2. Elections are always pendular.

I'm kicking myself, now, for not having listened to the Kevin of Christmases Past. The notion that Hillary has baggage has proven truer than ever this time around. Granted, it took some immense dumping from WikiLeaks and some persuader-speak from the Donald (all that "Crooked Hillary" rhetoric) to get this baggage to have impact, but the fact remains that the baggage was there all along. How did I forget this?

The pendular nature of elections is also something I've blogged about before. When George W. Bush won, I pissed off some liberal commenters by noting, like a Taoist talking about the world's cycles, that his arrival on the scene was inevitable and predictable, but that the haters couldn't or wouldn't see it coming. A few days ago, a YouTube clip of Bill Burr's podcast went up, and while I don't agree with everything Burr said, he too noted the cyclical nature of elections: Trump is the outgrowth of eight years of Barack Obama; Obama was the outgrowth of eight years of Bush; Bush was the outgrowth of eight years of Clinton; Clinton was the outgrowth of twelve years of Reagan + GHW Bush. Eight years, twelve years—it doesn't matter. At some point, the popular mandate will end, so sometime within a decade, we'll most likely be back to Democrat rule, having collectively gotten sick of the status quo.

One question that comes from this election, however, is whether paradigms have shifted to such an extent that predictions, like mine above, are invalidated. If we grant (1) Scott Adams's claim that Trump is a "Master Persuader," and (2) various pundits' contentions that Trump is the first truly plugged-in internet president,* and (3) the increasingly prevalent notion that we're now in the age of nationalism versus globalism as opposed to the old left/right, lib/con dichotomies, then perhaps 2016 signals the beginning of the Era of Anything Goes.

I still have no clear read on how deeply the old paradigms have been sundered. Then again, as my blogging over the past year should make obvious, I'm not the right thinker to analyze and judge any of this. All I can do is observe, speculate, and get a lot of things wrong. Meanwhile, I'll continue my new policy of ignoring mainstream "legacy" media (which seems not to have learned its lesson and is continuing in the same vein as if a table-tossing election hadn't just occurred) in favor of more ragtag, feet-on-the-ground sources. Oh, and I'll start listening to the wisdom of my younger self again.

*Trump's recent two-and-a-half-minute video about his plans for the first hundred days—I actually sat through the whole thing—bypassed the legacy media and went straight to YouTube, thus evoking Rooseveltian "fireside chats" and boding ill for press conferences, especially given Trump's already-fraught relationship with the press.

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