The Last Debate

At this point, I am left feeling like I get why people can’t vote for Clinton. But my god, I don’t understand who is left who can vote for Trump. It boggles my mind. It requires such self-delusion and an utter unwillingness to engage with reality. I mean, he can’t even speak in full, coherent sentences. Forget who he’s running against, just the fact that he’s running makes me feel like our country is off the rails.

But one thing I noticed is that he did appear to be trying to make the arguments liberals usually have the most trouble refuting. I think he did kind of prepare for this debate. But the trouble with him is that, I think, someone gave him that list of arguments and he studied them, but he doesn’t understand why they’re compelling. He’s just been told they’re compelling and he believes it.

As terrifying as this is, in a lot of ways it kind of reminds me of Campfield (and maybe Durham), where it’s easy to imagine how unstoppable they’d be if they could just hold their shit together, but we really dodged a bullet because they couldn’t hold their shit together.

But, and I guess this is obvious, someone with these same ideas is going to figure out how to appear smart and thoughtful and not dangerous. If these are test runs for how to popularize and normalize this stuff, well, this test run is really close to winning the White House.

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3 thoughts on “The Last Debate

  1. Re: the undecided

    Remember, it’s not just a decision between “do I vote for Trump?” and “do I vote for Hillary?” There’s also “do I vote?” Every election, an awful lot of registered voters in this country ultimately decide to skip it altogether, and I suspect those folks are among the ones who poll as undecided.

  2. I remember in 2008 getting a lot of flak over how I could consider voting for a third-party candidate. It’s quite simple really. I voted for who I perceived to be the candidate on the ballot who would make what I thought would make the best use of the office compared to the other choices available.

    Making good use of the office doesn’t just mean, “Do I think they’ll do things I think they should?”

    It also includes, “How qualified do I think they are to execute the office in question? Do they seem able to do the job? Are they showing they understand the job? Do they understand the limitations on the office, or are they promising things that office doesn’t give them powers to do? What do they have in the way of experience that convinces me they are qualified to do the job?”

    It also includes, “Given their history in other jobs, what does it seem *likely* they would do with this office if they had it?”

    That last one is a biggie. The most solid indicator of what someone will do in elected office is to look at what they have done in elected office in the past. I avoid campaign speeches and propaganda as much as possible, because those are an exercise in distracting the voters away from all the above questions, including the vital question of voting record / record in office.

    So in 2008 I had endless people saying, “But what about issue X? Or Y? Or Z? Don’t you care about issues X and Y and Z?” with me replying, “Indeed I do, which is why I am voting for the candidate with the best voting record on issues X and Y and Z.” Wow, that made people angry — I was supposed to listen to the hype, not look at actual voting records.

    I started saying, “Okay, if you care so much about X and Y and Z, by my analysis you will vote for the same candidate I do — don’t take my word for it either; look up the records and come to your own conclusion.”

    Then they’d tell me I can’t vote for a third-party candidate, because that vote is “wasted”. And I’d basically say I’m investing in the hope that someday more voters will do that kind of analysis and vote for who actually has a strong record on their interests.

    Because the other option is what most people seem to be doing, which is trying to defeat the candidate they despise most, which I lost stomach for. No one is required to agree with me though — that’s why we each get a vote.

    Or there’s the not voting thing, which I don’t want to do either.

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