Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Catastrophe

I am so stunned I can barely formulate a thought.  The last time I felt this way was in 2000 when George Bush Jr. beat Al Gore.  Back then I thought to myself: well, maybe it won't be so bad.  And I was right.  It wasn't that bad.  It was worse.  Much, much worse.

On the plus side, it's kind of good to know that the people can still stick it to the elites when they put their minds to it.  But oh my God, Trump?  Trump???

I also find myself clinging to one other glimmer of hope: now that the Republicans control all three branches of government they will not be able to blame the coming catastrophe on the democrats.  (Well, OK, they will still blame the Democrats.  But maybe people will stop believing them.)  So even though the Republican party emerged victorious tonight, maybe it will not rise from the ashes when this train wreck ultimately plays itself out.  (But who the hell knows where all the horcruxes are hidden.)

If you are a young person who voted for Trump as a protest vote I pity you, because Donald Trump and his cronies are about to take our last hope of averting a global climate catastrophe and flush it down his gold-plated toilet.

Brace yourselves, folks.  There are very dark days ahead.

2 comments:

Don Geddis said...

Your middle paragraph there may be the key: the ability to assign credit and/or blame. Your hero David Deutsch has written about this advantage of the US political system, over the more common parliamentary systems used elsewhere in the world. Namely, that the US allows specific political philosophies the opportunity to actually implement their ideas, so that political experiments can be run. The result is, that the public actually has a chance to learn something about the real effects of policies. And thus, just maybe, improve over time.

The political systems where everybody shares proportional power seem, at first glance, to be "more fair". But the long-run truth seems to be that it is always plausible to excuse failure as caused by the opposition, so nobody needs to take credible responsibility for their own failures.

In this case, with the Presidency, Senate, and the House at the same time, the GOP will have an opportunity to implement their vision of governance. But that also means that the citizens have an opportunity to learn how these choices really play out, rather than constantly arguing about what otherwise might have been.

Tim Mead said...

In theory this could be true, but unlike most experiments, political policies are not generally evaluated by uniform success metrics or agreed upon methods to perform cause and effect analysis on their results. In reality, the complexity, time-frames and (thanks to a dis-aggregated and incompetent media) environment of factual ambiguity through which policy creation and implementation occur, also permits the plausible assignment of policy failure blame to the opposition party; or any other suitable scapegoat. Moreover, the asymmetric nature of nearly all policy consequences necessarily means that even "failed" policies will generate segments of winners and losers. The trick to the GOP's success (and conversely Democrat's failure) has been ensuring that the "winners" resulting from most of their proposed policies are both powerful and generally supportive of their philosophies. The "unified" government resulting from the election most likely presents an opportunity for the GOP to institutionalize its philosophies, rather than serve as an experimental test case for the efficacy of their policy choices.