Sunday, November 13, 2016


adjective - lamentable; deserving strong condemnation..  synonyms:  disgraceful, shameful, dishonorable, unworthy, inexcusable, unpardonable, unforgivable. 
"lamentable" is the first definition in Merriam-Webster; I believe that would be because it is the original meaning of the word. The rest of it--the more judgmental meaning, and the synonyms--is the more modern usage, as provided by Google.  That word--both definitions--is the perfect one to describe the result of the 2016 Presidential election.  Hillary Clinton didn't have it right when she said that half of Trump's supporters were a "basket of deplorables".  Deplorable is an adjective; describing a person as "a deplorable" is incorrect.  I don't believe that people are deplorable, though some of their opinions and actions may be.

That the result itself is deplorable I think is self-evident--if not, I will not explain it here, but refer you to my previous post, in which I listed the probable consequences of a Trump victory.  The causes are many
--bad tactical decisions by the Clinton campaign on the use of their many resources;
--FBI Director James Comey's blundering and harmful messages on the Weiner laptop emails (which slowed Clinton's momentum, probably not changing many minds but suppressing some turnout among some of her likely supporters);
--the randomness of decision by Electoral College (a switch of some 0.05% of the national vote in three states would've changed the results);
--the lack of focus on change initiatives from the candidate herself;

--and yes, it is possible, though unprovable, that Bernie Sanders might have done better against Trump, though the die had already been cast for Clinton by the time Trump locked up his nomination.

The real blame for the result belongs entirely on those people who voted for Donald Trump. They should have known better.

I'm not talking about the personal peccadilloes involved, in this era of indiscretions--I suppose we can cancel the misdeeds of Trump against those of Bill Clinton (if they are at all relevant to Hillary's candidacy) or the BFD issue of Hillary's choice of server for her emails-- I never cared much about these, and apparently the supposed moral conservatives didn't, mind much, either.  With regard to my own insistence that it is foreign and military policy that matters in a President, it was no contest (Clinton) but not critical; to the extent Trump's actual positions are known, they don't differ much from Clinton's (except for questions like sucking up to Putin, supporting our allies, or abrogating our treaties and international agreements).

Even if one focuses on the domestic issues that people of both parties would have cited as being important, such as jobs, taxes, education, and entitlement programs, Clinton's positions were clearly articulated, grounded in reality, and generally ignored; Trump's were vague and unrealistic. Try going to his website and look for something about Medicare or Social Security--you will find nothing, only his blather about "Obamacare", his positions on which are rapidly evolving to something not appreciably different from Clinton's "enhance and improve" stance.   But enough about that--there is plenty of evidence that voters did not know the candidates' positions on these issues, nor care about them, nor was there more than a smattering of attention to them in the media's coverage of the campaign.

What I am talking about is the reasons people give for their votes for Trump, a subject which is getting excessive attention now that it is too late to remedy those fatal errors.  Voters' decisions are typically emotional ones, and it is there that I am most amazed.  Why they would choose to put their trust in a person who continually lied (or misstated facts, if that is something different), who has a long history of defrauding his employees, customers, contractors, business partners, and investors, I will never know or understand the answer.

The reason often cited that he is "one of them" does not hold water. He is even more an elitist than the Clintons, and his interests are those of the moneyed class.  Far from being a press-the-flesh politician (or even salesman) he actually has an aversion (well-hidden) to physical contact with the proletariat.  Although he is an outsider to Washington politics, he is very much an insider in the larger game of the American economy, and as an agent of change, there is a lot of bluster, very little beef:  what is new about tax cuts for the rich?  Where is the evidence that immigration is harming our economy or security?  There is this "tribal" theory of voting, but it hardly explains to me the 30% of Hispanics and 50% of white women who voted for this anti-Hispanic misogynist.  Some seer on one of this morning's talking heads shows said that the election was the 21st century intruding on our politics; I think it was the opposite--an intrusion of mid-20th century politics.

There is one group I think can be readily identified as the core Trump supporter:  the older, white, working-class males without a college degree.  They have been Trump's most consistent source of support throughout, and they turned out in unprecedented numbers for him on Election Day.  Though they don't appear to be appreciably poorer than average, there is a consistent thread of resentment, a claim that they are not getting their fair share anymore, and that some "others" are getting it instead.  No need to call people names, but it is this nativist, nostalgic, willing suspension of disbelief in this fraudulent con artist which is at the heart of this terrifically close, terrifying and disheartening result.

Well, I can't complain that the night lacked drama, though it was a slow-moving one.  Let's call Part I of our drama done; Part 2 will be "The Donald Trump Era and the Decline/Rebirth of the American Empire", presumably beginning January 20 and ending four years later.

Enough rant.  I will proceed immediately to another post, with lessons learned and escape plans, as promised.

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