Michael: Thank you for your response.


I have used “honesty” in a limited sense.

Which I get and can understand contextually in the argument you’re making here. However, operatively defining “honesty” as a degree of innate personal flaw — even in a limited sense — tends to excuse a lot of deliberate dishonest action from this current president.

Hamlet had flaws but at heart was an honest man; Macbeth had flaws but was rotten through and through. See the difference?

The USA is getting exactly what it saw in the last 30 years of watching this guy. No one should be surprised. I think we agree an that.

True dat.

The common EC vs. popular vote comes up again. My take is that this debate is partisan: EC is disparaged when the preferred side has lost a close election, it is honored when the preferred side wins the election. The validity of EC as an electoral tool depends on who won.

Here’s the problem with that assessment, however: name the last time the Electoral College saved a Democratic presidential candidate who underperformed in (read: lost) the popular vote; especially after having spent a previous election cycle openly denouncing the efficacy and validity of the Electoral College.

Further, you suggest “the debate is partisan”; that “the Electoral College is disparaged when the preferred side has lost a close election”. But let us review the actual record of the last twenty years worth of presidential balloting. You will find that the two closest elections of that period, 2000 and 2016, both resulted in electoral “gimmies” (though, to be fair, 2000 resulted in a Supreme Court “gimmie” moreso than an Electoral College one) to the GOP, not the Democrats.

(I went back and checked… Hayes, Harrison, Bush, and trump… in each instance where the Electoral College selected a president who did not secure the popular vote the victor awarded was a Republican. (John Quincy Adams isn’t included here as Federalists, Democratic-Republicans, and Whigs are all defunct political entities.) Ideological shifts over time aside, it is somewhat notable how many times this “partisan” debate tended to favor one party over the other.)

The year I called into question by quoting tweets from the current president (2012) wasn’t “close” at all, and was lamented more by the now current president as being illegitimate more for who was elected rather than how he was elected.

Mr. Trump got 62m votes to Ms. Clinton’s 65m votes. In the eyes of the voting public, Mr. Trump was not a candidate with no chance of ever getting the job.

“In the eyes of the voting public…” the current president was a candidate whose only chance of getting the job was through some 18th Century deus ex machina, as (arguably, including the current president himself) most were surprised he did secure the post.

The EC will never vault a candidate with 40% of the vote into the office of the president.

Instead, the Electoral College vaulted a candidate who secured 48% of the popular vote into the Office of the President over a candidate who secured 51% of the popular vote. That, friend, is not democratic, hence the backlash against the College itself.

(That, and it’s connections to the institution of American slavery, systemic racial stratification, and securing the elite standing of the landed gentry.)

And, no, I’m sure the Electoral College would never select a candidate with only 40% of the popular vote in this day and age. I’d imagine that such would tempt civil unrest. But anything short of vindicating the clear electoral mandate of the American people will come under broad condemnation. Such explains the movement to reform the Electoral College’s influence underway in many states, mine included.

I like to use the Stanley Cup in the National Hockey League as an anology.

I really rather you didn’t. Apples and Fabergé eggs, really.

If the last series goes to 7 games and the game is tied in the third period and one team scores a goal in the last minute of that period, should we really say that that the winning team is vastly superior to losing team? No, we can’t. There were two good teams on the ice, and a lucky break could have given the other team the victory.

The problem with your analogy is that it is not equivocal to the current discussion.

(To amend the analogy…) What happened in this case of the Presidential Election of 2016 is that the series goes to Game 7 and the Blue Team ends the game up by a goal. But then the referees gather together and award the Stanley Cup to the Red Team because they had won more games in venues with the right audience composition that would support a Red Team championship rather than the total number of actual goals attained by either team throughout the entire series… “Well, Red Team won a couple of close games in Pittsburg and Columbus so who cares if Blue Team ran up the score in New York and Los Angeles…”

See the difference?

Someone might then say, “Yeah, but it’s in the rules, so it’s OK.” Also in the rules: counting some Americans as 3/5’s a human. “In the rules” ain’t always fair, and they ain’t always democratic; we’ve long decided as much.

Mr. Trump was a viable contender in 2016. Just because some of us do not like him does not mean he was not viable.

He was considered “viable” once he secured the nomination of one of the two major political parties we have in this country. That’s really the extent of it.

I would argue that Mr. Trump has not been in politics until 2015.

That would depend on your operative definition of “been in politics”.

Mine hinges on the number of times he had either toyed with or outright stated an interest in the political realm and/or personally involved himself with overtly political topics. In that framing, I track the current president as having begun an overt political career with his taking out a full-page ad in the New York Times advocating for the death penalty for the Central Park Five.

However, as trump had toyed around with the notion of running for the Office of President as early as 1987, had ran for the Office as far back as 1999, and have maintained a very political public profile while continuing his private-sector dealings (including holding his political court on Twitter the last 10 or so years; I’ll elaborate more on this below), it would be very hard, in my opinion, for anyone to claim he had not been in politics until 2015.

There is an art/science acquired and required to meet with people and discuss mundane things like whether to put a $100,000 crosswalk on 5th Street because there have been a few pedestrian accidents in the past two years.

If your framing of the “art/science” of “being in politics” was the only mode of political involvement — a traditional Robert A. Heinlein-esque conception of political advocacy — then I would concur. What you would be referring to is “retail politics”, which is a staple of political science studies and is the kind of politicking to which we are all culturally familiar in this country.

No… what grassroots “art” the current president “deals” in is the wholesale politics of 21st Century online populism, which is a somewhat new creature in political science. Here the president is not required to meet with individual people to discuss the mundane, but rather tweet at a mass of people with his unabridged “populist” Id. Rather than tweeting about whether to put a $100,000 crosswalk on 5th street because of a few accidents at that intersection, the current president broadcasted his notion to put a $50 billion wall on the border because demographics shifts concern his political base to the point of activism.

To get in tune with his target audience the current president had honed his marketing skills to a fine edge enough to know what a lot of people wanted to hear in 2016 — e.g. “Build the Wall” or “Lock Her Up” — and marketing is the essence of successful contemporary political campaigns. Just ask former President Obama.

Mr. Trump never had any of that experience — and it shows. I can’t see him working in the minor leagues of the political world to gain that experience.

Actually, the current president had loads of that kind of experience when considered from the contemporary political paradigm observed above.

And one doesn’t need to worry about “working in the minor leagues” when management calls you up to the majors fresh out of high school and you crush it in your first few innings at the mound.

(Although, technically, if one is counting all his faux starts as a presidential hopeful for Democrat, Republican, and Reform parties, trump has been working the minors for some time now. Or, at least, futzing around with a bat swinging at rando shit dreaming of a chance to start hitting things (or, at least, looking like he’s hitting things))

There is a whole psychology behind supporting someone like Mr. Trump.

Indeed. I’ve seen it described multiple times as akin to a cult of personality.

To briefly summarize, I would say that many of his supporters cannot admit they made a mistake, so they double down on their support.

AKA “the Sunken Cost fallacy

On a more social psychological level, maybe the supporters sense the USA is heading to a period of a more aristocratic arrangement of government. They see themselves on being the privileged side of that arrangement.

I’ll do you one better: the MAGA slogan harkens back to a long-held nativist sentiment in the United States that works to designate and elevate “true Americans” above foreign interlopers and perceived faux Americans; “privilege” being the most utilitarian description uttered here.

On a more social-psychological level, I would suggest that maybe his supporters are very cognizant of the ways in which this country is changing to accommodate others who were not traditionally so “privileged” and (in classic “What’s the Matter with Kansas” style) are cutting their own noses to spite their faces.

Thanks for the confab; cheers!

Denver native and lover of films, nerd culture, and the political sciences. SJW as a mother because a dick I’m not. Cheers!

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