Dealing With The Consequences of Your Own Stupidity II

21 Jan

Read the first version of this post – on BREXIT – here.

If you listen, you can hear the questions echoing around the echo-chambers of the left.

Why Trump?

Why President Donald Trump?

Why did Donald Trump win the election?

What were they thinking?

Over the last few months, I’ve tried to explain why I thought Donald Trump had an excellent chance of winning the election and, after the election, to try to explain why he won. In hindsight, I think that most of my answers were generally accurate. Trump was a fighter, which the Republican base loved; Hillary Clinton was a weak candidate, with so many problems that – in the end – it’s hard to say which one really brought her own. And now, with riots on the streets, I think the average American has good reason to be relieved that Clinton and her cronies lost. What would they have done if they’d won?

But I think there is a more fundamental reason why Clinton – and everything she represented – was rejected. And, in many ways, it’s deeply personal.

If you want to guarantee that I will not pay any attention to you, there are three easy ways to do it:

-Talk to me like I’m a child.

-Talk to me like I’m an idiot.

-Talk to me as though my opinions don’t matter.

The problem with the first two should be obvious. No one likes being treated as either a child or an idiot. This is all the more important when the person doing it doesn’t really understand what’s going on. If someone condemns me for putting my books on kindle, rather than waiting for an elusive shot with a big publisher, that’s a fairly clear sign that that person doesn’t know what they’re talking about. That doesn’t necessary mean they’re trying to deliberately mislead me, but it strongly suggests that their opinions are of limited value.

This problem did serious damage to Hillary’s campaign. If someone believes, genuinely believes, that Trump’s supporters are idiots (or racists, or sexists, or bigots, etc) it undermines their ability to understand how Trump’s supporters tick. Worse, it makes it hard to consider that they don’t consider themselves to be idiots (etc) and that they may have reason to support Trump. For example, if one has no qualifications and no prospect of getting them, they will not support immigration because these equally unqualified immigrants are the competition!

But this leads neatly to the third issue.

An individual Trump (or Hillary) voter is immaterial, in the grand scheme of things. One vote isn’t likely to make much of a difference. But a mass of voters spread across the states can and will make a difference. Hillary did not need to win the popular vote (whining to the contrary aside). She needed to take a majority of the states. In doing so, she had to pitch her appeal to as many states as possible and refrain from things guaranteed to upset fence-sitting voters.

In this sense, calling a vast number of Americans ‘deplorables’ was a colossal own goal.

On one hand, it convinced countless thousands of Americans that voting for Trump was a strike against a woman who had never made any secret of her disdain for the average American (and his intelligence). On the other hand, it called Hillary’s judgement into question. What sort of idiot insults hundreds of thousands of people who might – might – be turned away from Trump? Even a pretence at empathy (as Bill Clinton correctly noted) would have given Hillary a better shot at the White House.

If you are dependent on someone – and politicians are dependent on voters to elect them – it is sheer stupidity to alienate them. Or, for that matter, to convince them that your judgement is basically faulty. And that is exactly what Hillary did.

But the problem goes far beyond Hillary Clinton.

Over the last twenty years, the political elites have grown more and more detached from the populations they rule. And, as the distance between the people at the top and the people at ground zero has grown wider and wider, their decision-making has become increasingly poor, based more on untested theories and an idealistic view of the world rather than what is actually happening. The great unwashed – everyone else, in other words – has become more and more aware of the disparity between what we are told and what we see. For example:

Claim: Minimum wage laws are good for employees.

Observable Reality: Minimum wage laws destroy small businesses and cause unemployment.

Claim: Government regulations and bureaucracy are good.

Observable Reality: Government regulations and bureaucracy destroy small businesses and ruin lives.

Claim: Affirmative Action is good for society.

Observable Reality: Affirmative Action is bad for everyone, particularly the people it claims to help.

Claim: illegal immigration is really no different from legal immigration.

Observable Reality: illegal immigration is a crime that goes unpunished.

Claim: Identity politics are an important part of social justice and therefore good for society.

Observable Reality: Identity politics are tearing society apart.

Claim: If we don’t provoke our enemies, they won’t attack us. And when they do attack us, its somehow our fault.

Observable Reality: Weakness invites attack.

I could go on, but why bother? All that really matters – now – is that a growing number of people are no longer listening to the elites. Why should they?

Trump’s ‘surprising’ election is merely the latest stage of an ongoing rebellion against the political elites. And part of the reason this rebellion is underway is because the political elites have failed. They have lost their grip on events, to the point where they have become both self-interested and unable to even comprehend why others might disagree. Their mistakes – and their complete refusal to admit they were mistakes – led directly to the election of Donald Trump.

This is not the time to insist that Donald Trump is not a ‘legitimate’ president. Trump won by the rules. Nor is this the time to demand that the rules be changed to handicap any future challengers. This is the time for the elites to get out of their gated communities and get back in touch with the rest of the population …

… Or resign themselves to permanent irreverence as the world goes on.

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28 Responses to “Dealing With The Consequences of Your Own Stupidity II”

  1. readyguy January 21, 2017 at 2:26 am #

    Excellent. No wonder I like your books.

    ________________________________

  2. bc January 21, 2017 at 3:07 am #

    No, it was the Russians who uh.. uh… What exactly did they do? Oh yeah, they confirmed that many of those looney ideas that republicans have had about the corrupt elites and the corrupt MSM were absolutely correct. How dare they inform the peons and serfs!!!!

    • shrekgrinch January 21, 2017 at 5:05 am #

      I get such a kick of how the Democrats have ‘suddenly’ discovered that the Russians are such a ‘threat’.

      Laughing

      My

      Head

      Off

      This whole thing is becoming their version of the Birther Movement as your average American sees it…and they have absolutely zero clue about that, too.

  3. BobStewartatHome January 21, 2017 at 4:56 am #

    Excellent list. You could also add weaponizing Federal agencies (IRS, EPA, etc.) to punish political enemies under the guise of … well, hmmmm … tribal revenge? Or the promise of extending their rule? Or perhaps just plain orneriness?

    And I’d choose irrelevance over irreverence, as these elites pride themselves on their sophistication, having reject any form of reverence, except to revolutionary heroes like Castro, Mao, Che, or Pol Pot, which ever tinpot tyrant is presently in favor. So they have been irreverent for most of our lives, and making that permanent would hardly concern them.

  4. Les Barrie (Scottish borders) January 21, 2017 at 11:09 am #

    You totally nailed it,the PC liberals sense of entitlement knows no boundaries, the most interesting thing is ,they still just don’t get it,are these people so entrenched in their “beliefs” or are they just thick as mince that they constantly ignore and deny reality.

  5. Anarchymedes January 21, 2017 at 1:03 pm #

    I read all the posts about Donald Trump’s glorious victory, and I see one thing in common: they all sound like gloating. Like grinding the neck of the defeated foe. And those who mourn that same victory begin to sound almost like, ‘Remember what Amalek has done to you … do not forget.’ Seeing all that, I begin to understand what Vanga’s prophesy meant, the one about the first black President of the United States being its last.
    A nation divided that deeply simply cannot remain united. Welcome to the Divided States of America, which may fall apart relatively peacefully, as the Soviet Union did, or engage in the Second Civil War (will Putin offer help?) Ah well, this is the fate of all empires.
    Because everything said above about the elite is true: the Western society has almost destroyed itself from within; personally, I just wish I could make peace with any of those who stand poised to conquer it from without, and not feel like I’ve betrayed myself too much to be able to stand the sight of myself in the mirror.
    And onse again: if I were American, I’d have voted for Trump – but only for a chance to dance on the civilisation’s bones. For the freedom of having No Future – and, consequently, nothing to worry about.

  6. Vapori January 21, 2017 at 2:00 pm #

    Many of those points are really a matter of perspective.

    Minimum wage law, destroys jobs.
    But without a Minimum wage, you have a job and can’t afford a living.
    If your qualification is high enough to earn more then the minimum wage, you aren’t affected anyway.
    By the way the US Chamber of Commerce sates that the unemployment rate in the US is roughly 4,7% So, the observed reality would be that in comparison to most other nations and even when compared to The US history since the 70s the unemployment is low.
    But maybe the perception is different.

    Governmental regulations are bad, and destroy small businesses.
    Well, would you prefer it to live in a land without regulations were the government isn’t able to uphold it’s own laws?
    I’m fairly sure, that most people like most of their law and regulation and find only some of them bad.

    Also note, that not only big Business has a say over what gets into the law and regulations , There are many smaller chambers of commerce and other trade unions, were smaller company’s are represented as well.

    Well for now he is in office and I’m curious too see, what will happen with him in office.

    Actually, I don’t doubt that the growth rate of the american economy will improve lightly.
    But I doubt that, much of that growth will land in the hands of the lower and middle class.

  7. Big Ben January 21, 2017 at 3:16 pm #

    Here’s my only issue with the conservatives/republicans harping about the “evil elites” and congratulating themselves on getting a Trump elected … isn’t Trump the very definition of an “elite” citizen?
    He doesn’t live in a gated community – he owns the entire community (Trump Tower).
    Never served in the military, or spent any appreciable amount of time volunteering in the Peace Corp or any other organization.
    Has never known chronic deprivation, be it financial insecutity, hunger or homelessness or anything else. How exactly is he in tune with the average worker, let alone the truly poor?
    Has more pocket change than most Americans will see in their lifetimes.

    And has stacked his cabinet with other multi-millionaires and billionaires, far more than any other president in modern times, the top one tenth of the one-percenters … many of them from Wall Street, ironically enough. Didn’t the republicans bash Hillary for her close ties to Wall Street?

    Unfortunately I fear it’s true that no government that was ever formed slowly got better (in the eyes of it’s average citizen) over time. They all start with lofty ideals that inevitably get eroded as they grow bloated and complacent and strive to keep themselves in power.

    Oh well, I guess we’ll all see. I wish our President well in his newest endeavor.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard January 21, 2017 at 3:34 pm #

      Well, there are Elites and there are Evil Elites.

      Yes Trump is “Filthy Rich” but he wasn’t part of “Wall-Street” or the Political Elite.

      “Wall-Street” in this case are the Financial “Industry” which is different from “Main Street Business”.

      Now Trump had something else to his advantage. Even though the News Media and the Democratic Party looked hard for them, there have been no horror stories about “how terrible of boss Trump is”.

      Basically Trump knows that his companies are built and maintained by “little people”.

      He has made it clear that those “little people” are important and they know that Trump sees them as important.

      So during his campaign, Trump was telling the voters that he sees them as important.

      His words were those that many voters have thought but have been told that their thoughts are “evil” or worthless.

      Hillary told the voters that they were deplorable and Trump told them “I’m on your side”.

      IMO that’s the difference.

      Oh, while his cabinet choices are “rich”, they aren’t part of the Political Elite which is why many “Liberals” hated them.

      • FarWalker January 21, 2017 at 10:22 pm #

        To further your point, I do not recall a single employee of Trump’s (current or former) who came out and accused Trump of anything dastardly that could be used against him by his enemies. And for a man who has run a multibillion dollar conglomerate for decades that is saying something. Also, with regard to the Russians (Or whoever) no one is claiming that the emails that were disclosed were false or somehow untrue and it was the emails that demonstrated how despicable Hillary actually was. Moreover, if there was an illegitimate candidate – it was Hillary given what she and the DNC did to Bernie Sanders.

  8. Baldur Norddahl January 21, 2017 at 3:27 pm #

    “This is not the time to …” and yet everything in this blogpost is about the past. How about talking about the future? What happens next? Trump is president, nothing changes that (short of assassination by someone crazy). But what will he do that actually helps the people he claims to represent? So far his first act was to take their health care away.

    Clinton is irrelevant by this point, forget about her. She will not be back in the next round in four years. Besides what happens in four years is very much up to the republicans at this point with majority in both chambers AND the presidency. But will the democrats use some of the new game book written by republicans and filibuster everything?

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard January 21, 2017 at 4:19 pm #

      Snort!

      Obamacare is a pile of junk that has done more harm than good and Trump has said that it’ll be replaced by something better.

      He hasn’t (and can’t) kill Obamacare but IIRC has put a hold on the implementation of some of the more shitty parts of it until Congress can replace it.

      As for the “filibuster”, it was a feature of the US Senate and had been killed by the Democrats so that the minority party (Republicans) couldn’t use it against the “Glorious Democrats”.

      As for the “New Game Book”, it was written by the Democratic Party when they controlled both houses of Congress and now Liberals are whining about Republicans “doing unto them” as they “did unto” Republicans.

      Note, the Democratic Party is IMO on the road to becoming a “regional party”.

      Strong in places like New York City, Chicago, and California but with little power outside of those areas.

      Republicans control most of the State Governments and thus Republicans control Congress.

      • Baldur Norddahl January 22, 2017 at 2:11 am #

        The two party system is junk. There are more opinions on matters than just two. Which is also why Trump might not get it as easy as he thinks. Just because they are republicans does not mean they agree with him. He has to learn politics. Sometimes he will have to do the opposite of his wishes to get something else he wants more. Can a man that has always solved disagreement by saying “you’re fired” handle that?

        The current protests seems to be against the man Trump and not the party Republicans. However Trump is not even attempting to handle the situation. If he keeps this up, it might be damning at the next election when the reps need to account for their president. Democracy is not about the majority ruling the minority, you need to be able to also do something for the losers otherwise you get civil war.

        As I said with majority in both chambers and the presidency, all success but also all blame goes to the republican party. There is just no way Trump can get through with just a fraction of everything he promised. Good thing too as it would cause economic depression that helps nobody and especially not the people he claims to represent.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard January 22, 2017 at 2:24 am #

        Strange, you seem to be talking about Straw-Trump not the real Trump.

        Sorry, Trump wasn’t my first choice but the real Trump is different than what you’re talking about.

  9. Drowe January 21, 2017 at 9:46 pm #

    I tend to agree with many of the things you write, though of course not everything. This is true in this case as well. However some of the points you make, especially the first two on the list of claims vs observable reality are less black and white than you make them out to be. They are partially true, but the same can be said for the opposite opinion, that the claims reflect reality. You can argue which of those two claims is true for more individual cases, which in the end comes down to statistics. But the problem with statistics are that while they can tell you the general impact of a policy, the individual people affected by the policy may have a different experience. Most policies are a mixed bag, there are nearly always positive and negative impacts on society and the economy. And more often than not, it’s a matter of perspective whether a policy is good or bad.

    A lot of the time it is a matter of ideology whether you consider a policy good or bad, no matter what the statistics say. You can point out plenty of regulations that are sensible and necessary, at the same time you can find just as many regulations that are unnecessary and make no sense. And in many cases people with different perspectives disagree about which is which.

    That doesn’t mean that objectively what you say is untrue, if you look at the statistics you may be right or not, I really don’t know, but I’m certain that there are statistics that confirm your assertion and some that contradict it. And it is more likely for any human to believe research that confirmes their opinion than research that contradicts it. If people come across information that reinforce their opinion, they often don’t look any further, but if the information contradicts them they look for reasons to dismiss it. That’s why ideological diversity is so important, so that ideas are challenged and the flaws are exposed. And in my opinion that is part of why the elites have lost touch with the population, and why populists of both the left and right are gaining traction. I hope the recent successes of populists will cause the establishment to change and become more responsive to the populace. Otherwise I fear for what might be the consequences.

  10. PufffinMuffin January 22, 2017 at 1:34 am #

    It’s actually weird seeing all this protest and bile thrown at him before he took office. Most presidents only get this after a while in power.

    But as for what he’ll do, well if the snowflakes get melted, then they’ve had it coming. Enough of this “I’m an xxx, I deserve more because I’m an…. xxx (government doles out more money to all xxx’s)”. No, things can’t go on like that.

    As for the list of points you raise above, I particularly agree with the last one. Alas, some well-intentioned people still think that doing nothing will make it all go away.

  11. Don January 22, 2017 at 1:40 am #

    “Claim: Minimum wage laws are good for employees.

    Observable Reality: Minimum wage laws destroy small businesses and cause unemployment.

    Claim: Government regulations and bureaucracy are good.

    Observable Reality: Government regulations and bureaucracy destroy small businesses and ruin lives.”

    Minimum wage : But allowing people living wages not a bad thing as part of the anger in Western socialites are that people feel that they are not earning enough and always stressed about money week by week. Also they are the majority. If you earn less or just about able to live then they have to spend on lowest costing bare minimum things like food and housing. Western economy is about consumer spending and if they don’t have money then ……

    Government regulations of Christopher claims can also be opposite. Eg. De-regulation of Wall Street that Clinton presidency started leaded to 2008 financial crisis that have destroyed small businesses and ruin lives. (Keep in mind that no one who cause this went to jail – if the people was not the elites then lots of jail time. As same as Hillary not going to jail) When big business are allowed no restriction on their actions then small business and little people would be walked all over.

    Nothing in life is black and white as you written in the blog. That is why political process should be compromise of both sides but these days when either side hear anything said by the other side is it is evil and have to be stopped at all cost and same for other side.

    There are some truth in both sides and not one side has all the truth and solutions.

    But first thing that need to be done is removal of all money from big money in political process – from big business to unions. It has corrupted and twisted the political process where rich and big business are getting all the benefits. Eg. Tory government going through with business tax cuts while cutting social benefits and health (NHA and community care) thus benefiting the big money but building up the distrust and anger towards ALL elites. Unless there is some pressure release then 2nd amendment would be used.

    I hate political party in power pointing at other party when they are under attack because of issue that came up. IF YOU IN POWER THEN USE IT TO SOLVE IT NOT MOAN ABOUT IT. IF YOU CAN’T OR YOU CAUSED IT THEN OWN UP.

  12. georgephillies January 22, 2017 at 5:16 am #

    Readers are encouraged to read Sean Trande’s analysis on RealClearPolitics.com. I was among the minority of people who was not surprised by the result…I would also not have been surprised if Clinton had won. Trende notes that Democratic support in rural and small-town America has collapsed, and that in many states that gives you a win. The Democrats have become increasingly a party of very large cities, California, New York, and New England. However, the trends in question have been ongoing for several decades.

  13. Glen Romero January 23, 2017 at 2:51 pm #

    I’m going to agree with your statement that the majority of our political leader are out of touch with the majority of the people. But don’t think for a minute that what the right is innocent in all of this. For the last 8 years they has been fighting what they so colorfully calling libritards. Lets not forget that they are the ones that started the “not my president” move. They made life size versions of Obama hang it from a noose and burn them. The conservative movement was brilliant at marketing their hatred of the affordable care act by labeling it Obamacare. There are a lot of people in this country that only list to one side of story and refusing to even consider that they maybe wrong. I work wit a smart man on most things who has bought in so hard to the idea that global climate change is based on a study of 3 people that faked the data. That is not how science works, in order for something to be confirmed another team has to be able to reproduce the experiment from scratch. Multiple teams around the world have been able to recreate the results. You would think that if all those scientists have confirmed the results they someone by now would have found the “fake” data. It’s like our “leaders” that have sold fracking as safe practice. There is plenty of data to suggest that fracking is anything but safe. There was a documentary where they went to the individuals that live in the areas that has fracking going on. They have to buy bottled water not just for drinking but bathing because of the contamination.

    My point is that there is enough blame to go around for what this country is going through right now and saying that one side or the other is not a smart statement to make. It’s like the example you gave of someone saying that you shouldn’t self publish.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard January 23, 2017 at 2:55 pm #

      The Old “You do it as well” defense.

      IE Liberals defend their stupidity by saying Conservatives are stupid (or more stupid) as well.

      That defense got old decades ago. 😦

  14. Don January 26, 2017 at 1:37 am #

    Conservative still not actually reading before writing thus demonstrationing his own point. Nice.

  15. Conrad Bassett Jr. January 26, 2017 at 11:51 am #

    Because this is an American problem and he is the president, I will not comment on his policies and administration. However, what I will say one of the major reasons for the election can be found in the Asimov Theory. There’s a surprising amount of anti-intellectualism running through the fabric of American Society. Critical thinking is seen as elitism, and reality based information has taken a backseat to opinion without validation. Fake news has taken the place of authentic information. This what has always given rise to populous candidates. This is evident when the claims that affirmative action is one of the root causes unraveling the fabric of American Society. Instead of actually understanding that affirmative action has always been a part of the society during the country’s high and low periods, the population believes what they are told without question. The real problems facing all society is when you have a deliberate imbalance born out of exploitation, destroys that nation from without and within.

  16. Lodrik February 5, 2017 at 10:34 pm #

    i get why they elected Trump, but most seem to think he doesnt really mean all he said. And they all have different ideas about the real part.

    I am not really interested in american politics, but the way the united states seem to go has me very worried. I would like to read what Chris thinks about the situation (guess that has to wait, we dont know that much yet)

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  1. Why the Libs Lost | jjreuter - January 21, 2017

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