Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Trump

Although I'm hardly at all interested in politics, I thought my readers might like to know my reaction to the unexpected Trump victory. As I had been following the polls closely in recent weeks, like many I was surprised by this outcome. However, on reflection, there are similarities between this election and the election of George W. Bush in 2000, and Bush's reelection in 2004 was already a confirmation to me of the incompetence of voters – hence my continuing skepticism regarding the wisdom of the existing democratic process. In this case it is difficult to predict how Trump's presidency might evolve, because he is less ideologically rigid than he presented himself, and his real strengths are in photo ops and his sheer aggressiveness. Put in a historical perspective, there is nothing new here, as H.L. Mencken wrote in 1926:

No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.

My presidential vote was superfluous because I live in a Democratic stronghold. I voted for Hillary Clinton only because I did not want to support a third-party candidate who might inadvertently contribute to the election of Trump by reducing the number of Clinton votes in another state, as Ralph Nader did for Bush in 2000. It is impossible to know, but Ralph Nader may have changed world history for the worse by reducing Al Gore's vote count in 2000. In this household we had a small panic about the election results and someone began to look into real estate in France, but we have since settled down.

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