Friday, July 29, 2016
Idiots And Democracy
An idiot holds up a sign reading, "Not Hillary, Not Trump," illustrating one of the most exasperating aspects of politics, one for which I thus far have shown no talent: dealing with idiots. It's not just that some people are too dumb to see a difference between Trump and Hillary big enough to justify voting for one or the other, which is already pretty damn dumb. Beyond that, a significant number of people actually believe that Jill Stein or Gary Johnson or Bernie Sanders actually has a chance to win. (Who knows how many idiots didn't believe that, until they read the last sentence and completely misunderstood it, and have now switched from campaigning for Hillary or Trump to campaigning for Stein or Johnson or Sanders.)
Pollsters are saying that up to 20% of registered voters now plan to vote for Stein or Johnson, with about 40% each left over for Hillary and Trump. That means that, although in reality perhaps every election is completely about winning the idiot vote, there's no doubt that this Presidential election is.
Of course, beyond the 20% Stein-or-Johnson-no-doubt-they're-idiots-bloc, some of the Trump and Hillary supporters are idiots too. It's harder to tell how big this voting bloc is, and it may also be much harder to campaign to this bloc, because who knows many idiots are voting for either Trump or Hillary only because they completely misunderstand where the candidate stands on the issues about which they care most? For example, people supporting Trump because they think he's pro-union, or supporting Hillary because they think she's against a woman's right to choose. I think it's pretty safe to say that the percentage of voters who are that confused or worse about every Presidential campaign is bigger than that of those who voted for Nader in 2004, and possibly comparable to those who voted for him in 2000.
In any case, the number is too high to be safely ignored.
So how do we deal with those voters, how do we lure as many as possible over to the Democratic side?
Like I said at the beginning of this post: I have no flippin' idea. I have no practical suggestions to offer, other than to urge those of you who are skilled at persuading idiots to keep in mind that there are a huge number of them out there, and to do whatever you can. Thank you.
Anyhow: although it's very, very early, the first post-Democratic-Convention polls are encouraging. One poll says that Missouri has gone from safely in Trump's column to a tossup. Wouldn't it be sweet if that poll turns out to be accurate, not an outlier, and if it stays that way, and we win Missouri? Don't laugh: it was awfully close in 2008. McCain only won by 3903 votes, 1,445,814 to 1,441,911
And I'd really like to win Texas too. I know everybody considers Texas to be deep-red Presidentially, but I look at the same data that's out there for everybody else to see, and it looks kinda purple to me. (And I'm way above average at math.)
I repeat: it's early. Almost every Presidential candidate gets a post-convention bump, we shouldn't overvalue Trump's bump, too many people have been panicking about that. And we shouldn't get carried away if Hillary gets a big bump too.
But it would be so nice if we just mopped the floor with those suckers this time...