Sunday, October 09, 2016

I Aim to Misbehave

Donald Trump once bragged that as a rich guy he can get pussy, and the Democrats lose their minds. Suddenly this is a level of immorality that can't be condoned in the White House. Except that these are the very same Democrats (and you know you are) who excused Bill Clinton getting blowjobs in the White House from a woman who was not his wife. And Democrats staunchly defend Hillary Clinton for her attempts to destroy evidence in an active investigation, though they drove Nixon out of office for far less. That's because Democrats are hypocrites. It pretty much comes with the title.

Republicans are now defending this as "a private conversation" and "locker room talk". Except that these are the very same Republicans who wanted Bill Clinton impeached, and managed to do so. That's because Republicans are hypocrites. Again, it pretty much comes with the title.

In the case of both of these parties, the "go to" defense of any misdeed is to point to the other party and say "well, they did worse". And that's true of just about everything. For any of its misdeeds, one party can find something like it that the other one did that was worse. The problem is, this isn't an excuse for doing it yourself. Rather, it's evidence that you don't walk the high road.

And you can sit there and lie to yourself that Clinton's not a misogynist and racist like Trump, but to do it you have to forget that she called rape victims liars, and that she called called Paul Fray a “f*cking Jew bastard!” You have to ignore that she derided black men as “super-predators” saying, “we have to bring them to heel.”

In the case of Trump, evangelical Christians are posting thanks to God for having "raised up Trump" as He did King David or King Cyrus, forgetting that it is by their deeds that they must be judged, not their promises. As yet, Trump has done nothing as President, and certainly nothing to warrant such praise. Do you not suppose that poor Germans in 1933 praised God for raising up Adolf Hitler?... because they absolutely did. I cannot be so quick to confuse the platitudes of a politician with the answer to prayer.

Where you condemn the one and praise the other, you are a hypocrite. Where you pretend there is a difference, you are a liar. I, for one, got tired of being a liar and a hypocrite. I castigated Bill Clinton for his lack of a moral center, and will do no less for Trump. And as I agreed with Nixon's decision to vacate the White House for the good of the nation, I'm not going to let Hillary slide on her commission of misdeeds that outweighed his. Sure, it would be cool to have a woman as President, but it would be an embarrassing mistake to have this one.

The Biggest Problem

When I look at all the issues that are up for debate in this election, I note that the biggest issue of all, though cried about, is never actually debated.

The biggest problem we face is not immigration. This same issue, in similar magnitude, has been around literally for generations. It was a major issue in Reagan's campaigns, for Pete's sake. These people are not taking American jobs; for the most part, they're filling jobs that Americans won't. And if you don't believe me, I want to be there when you tell a laid-off Detroit steelworker the good news that the Mexicans have been kicked out and we've now freed up plenty of jobs picking melons down South. The ones that are working are paying taxes into a system for benefits that they cannot receive. And their children are American citizens under the Constitution and therefore as "entitled" as any other citizen.

The biggest problem we face is not foreign relations. Frankly, for all the blundering we've done, we may find that things work a bit smoothly when they're not 'managed' by people from a half a world away who don't understand the language, much less the culture of the people that we condescend to 'educate'.

The biggest problem we face is not the economy. A President has damned little control over the economy in the first place beyond acting as a standard-bearer and cheerleader. Congress passes budgets; Congress passes tax law. The President may veto or not, but in either case the economy flourishes and falters based on the People's willingness to take chances on investment and both short- and long-term purchases. The major economic "theory" that dominates every Administration is that the current President is immediately to thank for any economic success, while his or her predecessor is perpetually to blame for any economic failure.

The biggest problem we face is not race relations. This divide is merely a symptom of the real problem. And it is not the Supreme Court, at least not in the way that most of you think. It is not that there are more Justices on "their side" vs. "our side".

The biggest problem that we face is that there are sides. It is this bullshit binary thinking that not only enables, but encourages Democrats and Republicans like you to be the undeniable hypocrites that you are. It is that culture of "team politics" that encourages you to defend the sins you spent most of your previous decades denouncing. It is that same culture that encourages you to decry the fact that there aren't enough partisan Justices on your side, rather than promote Justices who (as the Constitution demands) are partial only to whether the Law is Constitutional. The biggest problem that we face is that your only concern for the issues is how to defend your team's position on them. As only one example, Trump's statements on Mexican immigration are indistinguishable from Bill Clinton's... but what got cheers for Clinton gets cries of racism for Trump. When the other team does what your team did, they're despicable. You don't give a damn about the issue itself; you care only about promoting the team, and it's stupid.

A Solution

There is one way to draw you away from continuing to be institutionally stupid, and it's to remove the binary teams; dismantle that bi-partisan system that the Democrats and Republicans have so carefully built and maintained. If you had to actually examine the issues and weigh them rather than unconditionally adopt and defend them; if you were not bogged down by the fiction that your vote is wasted if you do not vote to deny someone else their say rather than express your own; then much of this would disappear.

The way to do that is to institute ranked choice voting.
  • If you knew that a voting for your conscience is not a wasted vote because if your candidate is in last place your vote will be transferred to your second choice, then you could vote conscience and not your fear.
  • If "third-party" candidates were not excluded by the arbitrary walls that are built by the "Big Two" parties, and their members' votes were transferable, more serious candidates could be offered. There would be no "third parties", just political parties. 
Voters would look more closely at a broader array of solutions offered by a wider selection of candidates. In voting, they would rank their choices from most to least preferred. As candidates with the least votes are eliminated, their votes would be transferred to the voters' next choices, until a final choice is made by a popular majority within each State. When applied to Congressional elections, such a system will make possible more diverse representation and less partisanship, as progress will only be possible by an increase in statesmanship. Inter-party cooperation will have to more closely approximate that of parliamentary systems.

Today a President is chosen by a mere plurality, meaning that if you have the most votes, you can be elected, even if less than half of Americans voted for you. In a three-way race, the President can be elected with as little as 34% of the vote; and we've seen Presidents elected with low numbers.

A Path

Knowing that institutionalized partisan stupidity is the most pressing issue of the current generation, I'm borrowing a phrase: "I aim to misbehave." I am stepping off the ridiculous treadmill built by bi-partisan decree, and I will be voting for a Libertarian President. Because of partisan bickering, it is even mathematically possible for him to win, even if he gains only the electors of a single State[*]. While this is a long shot, gaining the White House isn't the only definition of victory.

Even a small number of Americans voting their conscience will deny the winning party a majority of the popular vote. Enough Americans doing so will deny the winning party any semblance of a mandate. The last time a President didn't win the popular vote, it was George W. Bush, with half a million votes less than Al Gore, and the resulting confusion wound up before the Supreme Court. The public was outraged by that percentage point in 2000. The outrage would only grow if that margin increased to 10%, leaving it abundantly clear 60% or more of Americans did not want the winner in office. With ranked choice voting, and only with ranked choice voting, that 60% would have agreed on an acceptable choice, even if it were not the first choice of all of them, and a more acceptable candidate would have been elected. (BTW, if Gary Johnson were to win the long shot scenario, the same argument holds). It would be a much easier task to sell America on the already obvious benefits of ranked choice voting, thus addressing the #1 problem in American politics today; the one that exacerbates all other problems.

I'm not concerned that my candidate may not win this election. I'm focused on a longer goal that will be furthered no matter who wins. When you make the phenomenally idiotic statement that a 3rd party vote is a vote for the other side, you assume that I should prefer your side. You're both wrong about that. You're the problem. We have the cure.

I aim to misbehave.

[*] If Gary Johnson were to win New Mexico, then neither Trump nor Clinton would have the required number of electoral votes to win. The election would go to the House of Representatives, who would presumably vote along strict party lines, still denying either party a win. In this event, the only path to keeping the other side out would be to elect the third party candidate.

P.S. I don't often put in an unsolicited ad, but I'm recommending these... I bought one of these in brown, which I'm adopting as my official stealth election T-shirt. It comes in other colors, but mine's in the proper color, brown (see Firefly). 

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