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#301202 - 05/13/17 02:30 PM How is Trump President?!
NW Ponderer Offline
Moderator
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 15381
The thread title is born of frustration... But also an intellectual dilemma/puzzle that has been keeping me up - literally - at night. There are "reasons" - the Comey letter, Russian interference, a flawed opponent - but those don't really explain the larger "why." They are symptoms. I think there is a deeper reason that is a combination of flawed process and ingrained psychology.

The process issue is stunningly complex. The Electoral college is part of it, as are party politics, the federal system, voting patterns, candidate selection, statistics and just plain math. The psychological dimensions are even more dizzying.

Humans are inherently "tribal". The evidence is all around us - and often on us. I'll bet you cannot go 30 seconds in any public activity without confronting it. Turn on the TV. You've already joined a tribe. Pick a channel, watch a commercial... All involve selection, often self-seeking, putting us in one clan or another. Take a walk outside. How soon do you encounter a team Jersey (maybe you're even wearing one on your walk), a logoed hat or a bumper sticker? They're all indicia of tribal associations.

Elections are a combination of two very complex systems - process and psychology. In this instance leading to an existential crisis.

At the risk of simplifying the universe to a bumper sticker, here's my take:

1. Candidates select themselves. Humans are notoriously poor at self-evaluation, exaggerating our merits and minimizing our flaws. Candidates are extreme in this regard.

2. They then select a "tribe" to represent. Even "Independents" have a tribal affiliation. We use lots of labels to sort these - conservative, liberal, Republican, Democrat, establishment, outsider...

3. The electoral/campaign process is a process of accretion, not really selection. The candidate tries to get as many voters to stick to him as possible, like Katamari.

4. Because of the number of candidates, the "faster than the bear" phenomenon takes over ("you don't have to be faster than the bear..."). Trump only had 17-19% support, but that was more than the next guy...

5. Because of "Winner take all" delegate awards (a process flaw), Trump accumulated more delegates than his opponents, even though vastly more voters voted against him than for him. Similarly, Hillary Clinton won more delegates, although the voting math was more in her favor, too.

6. Despite voluminous evidence and analysis demonstrating his unsuitability for the job, Trump won the nomination over vociferous objections within his own tribe. The tribe then coalesced around his nomination even though many (if not most) knew he didn't represent their interests.

7. The final voting was also marred by the same process defects. Although tribal affiliations are nearly balanced, he prevailed because of winner take all elector distribution and the faster than the bear phenomenon. He didn't have the majority of votes (more voted against him than for him), and didn't even have the most votes. Yet, here we are.
_________________________
A well reasoned argument is like a diamond: impervious to corruption and crystal clear - and infinitely rarer.

Here, as elsewhere, people are outraged at what feels like a rigged game -- an economy that won't respond, a democracy that won't listen, and a financial sector that holds all the cards. - Robert Reich

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#301203 - 05/13/17 03:50 PM Re: How is Trump President?! [Re: NW Ponderer]
rporter314 Online   content
old hand

Registered: 03/18/03
Posts: 6167
Loc: Highlands, Tx
i haven't done a thorough analysis of your argument but something does strike me which you may want to consider .... while it is true life in general is fairly complex, humans for the most part simplify it .... likewise when one makes an argument, one should pay attention to William of Orange ... I think complex arguments best be left to proving Fermat's last theorem
_________________________
ignorance is the enemy
without equality there is no liberty

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#301208 - 05/14/17 12:03 AM Re: How is Trump President?! [Re: NW Ponderer]
pdx rick Offline
Member
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/09/05
Posts: 40380
Loc: Puget Sound, WA



Donald Trump is way out of his league as President.

Deciding such important matters such as whether Little John or Meatloaf lacked leadership, and then ultimately firing Gary Busey instead on Celebrity Apprentice, is not indicative of the type of stellar decision-making required to be President.

Celebrity Apprentice didn't set Trump up for success as President. No wonder we see Donald J Trump flailing like a fish out of water and failing so spectacularly.

You own this joke of a man that we have as President, Trump voters.
_________________________
Contrarian, extraordinaire



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#301211 - 05/14/17 07:13 AM Re: How is Trump President?! [Re: pdx rick]
pondering_it_all Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 6853
Loc: North San Diego County
>low information voters

Surprise! There really IS such a thing as expertise, and some people are way way more competent than others. No matter what you think about your opinion being as valid as the next guy's, that may not be true.

Education and experience matter.

Next time you get confused about this, just think: You would not want a rotor-rooter guy doing your heart bypass surgery. No reason to think a game show host would make a good President.

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#301214 - 05/14/17 07:27 PM Re: How is Trump President?! [Re: pondering_it_all]
TatumAH Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/18/11
Posts: 379
Loc: Upstate NY
Can it happen here?

Can It Happen Here?
You bet!
Tat

This is a clear moment of crisis for Americans, says Atlantic senior editor David Frum. “We are living through the most dangerous challenge to the free government of the United States in decades,” he explains in this video. What can people do when Congress refuses to check the president, civil unrest fuels his agenda, and he uses Twitter to stifle dissent? Read more in The Atlantic’s March 2017 cover story, “How to Build an Autocracy.”
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There's nothing wrong with thinking
Except that it's lonesome work
sevil regit

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#301215 - 05/14/17 09:22 PM Re: How is Trump President?! [Re: NW Ponderer]
matthew Offline
newbie

Registered: 03/24/16
Posts: 277
'
I remember a posting here about nine years ago which seems to have been borne out by our recent history:

LINK

Quote:
As I recall from my political indoctrination ---- I mean, my civics classes ---- the world-view of the framers of the Old Constitution was distinctly jaundiced, and that they assumed that people who sought power were not to be trusted. That is why there were so many "checks and balances" in the first place. In this, at least, they showed some acumen. But,

tempora mutantur, nos et in illis mutamur.
[Times change, and we change with them]

The crude and simple-minded safeguards in the Old Constitution may have been adequate for the unsophisticated, agrarian America of the 18th century, but they are ludicrously deficient in a 21st century society which is technologically complex, dominated by vast, soulless aggregates of monopolistic power, and where militarism and ruthlessness are sedulously cultivated in both the rulers and in their pawns. The Constitution has failed, is failing and will fail ever more disastrously as time goes by. Within the next ten years, I predict that its utter inanity will be apparent even to the astute commentators here on Capitol Hill Blue.

emphasis added
.
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#301219 - 05/15/17 02:48 PM Re: How is Trump President?! [Re: NW Ponderer]
NW Ponderer Offline
Moderator
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 15381
I remember several threads dominated by our curmudgeonly friend. I also remember the frustration of the time trying to address how we should remedy the alleged defects. As my opening indicated, I agree there are defects in the process that should be remedied. I identified a few: winner take all, delegate distribution, State manipulation thereof. Some of these can be remedied with statutes, but ultimately it requires wide understanding of the problems and the seriousness of the threat. Then public pressure can be brought to bear on solutions.

Unfortunately, many of the problems are not legal issues, but social defects. Parties in the political process, like corporations in the economic sphere, can be useful tools for organizing - but are also objects used for abuse when their underlying purpose is distorted. This election was a prime example. Neither party "stood for" things in a way that the populace accepted so an unrepresentative demagogue was able to step in and usurp the machinery. The Russian-Trump connection is strong because neither represented the interests of the nation (neither still do).

Bulwarks need to be erected to prevent a recurrence, but one has to be careful not to damage the substructure and foundations in the process.
_________________________
A well reasoned argument is like a diamond: impervious to corruption and crystal clear - and infinitely rarer.

Here, as elsewhere, people are outraged at what feels like a rigged game -- an economy that won't respond, a democracy that won't listen, and a financial sector that holds all the cards. - Robert Reich

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#301221 - 05/15/17 04:53 PM Re: How is Trump President?! [Re: NW Ponderer]
Ma_Republican Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/12/04
Posts: 6440
Loc: USA
The answer to the question, for me anyway, is simple. The choices sucked and somebody had to win. My vote was wasted here in the Peoples republic of Massachusetts, but I will bet my reasoning follows along with many right leaning voters; Hillary could not be allowed to appoint a Supreme Court Justice. Hillary was actually fairly business friendly. and while she used the you tube video Innocence of Muslims, that just proved that she had no honor and that she would fit in in Washington.

Donald Trump is a moron! He is a perfect example of the Peter Principle and I still wouldn't want Hillary as POTUS. The US is divided and neither party is doing anything to change that situation. Americans are forced to decide between right or left, and America is usually a center right country. And even scarier, he might win a second term.

I lay the Don at the feet of fate, and fate is a bitch with a twisted sense of humor.

Tim
_________________________
A proud member of the Vast Right-wing Conspiracy, Massachusetts Chapter

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
Thomas Jefferson

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#301226 - 05/15/17 09:24 PM Re: How is Trump President?! [Re: Ma_Republican]
pondering_it_all Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 6853
Loc: North San Diego County
Quote:
America is usually a center right country


People like to think they are, but don't touch their Social Security, Medicare, USDA checks for farmers, public schools, highways, police, fire departments, etc. They assume Communism is evil, Socialism = Communism, and therefore everything Socialist is evil.

But government does a LOT of things they like, therefore "all those things they like" must not be Socialist. But they are.

Many people are Social Conservatives (but not a majority: IE. gay marriage, legal pot) but Economic Liberals.

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#301233 - 05/16/17 11:49 AM Re: How is Trump President?! [Re: pondering_it_all]
Ma_Republican Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/12/04
Posts: 6440
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: pondering_it_all
Quote:
America is usually a center right country


People like to think they are, but don't touch their Social Security, Medicare, USDA checks for farmers, public schools, highways, police, fire departments, etc. They assume Communism is evil, Socialism = Communism, and therefore everything Socialist is evil.

But government does a LOT of things they like, therefore "all those things they like" must not be Socialist. But they are.

Many people are Social Conservatives (but not a majority: IE. gay marriage, legal pot) but Economic Liberals.


I am a typical American. I am fiscally conservative and socially moderate to liberal. Gay marriage, who cares? Gay equality, well duh! I have been saying for years that gay rights should be a Republican issue, because it is about privacy and what people do is none of my business.

Social Security, it is supposed to be a trust fund. It has been raided and mismanaged, it is a slush fund for Congress and will eventually fail. But, on the positive side, I will probably get it, so I am pretty relieves. Schools/Education; a necessity and a national priority. More focus on the sciences would probably be a wiser use of funds, and teachers who teach and not preach, both on the left and the right. Medicare was supposed to take care of retirees, it has been corrupted. Roads and bridges should pay for themselves. Trade in America is practiced in cities and towns along those roads and without them the taxes that are collected would not exist. Pot, come on, who the hell cares if somebody smokes a joint? When I retire, one of the first things that I will do is roll a fatty. Fire and police have been around long before unions and the political power that has corrupted them.

Life in America is pretty cut and dried. There is the left who pander to the fringe of society and the right who pander to the great unwashed. Neither side has America’s best interests at heart, they all have an angle to play so they can get rich and powerful. Trump got elected because he was not part of that crowd. I am not a Donald guy, much to the outrage of many of my friends. He is too reactionary, too quick to respond, too quick to take offense. He should be better than what he has shown, but maybe he is playing everybody for the fools that we are? Either way, he has appointed one justice, and there is an outside chance that he could appoint 1, 2 or 3 more. It is SCOUS that makes the difference in America. Congress is just a bunch of hucksters who are playing their angle and getting rich off of the backs of their constituencies.
As long as he doesn’t blow up the world, then he is worth the investment.

Tim
_________________________
A proud member of the Vast Right-wing Conspiracy, Massachusetts Chapter

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
Thomas Jefferson

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