The USA chooses "mad" over "bad"

Clinton's campaign slogan of "I can give you more of the same policies from more of the same people" was trumped by the opposing slogan of "I can make everything get so amazingly better. USA! Hoorah!".    Who doesn't want "amazingly better" ?

Many insiders cannot understand why Obama did not follow the "House of Cards" script and get Syria to invade the USA to give Underwood....whoops....Clinton... a better chance.
Obama is being nice (for a few hours ?) as he and many others fear that the deep social and racial enmity that has grown so much during the Obama presidency may increase.
Trump is being nice (for a few hours ?) while he starts to make plans for an outcome he never dreamed of. Luckily, there was an episode of "The Apprentice" which was sort of similar.
Hold the presses..... #Democrats_votes_matter hastag is trending on twitter. Surely this is the most important story of the day ?

Seriously, there are just so many themes swirling around in the dust of this car crash of an election that it will take a while to see who hit who and where the bodies ended up.
Some first thoughts:
  • Clinton stood for nothing other than "more of the same", whereas Trump was a risky deal - but with a new deck of cards.
  • The press seems to have very few journalists that can report a story or evaluate a trend objectively. Most journalists and their organisations were intent on spending the whole election campaign vilifying Trump for his many past and present misdemeanours in a preachy effort to convince voters that Trump was unfit for office. They failed to understand that when most news outlets are reduced to partisan propaganda from one side or another, the public may not trust them as information sources, leaving only a "gut feeling" to guide their vote.
  • Issues that the press were not interested in such as recent Obamacare premium rises of 25%, terrorism in USA, immigration, racial conflict were of concern to different but overlapping voter groups in the USA.
  • Foreign relations: Despite USA military power and spending, US citizens may have felt that they got precious little from the investment either in terms of favorable trade from countries enjoying free protection, or, thanks for having US soldiers dying in various godforsaken places for what seemed (especially during the Obama years) for no effect.
  • Identity politics may have backfired on the democrats. Encouraging everyone to identify first as a black, gay, latino, white etc, instead of as a citizen of the USA, may have energised those who oppose this view to vote in higher proportions than those that might march through a street. Regardless of the political outcome, we need to fight against all identity politics as a corruption of the ideals of human solidarity.
Some second throughts:
  • demagoguery (argument appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than using rational argument) is a near universal attribute of politics AND that is increasingly used in all spheres of human communication: politics, press, social media and, yes, even dinner table conversations with friends.
    demagoguery comparing Trump to Duterte, ao the 1930's seem to me to be overblown and invitations to continue of the violent conflicts that we have already seen both in the streets of many US cities as well as at political rallies. Using phrases like "deplorables", "dumbf*ckistan" and "small town white and poorly educated" to describe trump voters seem to me to fail the test of reversal i.e. would you consider it rude for someone to call a muslim suburb "dumbf*ckistan" , or a black suburb "ghetto black and poorly educated" ?
    The best antidotes to the demagogue are (1) humour and (2) to try to maintain a dispassionate reasoned tone even in the face of invective. 
  • Alexis de Tocqueville often has the best summary.  The following quote is long, but is one of my favourites, and encapsulates what I hope many US voters were voting against:
    "Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications, and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent, if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks on the contrary to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness: it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances—what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living? Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range, and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things: it has predisposed men to endure them, and oftentimes to look on them as benefits."   Democracy in America, Volume II (1840): Book Two, ChapterVI.   See more at: Wikiquote
  • The press is no longer to be beleived when reporting or predicting.  The digital revolution is likely to continue to greatly weaken media that rely on aggregation of content to sell a prepared package of information. This includes newspapers, TV and radio stations. This dynamic is similar to the gradual fading of the music album compared to the purchase of specific songs groups decided by the individual.
    The hysteria and partisanship of Newspapers is partially based on this need to more closely bind the smaller and smaller audiences by feeding them what they already believe.
    I hope for the emergence of different models such as the purchase of stories individually enabling me to sample writers with a wide variety of expertise and opinion. At the moment, I can nearly do this for free, but sites are getting smarter at recording my return visits and asking me to buy a complete package - the newspaper subscription - in which I have no interest.
We live in interesting times.

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