The Dream Café

Steven Brust: “A masterful storyteller of contagious glee and self-deprecating badassery” —Skyler White

A Response to the Anti-Trump Petition

| 31 Comments

I’ve received a request to sign this petition of writers against Trump. There can be no question of my opposition to Trump and all he stands for: his appeal to ignorance and bigotry, his threats to carry out war crimes, his efforts to generate hatred of immigrants, his overt jingoism.  I would go so far as to say that Trump is the first major politician of my lifetime who can be accurately characterized as, if not a fascist, certainly fascistic; this becomes more clear as we see him whipping up his supporters to commit acts of violence against those who oppose him.

Nevertheless, I cannot, in good conscience, sign the petition. When I read, “Because we believe that knowledge, experience, flexibility, and historical awareness are indispensable in a leader,” I am forced to ask: a leader of what, leading for what purpose, in whose interest, and in what direction? This indicates to me that the petition is not merely against Trump, but can and will be used to support someone who, to those using the petition, would be a better choice to, “speak for the United States, to lead its military, to maintain its alliances, or to represent its people.”

And here is the problem. When you say, “lead its military…represent its people” this contains an implication that it is possible to do both. In other words, that the Bush-Obama war, with its war crimes and murders of civilians (openly and publicly supported by Senator Sanders, and with which Secretary Clinton has been actively complicit) is the will of the American people, which I cannot and will not accept. In addition, it implies that this war is not the problem, but rather the problem is how it is carried out.

I have only respect for those of my colleagues who are horrified by Trump and what he represents—how can we not be? Furthermore, I am always encouraged by signs that we as writers are aware of and involved with the political questions that matter so deeply to our future. And yet it seems to me that we need to take a closer and more critical look at what is being done here. It is all very well to be “anti-Trump.” But if being anti-Trump means support for the Democratic Party whose administration has overseen, in the last 8 years, more deportations (especially of children) than any other administration in history, has encouraged and justified the murder of the poor and minorities by police, has created the greatest income disparity in history, has continued illegal rendition and torture, has bombed more civilians than Bush dreamed of, has retreated before the religious right’s attacks on freedom at every opportunity, then one must ask: why are we doing this?

There is nothing in the petition that prevents it from being used to rally support for Clinton or Sanders, both of whom are defenders of capitalism. But it is capitalism itself, and its insoluble crisis, that has produced Trump as a staph infection might produce a boil. However painful and unsightly the boil, the problem is the infection.  This petition is part of what seems to be a growing “anti-Trump” movement, and of course, the impulse behind this movement is laudable and healthy. But if it becomes a movement in support of the Democratic Party, and especially of Hillary Clinton who is close to sewing up the nomination, then it is useless at best, and will play into Trump’s “anti-establishment” narrative at worst.

You appeal to me as a writer. Yet isn’t our highest goal as writers to lay bare the contradictions that are concealed within the relations of everyday life? To denounce Trump without also denouncing the other candidates of the capitalist parties—that is, the parties that support wars of aggression, the militarization of the police, domestic spying, persecution of whistle blowers, torture, and war crimes, all of which have been carried out by both major parties, and none of which have been opposed by any major candidate—is not to reveal the truth, but to conceal it.

And to those who insist that some Democratic politician is a “lesser evil” and (as people so often do) bring up Hitler and Nazi-ism, it is worth remembering that Hitler was defeated in the election of 1932 by a coalition organized by those who thought anyone was better than Hitler. The Nazis, in other words, were “lesser eviled” all the way into power. If when someone says Trump you hear Hitler, than when someone says Clinton you ought to hear Hindenberg.

No, I do not support Trump. Nor do I support the imperialist wars, militarized police, domestic spying, movements toward war against Russia, provocations against China, restrictions on reproductive rights, poisoning of water supplies, and attacks on basic rights that are the legacy of the Democratic Party as well as the Republican. Are the two parties different? Certainly. They represent different sections of the ruling class, and different approaches for how best to preserve and defend capitalism, and the very bitterness of the conflict between them indicates how deep runs the crisis, how insoluble are the problems. But I am not interested in picking which candidate will do a better job of preserving the system that is oppressing and murdering my brothers and sisters. If you offer me that as a choice, I vote “no.”

I believe that only the unity of working people, immigrants, the unemployed, the poor, and all of the oppressed, fighting under a socialist program directly against the two parties of big business, can provide any sort of way forward. The candidacy of Donald Trump represents all of the filth, degeneracy, and despair of capitalism in its death agony; the Democratic Party candidates who oppose him represent different policies to accomplish the same goal, and it is the goal itself, continuing the system of war and oppression, that I oppose.

In November, I will be voting for Jerry White and Niles Niemuth of the Socialist Equality Party. I urge everyone who is as appalled as I am by, not only Trump, but by the criminal and inhuman system that produced him, to do the same.

skzb

Author: skzb

I play the drum.

31 Comments

  1. Steve’s statement is entirely correct and extremely well stated Thanksl

  2. @OP

    I find myself in agreement with you regarding the outrage that we both feel towards what we perceive to be the injustices of the world. The existence of those things is a call to arms, and, in some potential futures, that might become frighteningly literal.

    But when you talk about the “unity of working people”…that’s where the sentiment breaks down for me.

    The “working people” is a giant myth; it’s cherry-picking characteristics of a vastly diverse population and implying/assuming that this one trait or set of traits is enough to homogenize them into a single collective, ie, that everyone in that population will assign the same priority to the same characteristic as the speaker does. And this is just so not how things work.

    The guy who froths at the mouth at black people getting too uppity, and the guy who advocates for social equality etc can BOTH be “working people” who would, presumably, be members of this same collective.

    That’s never going to happen. Those two people will NEVER be in agreement with one another. They’ll probably not even be able to be in the same room together. But the socialist/communist/trotskyist or whatever system revolves around these two people getting into lockstep.

    It’s not enough, in other words, to agree on what the problem is (which we currently don’t seem to be able to do). The REAL challenge is getting everyone to agree on what the solution is.

    It might be possible for them to do so, but if they do, it’s going to be because they’re FORCED to, and they will, at the earliest opportunity, disintegrate into factions, leaving a vacuum into which something like our current broken system will rush in. So, for example, it happened during the 30s. And people got into lockstep, or at least, enough of a lockstep, to accomplish the World War in the 40s. And then again in the 60s, we decided to move, as a nation, to put a man on the moon. Right now, our attention is focused on other things. We don’t have a unifying goal. We don’t even have a unifying THREAT right now, that could cause us to get into lockstep together. Terrorism, for all of its prominence in the zeitgeist, has never been a real threat to us. Regardless of whether or not we buy into the hype, I think deep down we all recognize that the actual threat it poses to us as individuals is vanishingly small.

    But yes, our system is broken–that is because it is in its nature to be broken. Any conglomeration of people is going to adhere only so long as it needs to do so; after which point it will crumble. Our government, by definition, is a constantly growing, constantly crumbling thing, whose only means of getting anything done is to somehow grow faster than it crumbles. And the only way to do that is to pander to the greatest number of people. No one, I think, who spends any time thinking about it, expects those pandering election promises to stand once the election has been consummated.

    The best we can hope for, (that same hope that drives us to act/vote in a block) is that we get someone who THINKS like we do; who shares the same lens. This person will view whatever crisis or crises occur on any given day with a preconceived set of biases, and those biases will be his/her default path by which they will approach resolving those problems.

    Someone like Trump doesn’t THINK like us. He thinks…well, I don’t know what he thinks. But to me, the choice is clear; Bernie Sanders is the candidate (from the list of viable candidates) who most closely thinks like I do.

    The alternative, to choose a non-viable candidate, is to cede the current season in favour of a future one–one where the growing momentum of the non-viable candidate’s agenda eventually DOES represent a viable candidacy.

    And that’s the judgement call we make any given election: is this election an emergency election where we vote for a compromise candidate to avoid a catastrophe, or is this, as they’d say in the sports world, a “rebuilding” year (read: a year where things are gonna SUCK but hopefully next will be better).

    One of the problems that *I* have with our current system is that the politics has polarized to the point where *every* year is an emergency election; and THAT’s why I have a problem with the current system. The voice of the people has been drowned out and distorted by all the sirens. No one’s asking for who they WANT to ask for, they’re stuck asking for who they think they NEED to ask for in order to avoid disaster.

    That state of affairs must come to an end immediately.

  3. skzb

    Jon: Thank you for the thoughtful reply. What stands out in your remarks is this: “that everyone in that population will assign the same priority to the same characteristic as the speaker does.” In other words, then, what seems to be important to you, is the priorities, the thinking, the individual ideas of members of a group.

    But when I speak of the unity of the working class, I do not begin with their ideas, I begin with material conditions. They are not unified because they *think* the same, they are unified because what they have in common is that, in order to live, they must work to enrich another. What unifies them is that they have same problems, whether they individually recognize this or not. What unifies them is that none of them can solve these problems without the others. This gives them certain identical *interests* regardless of their belief or opinion on the matter at any given time.

    Looking only at the US, for a moment, ignoring the far greater evidence internationally, we see that the massive strikes waves of the 30s that led to the rise of the CIO, and the even larger, more massive strike wave after World War II, all of which produced concrete changes and improvements in the lives of all workers (the 8-hour day, unemployment insurance, welfare, food-stamps, social security, Medicare, &c &c), are proof that workers can and do unite in their common interests when circumstances force them to.

    The guy who froths at the mouth at black people getting too uppity, and the guy who advocates for social equality suddenly find themselves on the same picket line, confronting the same cops and the same National Guard and the same scabs, and discover that they have more in common than they had realized, and they work together, because they have to. (And, by the way, experience has taught us over and over again that THAT is how we fight racism, not by lecturing people; because when you’ve been in a war with someone, whether a foreign war or a class war, it changes your attitudes).

    I contend that the rise of Trump is an indication that circumstances–ie, the breakdown of capitalism–are forcing the working class in exactly that direction.

  4. Steve: Excellent reply, I think it neatly addresses all of my points. I particularly liked the picket line as a vehicle for ideological cross-fertilization–as uncomfortable as those conversations would be, they MUST be had, or else we will suffer as a culture. Indeed, I am mostly convinced that this is just what is happening now–the talking points are being spoken, but no one’s really listening–so there’s no real conversation, no real communication happening, for all the speaking that we’re doing. Brings to mind The Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel.

    That being said: I am all for unions, and workers strikes, and unleashing the power of the masses like Godslayer amongst the Jenoine–but I hate what unions inevitably become. Interacting with them leaves me feeling just as greasy/soiled as I do when interacting with their “opponents”. Given enough time, unions tend to become indistinguishable from the companies they’re supposed to be protecting the workers from. Still, I recognize the need for them on an ongoing basis–they provide a forum for a discussion that could become serious and legitimate at any moment–a forum for the voice of the people.

    Now read that above paragraph and replace “union” with “government”. And that’s why I’m not in complete agreement with you. The workers movement will ultimately devolve into business as usual. I’m much more interested in establishing a permanent shift towards greater kindness/humanity etc.

    It’s funny, because I was going to call you overly idealistic; inflexibly so, such that you would vote for a nobody candidate because he is saying what you most want to hear from a politician.

    But writing what I just did about a permanent shift…I wonder if perhaps *I’m* the hopelessly doomed idealist here…

  5. Steve, I was also given the opportunity to sign and chose not to. I am less skeptical about Sanders than you, so I saw the thing as a bald cry to rally behind the neoliberal candidate whose policies will be more harmful both at home and abroad for the working class.

  6. skzb

    Jon: I think we can work with that. 🙂 I have a lot to say about unions, and what they have become; and none of it is good. But I don’t want to get into that now.

    Will: Seems reasonable.

  7. “This petition is part of what seems to be a growing ‘anti-Trump’ movement, and of course, the impulse behind this movement is laudable and healthy. But if it becomes a movement in support of the Democratic Party, and especially of Hillary Clinton who is close to sewing up the nomination, then it is useless at best, and will play into Trump’s ‘anti-establishment’ narrative at worst.”

    For quite a while now there’s been a group of people (I hesistate to use the word movement, but maybe) identifying themselves as #NeverTrump. The conservative members of this group have adopted what’s become known as the Hamilton Rule, from a 1800 letter Hamilton wrote to Theodore Sedgwick. Opposing Adams, a member of his own party, he wrote:

    “For my individual part my mind is made up. I will never more be responsible for him by my direct support – even though the consequence should be the election of Jefferson. If we must have an enemy at the head of the Government, let it be one whom we can oppose & for whom we are not responsible, who will not involve our party in the disgrace of his foolish and bad measures. Under Adams as under Jefferson the government will sink. The party in the hands of whose chief it shall sink will sink with it and the advantage will all be on the side of his adversaries.”

    They despise Clinton, but they believe the conservativism can weather 4 – 8 years of her, while Trump would wipe it out for a generation.

  8. If ‘Conservatism,’ whatever that means, can survive the presidency of George W. Bush, it can survive anything.

  9. Oh, Kragar! I didn’t see you there 🙂

  10. If you ask me? Conservatism is a label for a phenotypic expression of a set of genetic predispositions (reliance on authority figures, fear of the new, fear of the other), that we all share but that are strongly expressed in roughly 30% of the population. As long as those traits provide some survival benefit to offspring, and they do, conservatism by some name will always be a part of human societies.

    No matter what evidence the world gives as to the overall utility of political philosophies that spring from those tendancies, people that have them in full measure will always rationalize away the results.

  11. Skzb:

    I agree with, well, at least the overwhelming majority of what you say (and am still trying to clearly formulate my reasons for not agreeing with the rest).

    Concerning voting, however, I do believe in being practical. A vote for a third party candidate, in a state where the Democrat can WIN… is a vote for the Republican. And while I TRULY want socialist candidates to receive as many votes as possible… I do NOT believe that a Trumpian distopian societal collapse will be ultimately beneficial.

    As bad as things are, we still have (something vaguely resembling) roads, a power grid, a means of exchanging and transporting goods and services. I do not believe a Constitutional crisis will result in a restoration of sanity. (I could be wrong.) In my humble opinion, we are infinitely more likely to go the Mad Max route of local warlords, all Ordained By God Himself, where any oasis of rationality would be quickly overrun by whoever had the most guns.

    Maybe that would still be a better deal for the bottom of the income scale. But I can’t wish for anarchy.

    My own (hopelessly naive) preferred route for moving forward involves changing how we vote. Not just publicly-financed elections (though that is important). But changing the actual methodology.

    As I said above, as things stand now, a vote for a third party is as good as a vote for the Republicans — but it doesn’t have to be that way. In Australia, they have instant-runoff voting. You rank your choices: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. If no candidate receives over 50% of 1st choices, whoever received the LEAST 1st choices is dropped, and those votes automatically get counted for their NEXT choice. Repeat until a candidate goes over 50%.

    This would allow us the “luxury” of voting the candidate we really want — knowing that our votes will fall back, if our preferred candidate doesn’t win.

    THAT is what we need in this country, and THAT is the battle I think we could fight for, WITHIN the current system. Yes, both parties would shriek like lunatics and use every trick to defeat it. But the Dems could be shamed into it, and with enough of a movement, I think it could work.

    (Precisely because it is MORE democratic and yet not DIRECTLY of aid to the poor, or either party, I think it could actually stand a chance. Convince the major parties to think of all those Libertarian/Socialist/Green votes they could recover when those parties don’t win! On the other, of course, some of us are hoping that many more people will be emboldened to vote third party, when there’s no penalty for doing so…)

    Anyway, that’s my wishful thinking on the topic…

  12. skzb

    Reed: Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Clearly, we differ on several points, which is all right; I appreciate that you took time to read the essay. The only issue I want to be insistent about is that I get the impression you think I am in favor of Trump coming to power. In fact, I am not. What I believe is that, if the ruling class decides it needs a Trump, it will see to it he is in power, whether elected or not, unless we stop him by means other than electoral, and that, in any case, a Clinton or a Sanders provides us no way forward against the disease of which Trump is the most palpable symptom.

    I also provide another link, which may address some of your points: http://dreamcafe.com/2015/08/03/the-fantasy-world-called-practical-politics/

  13. Reed, normally I would agree with you. You need to vote for the better of the two parties so you won’t get the worse one.

    But the two parties have got a deal going where they can both give us bad candidates that are increasingly worse, and we’re supposed to pick one. There’s no future in going along with that. We can’t take back the two parties from their current owners because they are the owners and they make the rules for how you get to take the parties from them.So I don’t see that there’s much choice but build new parties and try to get them strong. Or else give up and wait for the armed rebellions to start.

    You argue for IRV. I like that and also AV, which has many of the same virtues and some people like it better. I’ll go with whichever of them gets the more support. However, what that gives us is a system that is fairer, where third parties can get more support. It does not get us a system where third parties can win, except when the two main parties fall apart.

    I woke up from a dream and I’ll share how it felt. Imagine you have three parties. One of them is the Rare Meat party. They’re in favor of eating bloody beef. The second is the Warm Oatmeal party, which is kind of OK except the oatmeal has small amounts of a tasteless poison so you’ll gradually get sicker. The third party is the Balanced Meals party which offers healthy food.

    Close to half the voters want bloody meat. More than half don’t want that, but a lot of them don’t want any broccoli either. So the Balanced party gets maybe 1/3 as first choice with Oatmeal as 2nd choice, and then there are the voters with Oatmeal as first choice and nothing as second choice. You get to vote for the good stuff, and you get to feel good that you got 1/3 the votes instead of 1%, but you still don’t get to win.

    I don’t know what to do about that. Persuade the majority of voters to eat their broccoli along with their meat and grains because it’s good for them?

    I imagine the parties might possibly listen to arguments for IRV etc in their primaries. Trump might likely have lost early if he hadn’t been running against a bunch of opponents who split the vote against him. With something like IRV that might split delegates among the top two or three candidates, the losers’ votes would get split among the winners and the 60% or 70% that were not voting for trump would have looked more impressive. But I’m not sure that helps much, it mostly helps the parties look better.

  14. I, unlike my wife, hate Broccoli, but am concerned with a balanced diet. I don’t like these political analysis based on such analogies. An understanding of history and class dynamics examined globally is the only way to understand the current U.S. election crisis. That is the great value of Steve’s comment on the petition,

  15. “You need to vote for the better of the two parties so you won’t get the worse one.”

    Why vote for the lesser of two evils?

    https://cthulhuforamerica.com/reasons/
    He’s the candidate who can take on tough politicians, have them shived and dumped in the East River. But that’s not the only reason He should be our next president

    And for a slew of campaign posters:
    https://twitter.com/RealGDT/status/738040620355309569

  16. Octopodes are good & creepy, but the real competition will be between the Sweet Meteor of Death (smod2016) & Cthulhu.

    SMOD is very persuasive, and its campaign promises are exciting:

    “The problem is not Trump. The problem is that people are idiots. I will fix the problem. Permanently.”

  17. L. Raymond: “Why vote for the lesser of two evils?”

    Um, for the same reason that having cowpox is preferable to having smallpox?

    Even granting Steven’s stand on what is needed in the long run, electing a Trump in the short run does immeasurable, tangible harm to millions, if not billions of people, compared to what Hillary @#$%ing Clinton would be like. My love is not tough enough to put the world through that on principles.

  18. skzb

    A valid point, Dave. After all, that’s why the German left supported Hindenberg in 1932, to prevent exactly that. Think what might have happened if Hitler had won the election. It would have been terrible. :-Fe

  19. Ha, skzb, when Hitler wins an election you then have to resort to means outside of the polls, to be sure.

    But if you keep him out of power in the first place you don’t need to do that. And of course the various factionally-divided backbiting attempts to thwart Hitler after his election were destroyed despite the feeble covert Soviet assistance that was provided.

    I will refrain from reciting the tedious counterfactual consequences of stopping Hitler early. But if only the conventional political opposition to him had been more united a worldwide catastrophe might have been averted. Certainly all nonpolitical attempts to stop him failed until 1945.

  20. skzb

    Miramon: You may have missed the irony there. Hitler *lost* the election of 1932. Hindenberg won. That’s exactly the point.

  21. Er yes, skzb, I did miss it. Mea culpa 🙂

    Of course Hindenburg appointed Hitler. I knew that (okay, I forgot). But I really doubt that Sanders or Clinton will appoint Trump….

    Anyway, the general point of a unified political opposition being able to stop Hitler is still true despite that little lapse. Hindenburg wouldn’t have appointed Hitler if he could have avoided it, but the Nazis dominated the Reichstag and it was his function to make the appointment. With any kind of coherent political opposition (for example of the sort the French used to resist the Front National in their last election) the Nazis might not have had so many seats and Hitler wouldn’t have claimed the Chancellorship.

  22. The trouble with a unified opposition is that if you succeed, then you have to get some kind of agreement about what to do instead. And the very fact that you needed a “unified” opposition says that you don’t agree about that.

    So, like, imagine in 1932 the Communist Party and the rich aristocrats need to work together to stop Hitler. The Communists say “We are the major party in this coalition so everybody go along with our platform, we will take the personal wealth from everybody and seize the means of production, thank you agreeing to this rather than require us to defeat you in battle”. Other coalition members might hope that they could get a better deal from Hitler.

    After all, the biggest member of the coalition can point out that without them the worst guys will win. They are better than the worst choice, so wouldn’t you rather be ruled by them than by the worst? Others might feel that everybody should get a say. But it’s a reactionary coalition, a coalition *against* and they don’t have much in common beyond what they *don’t* want.

    That sort of thing is inherently unstable. It’s just hard.

    I’m not a historian and I don’t know how much that sort of thing was going on in 1932. But it does happen.

  23. Who is the present-day Hitler in this analogy? HRC or Trump? Trump may be warlike and unpredictable if he wins the U.S. Presidency. But we already know a president HRC will be dripping in blood, since she engineered the deaths and displacement of hundreds of thousands of people while Sec of State.

  24. Kragar:Dripping blood is not a trait reserved to fascists. Trump most closely resembles Mussolini, Hitler and other fascists due to his stances on racism, general xenophobia and definite hints of anti-democratic leanings (dismisiveness of judges and statements about the military following unconstitutional orders if given by him).

  25. My beautiful, beautiful man…I have sooooo much to say on this point.

    First, I am NOT a Trump supporter. Racism, sexism, ignorance and war crimes wrapped in a slogan does not make a political platform. It is warning sign, rhetorical vehicles aside, for tyranny. And in the case of war crimes…an indicator for investigators to get ready to prosecute, should he be elected.

    Now, Hillary Clinton was named the Democratic Nominee for President of the United States today/last night. She thinks the “bad actors” in the economic catastrophe of 2008 did nothing illegal. We have seen the senate hearings (some of us have, anyways). We have seen the authors of the books in interviews. We have seen insiders/whistle blowers testify/interviewed. And the story seems to be, the “bad actor” banks created unsound financial vehicles based sometimes on predatory loans to people that should have never received those loans, acted in collusion with the ratings agencies to get better ratings on those vehicles, sold those vehicles on the open market and then bet against those buyers knowing the “product” was bad. This is, at the very least, FRAUD and CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT FRAUD. Now, if I am thinking clearly about this, these are both prosecutable. And these acts are responsible for COUNTRIES going bankrupt. But Hillary Clinton feels she is not corrupted by the speaking fees she received from some of those companies.

    Hillary Clinton has also voted for the last two wars we were in (and didn’t those go smashingly well). She does not want to prosecute previous administrators for war crimes. She wants to continue the covert drone program. The same program that has a 90% accuracy in killing innocent people…while at the same time, not actually knowing the names of who they are killing. Plus, these drones a operating in countries that do not consent to having our drones strike targets in their country. She does not care about private money in politics. For those of you who do not know me, I am a black man from a black family. During the 90’s, she was calling my cousins “super-predators” and endorsing mandatory sentencing, which takes the decision of “punishment” out of the hands of the judge in the case. For all these reasons, plus a nature disdain for unrestrained arrogance, I cannot support Hillary Clinton.

    Now, I am nowhere near the end of the amount of things that I have to say about this…but the issue is the petition and I am looking at this for both nominees. Is the Constitution clear on who can run for President? Yes. Does the contestant meet those restrictions? Sadly, yes. Then they both go on the ballet. Whether anyone should vote for either of these sorry miscreants of our political process, that is another issue entirely.

    Where is Elizabeth Warren when you need her?

  26. skzb

    Well said, James.

  27. Back to voting systems —

    Trump won the GOP when he had around 30% of the GOP vote. Probably the majority of the GOP was solidly against him then. But there were a lot of opponents and no one of them could get much support. If all but one had dropped out for the good of the world, that one might have gotten 60%. But they didn’t drop out until they ran out of money and by that time it was too late.

    Suppose they had instead used Acceptance Voting. You vote for every one you think is good enough. Trump would still get his 30% and likely no more — I doubt there was anybody who thought Trump was 2nd best, they either thought he was the only one or they hated him.

    The others might have gotten anywhere between 5% and 60%. Many of them would have looked much stronger if people could also vote for their 2nd choice and 3rd choice. The candidates who didn’t have enemies would have tended to come out better, and Trump would not have come out better.

    The voting system they had, hurt the GOP. They could do better.

  28. J Thomas–

    The Republicans will change their nominating rules for next time. You will see greater restrictions for getting on the ballot, fewer allowed candidates, more closed primaries, earlier registration deadlines, more ‘superdelegates,’ and the like. The purpose of those new limitations will be to assure that no outsider like Trump ever even gets close ever again.

    The current nominating process and election laws for both corporate parties are rigged up so that only candidates who are proven, absolutely reliable servants of the .01% can make it through. The masters would never allow a list or weighted voting system because such a system puts far too much genuine control in the hands of the voters. You would have to completely overthrow the current power structure and start from scratch in order to have something like that. So let’s get to it.

  29. Kragar, I’m sure you’re right. This is though a good example of a situation that AV could probably handle better than the current voting system.

    I joined the Green party in the hope that they can eventually become a replacement for the Democrats, one that would push for changing the rules so that more parties can co-exist. I started getting messages from Green listserves etc. It appears there is a big controversy going on about a proposed amendment to their party platform. The amendment would make the party explicitly “anti-capitalist”. They say there are hundreds of potential Green Party members who say they will join the Green Party if it is explicitly anti-capitalist but not otherwise. It looks like it’s getting a lot of support. People are talking about how much better the party will be with hundreds of new members.

    From my perspective, looking for a democratic alternative to the Democrats, this looks pathetic. I’m trying to pay attention to individual members and get a sense of their point of view. They don’t want to be a mainstream party with lots of mainstream members. They want to be themselves.

    Also, I get the impression that Nader joined them to run for President and after he did that twice, they weren’t much better off after he dumped them than before he got involved. They might not be real eager to see more mainstream voters come slumming with them for awhile and then wander away. Getting hundreds of members who splinter off of tiny socialist parties might seem real in a way that millions of Democratic voters just do not.

    It might be necessary to completely start from scratch.

  30. I’m consistently amazed at how much I can both agree and disagree with you in politics. Trump is a horrible idea, but the alternatives are no better. Something has to be done about how we choose our leaders. Right now, nothing is good.

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