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Thread: Root causes

  1. #1
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    Root causes

    If you aren't happy with your choices this election season, give a little thought to how we got here.

    What causes an election to come down to two very unpopular candidates? How does that happen, and can it be avoided?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norm dePlume View Post
    If you aren't happy with your choices this election season, give a little thought to how we got here.

    What causes an election to come down to two very unpopular candidates? How does that happen, and can it be avoided?
    Not with the present two party charade. The underbelly is now exposed for all but those that choose to be blind to it. Career politicians benefit from politics as usual and the level of protective corruption prevents consequences for actions that would imprison any of us. There is no trust of the system any longer in the vast majority of Americans.

    I doubt if Trump were to get elected that he would appear to be a career Republican politician. Even if he doesn't get elected he has shown ow unhappy so many Americans are with this system. Of course, we are just the deplorable ones.
    If it pays, it stays

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    One bit of food for thought:

    Prior to the 1984 presidential elections, the two candidates confronted each other on television in what were called "debates." These events were not in the least like the Lincoln-Douglas debates or anything else that goes by the name. Each candidate was given five minutes to address such questions as, What is (or would be) your policy in Central America? His opposite number was then given one minute for a rebuttal. In such circumstances, complexity, documentation and logic can play no role, and, indeed, on several occasions syntax itself was abandoned entirely. Is is no matter. The men were less concerned with giving arguments than with "giving off" impressions, which is what television does best. Post-debate commentary largely avoided any evaluation of the candidates' ideas, since there were none to evaluate. Instead, the debates were conceived as boxing matches, the relevant question being, Who KO'd whom? The answer was determined by the "style" of the men -- how they looked, fixed their gaze, smiled, and delivered one-liners. In the second debate, President Reagan got off a swell one-liner when asked a question about his age. The following day, several newspapers indicated that Ron had KO'd Fritz with his joke. Thus, the leader of the free world is chosen by the people in the Age of Television.
    -Amusing Ourselves to Death, by Neil Postman
    I think this year's spectacle is a direct descendant of the effect he describes here. Political process (and, well, every bit of news and every issue) being framed as entertainment. Attention spans have only gotten shorter. The competition for attention has only gotten more crowded. Long-form treatment of the issues has become even less profitable, and therefore less common. Societal ADHD has become normal to the point that we don't perceive it anymore and mostly don't consider that things were ever any different. And so what we get is not the most thoughtful contest for president, but the most entertaining one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostbit View Post
    Not with the present two party charade. The underbelly is now exposed for all but those that choose to be blind to it. Career politicians benefit from politics as usual and the level of protective corruption prevents consequences for actions that would imprison any of us. There is no trust of the system any longer in the vast majority of Americans.

    I doubt if Trump were to get elected that he would appear to be a career Republican politician. Even if he doesn't get elected he has shown ow unhappy so many Americans are with this system. Of course, we are just the deplorable ones.
    I believe that two-party domination stems from the structural effects of our voting system. If there are three people in an election -- your first choice, your second choice, and your worst choice -- and your first choice is third-party, you are forced into a strategically dubious proposition. By voting your first choice, you are most likely helping your worst choice. If the system worked differently, if you could vote your first choice without hurting your second choice, more people would be inclined to vote their first choice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norm dePlume View Post
    I believe that two-party domination stems from the structural effects of our voting system. If there are three people in an election -- your first choice, your second choice, and your worst choice -- and your first choice is third-party, you are forced into a strategically dubious proposition. By voting your first choice, you are most likely helping your worst choice. If the system worked differently, if you could vote your first choice without hurting your second choice, more people would be inclined to vote their first choice.
    Exactly why I had no fear voting Libertarian here in Alaska.
    If it pays, it stays

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostbit View Post
    Exactly why I had no fear voting Libertarian here in Alaska.
    That's not exactly the case. Your vote for a Libertarian does help Clinton and hurt Trump (assuming he's your second choice). It's just that he's far enough ahead in Alaska that his campaign can easily afford that amount of damage. But that's not the case everywhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norm dePlume View Post
    That's not exactly the case. Your vote for a Libertarian does help Clinton and hurt Trump (assuming he's your second choice). It's just that he's far enough ahead in Alaska that his campaign can easily afford that amount of damage. But that's not the case everywhere.
    Exactly my point.
    If it pays, it stays

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostbit View Post
    Exactly my point.
    Same here in Alabama. I mentioned this on another forum but I really think Trump will get 90% of the vote in Alabama. He has seen tremendous, yuge success here because these people are mostly idiots.

    Our current two major party choices are definitely the exposed seedy underbelly of our election setup. Hillary Clinton is THE establishment candidate, the safe, (somewhat) charismatic bet whose troubled past is a problem… But her supporters are a mix of the willfully ignorant and the ones who think it's worth the risk over the unknowns like Webb, O'Malley or Sanders.

    Donald Trump obviously represents the polar opposite of establishment. He is the F-U to that very notion. His supporters are willing to overlook his numerous character flaws just because he isn't a Washington insider. It's become this big battle of terrible people fighting each other to make the opposite look even worse, instead of marketing themselves as people who have ideas and visions of their own.
    “Any sufficiently advanced capitalism is indistinguishable from rent seeking.” ~ =j

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norm dePlume View Post
    If you aren't happy with your choices this election season, give a little thought to how we got here.

    What causes an election to come down to two very unpopular candidates? How does that happen, and can it be avoided?
    Two candidates with very high negatives? No doubt our discovery in recent decades that negative advertising really "works," and that the key is to produce greater negativity than your opponent. The most negative wins.

    It won't be avoided until it doesn't work. That seems like a tall order just now, but you never know. Nothing seems as immutable as the present moment, yet nothing could be more illusory.

    Many other factors come into play to produce today's particular combination, of course. A lot rides on the unique biographies of the nominees. But that's a different topic.

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    Maybe the division on the role of government is a reality and one side is too blind to see that it didn't work.

    But please let's make this about social models, skin color, TV, and the media that was totally in the tank for her.

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