Friday, October 14, 2016

Why Trump Shouldn't Win

I have been extremely supportive of the Trump campaign. I was defending Trump fairly early on in the election, during the primaries, when it was almost a social taboo to do so. Almost everyone who supported him was sort of in the closet about it. While I now see Trump sign and bumper stickers all over the place, back then I just never saw them. It was very rare and memorable to see a Trump yard sign. People were called racist, had their vehicles vandalized, even lost their jobs for openly supporting Trump.

So many probably think of me as someone who supported Trump fairly early and eagerly (although very early I was supporting Bernie Sanders). And people seem to interpret that as me claiming that a Trump presidency would be a great thing, or even the best thing. But if you dig through my history, you'll see that, I believe, I don't really make those claims. The bulk of my support has been defensive. Defending him against baseless claims of his personal hatred for other groups of people, or exaggerations, or the simple fact that most of the establishment media, political, corporate, and other forces are openly hostile towards him. Anything negative to Trump gets amplified ten times over, and anything positive to Trump is heavily downplayed, hedged against, or, most often, ignored entirely. So my attempt has always been to do my small part to bring some balance to the situation, to share things that people aren't seeing in the news, but should be. If the media did its job, there would be no need to say much at all. Whatever you might think of Alex Jones, he really hit the nail on the head when he called his website InfoWars. Because we are embroiled in some serious informational warfare, whether you like the fact or not.

So my stance has been in standing against a massive propaganda machine that is so threatened by Trump it has lost itself ability to conceal itself. I supported Bernie Sanders for the same reason. I actually disagreed with him on most issues (but strongly agreed on a few major issues). I am now of the conviction he is an absolute disgrace and failure. But Trump has not been. He is taking on the establishment, and he is winning. People have sort of taunted me that I will be quite miserable when he inevitably loses in November. But that's not true. For the following reasons.


People who assume that I will be very happy if "my team" wins, and very miserable if not, seem to have an internalized the team mentality themselves, and they are projecting it on to everybody else. These are the people who will be miserable if Trump wins, who go as far as saying they will leave the country. On the other hand, they will gloat as if in personal victory over Trump. I suspect a number of taunts in this case, which I will mostly find amusing.

The truth is my emotional state has very little dependency on the outcome of the election. I have always voted against the system. I've never voted for a major party candidate in the general election. Not once. I've never voted for any President ever. Not in the primary, not as US Senator from Illinois, nothing. Why do people think I will be upset when the establishment candidate I dislike gets elected? That's just the way it's always been for me. If it was terribly upsetting to me, I'd do what so many seem to do, and bet on the winning horse. 

I anticipate some comments to the tune of, "haha, I guess you were wrong about your boy Trump." As if every argument I've made is somehow invalidated by verdict of the mob. We can assume 3 things about anyone who makes such a remark (and those who think them, but are quite so brazen to say so): (1) They have adopted a team mentality to politics, (2) they are emotionally invested in the outcome of the election, and (3) they consider group consensus to be the ultimate measure of correctness, rather than epistemological approaches. 


A number of months ago, when it seemed Bernie was going to be endorsing Hillary, I wrote an appeal to Bernie supporters. In that post (which I believe I never promoted, given its low view count) I had to assure the reader that my suggestions, such as supporting Stein instead of Clinton if you were a liberal who couldn't bear Trump, were not ill-intended. I wasn't saying those things just to help get Trump elected. In fact, if I was going to let the non-virtuous side of me show, I would actually promote Hillary!

The reason is that I loathe our federal government. I think it's incompetent, corrupt, it lives way outside the scope of the US Constitution, and it doesn't represent the typical citizen. I'm something of a nihilist when it comes to our federal government. I see it as inherently evil, so anything bad that happens to it is a good thing. I like to think of it in terms of this great programming post: broken gets fixed, but crappy lasts forever. (Although in the case of societies, crappy eventually fails spectacularly). There's not really a whole lot Donald can do. Surely he can repair our foreign policy, but there's not much he can do about our economic issues. The most he can do is maybe buy us some more time on a sinking ship. (And as I've indicated, the longer it stays crappy, the worse it'll be when it breaks.)

I think Clinton will be a catastrophe as a president. Foreign wars, widespread and almost open corruption, rewarding of key positions based on bribes rather than merit. She will poke holes in the sinking ship, get the whole thing good and broke. For this reason alone, I almost want to see Hillary elected, but not quite. 

Self Interest

But pure self-interest is pushing me towards favoring a Hillary presidency. Let's assume I have something of a preferred agenda, which we all do. Let's assume that Trump generally reflects my agenda, or at least he's closer that could be reasonably expected. It seems pretty obvious that I would very much want Trump to win the presidency.

But this is no normal election. The entire establishment is hell-bent on destroying the frontrunner. Let's compare it to the election of Barrack Obama. He was generally hailed as a history-making candidate, he got enormous funding and support from Wall Street (which he paid back many times over), he was a media darling, and he got a huge benefit of the doubt from moderates who were not happy with the results of the Bush years, and America's appearance as something of an evil empire. And despite all that, he showed up to work, and got almost nothing done. The Republicans snubbed him where ever possible. He had vast establishment support, and still couldn't power through the normal petty partisanship in Washington.

By comparison, Trump is despised by the media almost entirely, he has no backing from Wall Street, the Democrats and media have managed to portray him as a bigot, as they colluded to, and he doesn't even have the full backing of his own party. The only thing he has is his own resources, and the backing of a plurality of the American people. But we know how much clout the American people carry in Washington D.C. (not a lot). So I know my agenda largely will not be carried out under Trump. The most we can hope for is logjam (usually the best we can hope for in Washington!). The exception to this is US foreign policy, over which the president has great control. And for that reason alone I would be all-in as a matter of self-interest, except....

The economy. The entire Obama presidency has been spent in a supposed economic recovery. They say we're still in recovery. But we're at 1% growth. That's no recovery. It's not even considered to be a good steady-state level of growth. During this time, spending has been out of control. National debt has doubled under Obama. That's after doubling under Bush. That is exponential debt growth! For those who fail at math, that is super very much bigly unsustainable debt growth. And there is no sort of corresponding economic growth. We have exponential debt growth, and anemic economic growth. It's like one of those word problems from school. "If Billy has zero wage growth and doubles debt every 8 years, how long until he ends up out on his ass?"

There are some rosy numbers coming from the government that are a bit questionable, such as unemployment and inflation. But what's really not being talked about is the Fed's interest rate of close to 0. We've had nearly free money for almost a decade. By the way, if someone ever tells you that the soaring stock market is proof of Obama's competent economic leadership, feel free to ignore that person, or call them an idiot. The stock market valuation is just a bubble blown up by the loose monetary policy. Think about it: the fed makes borrowing money artificially cheap, so there is lots of money. Where do people invest that money? In bonds or savings accounts with virtually no return? Of course not! They send it to the stock market.

It's become just a big casino, where everyone puts in their money because it's the only place to get a return, and assuming they can get out before they bubble pops (if they are even aware of the risks). When a typical investor buys stock, they aren't typically looking at the realistic valuation of that company (of course some do). They're just betting that other people will keep buying the stock too, and the nominal price of the shares will continue to increase. They aren't investing in a particular company so much as in public trust in the stock market as a place to grow money. Gee, does that sound like a certain real estate market prior to say, I dunno, maybe 2008? The market becomes more of a belief system than anything. A religion, almost. So when someone tells you that the high stock market prices are proof that Obama is a great president, just walk away from that person. Run if possible. They have not even a basic understanding of monetary economics, yet here they are pretending they do. What else do they pretend about? That there is no poison in that cup of wine? You can't trust these people.

The point of all this talk about economic indicators is this: I find it very likely we'll see a major economic correction during or maybe even before the next presidency. When this happens, not only will Trump's hands be tied to do a lot, but the establishment forces will do everything in their power to lay the blame directly on him, even if it has been a disaster long in the making. And they economy won't be all of it. We have an increasingly divided citizenry. I hold the opinion that we are one serious economic shock away from seeing something that looks like sectarian violence in this country (we already there to some extent).

So you almost look at this flaming dumpster fire of a country and have to ask yourself: why is anyone fighting to inherit this mess, which is all about to come crashing down? It seems something more like a hot potato that the two parties would be trying to pass off to the other. I'm becoming of the opinion that, as Trump engaged in his scorched-earth tactics, as he really lays fire to the establishment, and the Wikileaks cut all legitimacy from a Clinton presidency, maybe losing the election is the best long-term outcome.

If it weren't for the looming Supreme Court nominations, and the threat that the current path of the government is leading us to war with Russia, I would be fully convinced this is the correct outcome. As it is now, I'm a bit uncertain. But it very well may be the case that winning now opens the anti-establishment and alt-right conservative movement to a premature death. But if Trump all but destroys them, and they finish themselves off through exposure in another term in office (subject to the brunt of the economic failures and blowback from our disastrous foreign policy), I think that puts us in an excellent position for the pendulum to swing back very hard in the next few years.

UPDATE: this was meant somewhat as a devil's advocacy, and at his point I would back off the arguments almost entirely, save that the Trump will be blamed for economic failures under his watch. But that is the cost of winning, I suppose.

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