Monday, January 30, 2017

Midterm Elections

Since I live in New York, with no Trump apologists likely to run in my district, I plan to vote for as many sane, capable Republicans as I can find in the midterms. Here's why:

If Trumpism makes moderates rebound to the extreme left for comfort and revenge, we'll just keep repeating the vicious cycle, swinging the pendulum endlessly to reciprocal extremes. The country does not need a Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein at this point. We need Jack Kemps. Politicians who are decent and bland and boring and centrist (and whose policies we can pleasantly rail against, per normal, knowing our institutions of government will be safe in any event).

We tried forcing Hillary Clinton (who I came to believe would have been a very capable president) down the throats of half our fellow Americans - who, for whatever reason, despised her. And we see what happened there.

Considering all the hysteria on the left, I understand that I am being especially contrarian here. But I refuse to be trolled into confronting extreme with extreme. As I'd tell a rabid Trump supporter: the country's more important than individual emotions.

My father always told me to aim for win/win resolutions to conflicts and negotiations. Whenever possible, leave the other guy happy, too. This will be my voting strategy from here on out. Leave the other side happy (though not necessarily thrilled and delighted). Let's never offer another Hillary Clinton again...not that there was anything wrong with her, not that she wouldn't have been a good president, but because I don't want to support a leader who feels like a stick-in-the-eye to half the country.

Yes, it goes without saying that half the country will inevitably be annoyed, irritated, and geared up to defeat any given candidate...and that the tribal echo chambers will concoct phony reasons for hating anyone on a given ticket. But, still, c'mon people. We knew how Middle America felt - has always felt - about Hillary Clinton. And we put her out there anyway, 'cuz...fuck those people.

That's not a great stance. I didn't appreciate having my legitimate concerns about Trump steamrolled by a base that thinks "fuck those people." I actually like Rust Belt blue collar males between 35 and 55, and am happy to share a country with them, and believe their preferences and concerns matter, even when they strike me as ignorant. Democracy does not mean the smartest ideas win, it means people and ideas I disagree with get a shot. Sometimes we lead, sometimes we ride. Either way, fuck nobody!

So I believe we need a sane Republican party (or whatever party arises to represent America's sane, moderate right wing) way, way more than we need Democratic victory (and I'd feel the same even if I were more of a fan of Democratic ideology). So I'm all about focusing on that.

Please, Lord, bring us another boring Gerald Ford (even if it means another shifty pardoning).


Richard Stanford said...

I actually really like this conceptually, but does it make sense as much since these days we have almost complete party-line control? The idea that people in Congress would vote their district rather than their party seems to be dying off, which is a real shame.

Jim Leff said...

Sure, but that means we must find/encourage/support those who lean this way. And hold them to it! Non-capitulated moderate right wingers are desperately looking for a pathway. Let this be it: conciliation. Evan McMullin is trying to foment an indie party based on this [} and I'm considering supporting. He believes lots of things I don't believe, but, to repeat myself, times like this make me seek coalition with patriots on existential issues.

I'm definitely not going to overlook politicians oriented this way because I hate Trump so so so so much that I staunchly stand behind whoever's most stridently anti. That's the cheap way to oppose, and it will clearly be the default. A Michael Moore is absolutely irrelevant at this moment. I don't want to hear a word out of that guy's mouth (though he's as free to speak as anyone). I don't want to keep bouncing between agitated extremes. I want conciliation, and I want it worse than ever. Let's make America great again by making it BORING again. Virtue should triumph not by glittering, but by boring [}

One question is whether the diehard Randians, who want to beat gov to a pulp, and the diehard Trumpians, who want to shake it up and see what happens, are to be in any way accommodated. I think they're both inherently too fanatic and extreme to compromise even if we wanted to.

Display Name said...

um Jim? Please please tell me you took your most recent post down yourself? Was going to comment but it is gone.

James Leff said...

Ha. Yeah. Here's the update (which I posted to FB, where the posting circulated a bit):

Re: my last postings about tomorrow's leaked cyber security order:

I was alerted to this issue by the twitter feed of Louise Mensch, a respected journalist followed and friendly with a wide swathe of even more respected mainstream journalists and political operatives.

She seems to be back-pedaling on the seriousness of this particular executive order. It's still bad (it deprecates FBI participation, which is likely the part that had her alarmed), and includes various privacy atrocities. It's certainly not a good thing.

....but I may have jumped too soon in ratcheting up my alarm this high. Mensch is one of the 12 or so commenters who's generally been smart and well-reasoned, so I jumped when she did, but I probably should have awaited corroboration (especially since I've been urging people not to freak out over every bit of drama).

Stay tuned, and I'm sorry if it turns out that I did jump the gun.

James Leff said...

FWIW, I also just posted this to FB (a bit too chatty for a Slog post):

I have this weird feeling that we've reached a tipping point. Not that our cries of anguish have done any good, but the Trump admin appears to be eating itself. The leaks are accelerating wildly. Liars, assholes, and kooks of this magnitude, thrown together on such an ad hoc basis into such a pressurized situation, are never going to play well together, especially under a "boss" viscerally unwilling/unable to foster team harmony.

The smart money says Flynn is all but gone, that Priebus is being thrown under a bus, and I don't find it hard to believe, per the following Vanity Fair article, that religious Jew Kushner isn't seeing eye to eye with white supremacist-curious President Bannon (who, among other feats, cajoled The Donald to make a statement for Holocaust Remembrance Day that didn't mention Jews (because, it seems, "All Lives Matter"). Here's the article (which focuses on other points of feuding):

This is a raggedy collection of hacks, everyone's got a huge ego, no one but Bannon is motivated by real conviction, and I'm getting the sense that team Trump will be the downfall of team Trump (and it may happen sooner than we expect).

There's a certain turning point past which Ryan/Mcconnell will feel confident enough to act upon their latent Pence pref. No one knows where that point is, but while I'm no mathematician, I think I can recognize an exponential progression...

Display Name said...

Thank you Jim. I'll sleep a little better now. /hugs my little

JB said...

I hope you overreacted on the next EO--let's see. See the numbers on Trump approval among GOP identified voters, not likely too many legislators are going to put country over party/self unless that swings.

James Leff said...

Expect nothing from GOP. They're hamstrung.

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