In addition to asking Hillary Clinton if she would eat that there snack cracker in her special outfit for you, a number of thoughts have probably never crossed your mind. Far receded among those is almost certainly:
Great article in today’s Washington Post!
Though periodically something of actual value percolates up from the soup. That was the case with this piece. If you are looking for teasers to Star Wars 8: The Jedi’s Chronic Priapism, I’d recommend giving it a pass. But those willing to invest in a lengthy insider’s narrative about the winding Republican election war will find it interesting.
It begins approximately a year ago, and weaves through the political calculations and contortions each candidate performs in jockeying for rank. It’s far too long too quote here, even as excerpt. Though a few points were worth noting.
Donors are the constituents
Few are likely still mesmerized by the concept of citizen statesmen, though this should disabuse any remaining. The candidates run for election by donors, with voting just a linear expression of earlier won dollars. Imagine if the electoral college were decoupled entirely from the popular vote. Candidates would have no cause to consider even pissing on the plebes. They would grovel their appeals directly to the few true decision makers. And in ancient antiquity, this was precisely the process. Way back in the time of BT, Before Trump.
For the culpable, Who/Whom is inconceivable
Many candidates sought to position (that is to say market, like a laundry detergent) themselves as an outsider who would Take back America. Unfortunately, a slogan is as deep as their minds were willing to dive into this concept. Take back America for whom, from whom? There are answers to these questions (to ourselves and our posterity), but not ones Adelson is prone to entertaining. Thus the notion was left completely unfertilized and died in the field, only a gesture to remain. It’s as if these men thought clasping both hands over their heads with a winning smile would just as well secure the blooming dissident vote. My God, I said ‘Take back America.’ What do they want, a country like their parents had? It’s just crazy out here!
Diversity ensures political misery
A significant, and only alluded to, component of often-cited public disdain for Washington is the friction now inherent in America’s demographics. A homogenous population features a very steep political bell curve; its slopes being relatively close to the vertical apex. A diverse population is much flatter, with slopes far from the center pole. The result is that whatever position a pol selects on any given topic, many more people will be at much greater distance from it, and thus highly vexed at his decision. What’s key is that this applies no matter what position he takes. Exactly what policy positions would we expect to be shared by a rice-paddy Chinaman and a khat-gnawing Somali? Hey, I know: We both come to America!
Know your business
I’ve written previously on the criticality of understanding what business you are in. It’s actually confused far more often than you would imagine. In the linked example, the Abbot Downing Company thought they were in the stagecoach business, and offered brilliant innovations in making the highest quality models available. But the company perished because stagecoaches weren’t at all their business. Rather, they were in the transportation business, and the finest stagecoaches in the world couldn’t compete with automobiles.
The article repeatedly (and no doubt unwittingly) highlights candidate failures to understand their true business. Instead they have substituted process (fundraising, media management, inoffensiveness, and OODA Loops) for result. Even in the face of mounting voter fury, they continued building political stagecoaches because that is all they knew to do. Trump eschewed prescribed process entirely and simply pursued the underlying business: attracting voter support. And to the surprise of many, constituents are responding to the only candidate addressing their concerns. Sorry JEB, but you aren’t in the super-PAC business.
So go read the piece if inclined. Though before getting too giddy about the Post’s quality output, consider the adjacent article is a meditation on how something called Iggy Azalea’s affected black accent is, well, highly problematic. As the Earth settles quietly back into its orbit.