As each day passes, this political season gets weirder and weirder. Could anyone have predicted the rise and Teflon resiliency of Donald Trump? And who would have expected that a grumpy old socialist would have captured the minds of our next generation? It is still possible that common sense will prevail, but at the moment Trump’s nomination seems increasingly likely, while the only protection we have against Sanders’ ascendancy is solid black support for Clinton.
What characterizes the electorate on both sides of the political spectrum is not uncertain dissatisfaction with the status quo. Rather it is a deliberate drive for a new way, but with no clear and achievable destination in sight. This image captures the mood perfectly. Does anyone know where we are headed?
The wing nuts on the right and left have ready solutions for every problem, and their supporters accept them without thought or question. I have cited one of my favorite H. L. Mencken quotes before, but it bears repeating: “Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.”
It is hard to believe that even Trump himself believes much of what he says. A lot of it is extemporaneous and motivated by the sound of a cheering audience. Upon later reflection, he often recants. Killing families of Islamic terrorists? Well, no. Don’t worry, we won’t violate both U.S. military rules and international law after all. The important subject of immigration and border security remains his largest compendium of childish nonsense.
In Bernie’s case, there is absolutely no doubt that he believes every word he says. He has been saying precisely the same things for decades. His is a form of Justice Scalia’s originalism transposed into the political arena. For Bernie, there are eternal truths and universal prescriptions. When visiting Flint, Michigan to view the tainted water disaster, his prescription is the same as it is for every issue: “Spend whatever is needed to fix the problem and improve everyone’s lives. And by the way, break up the big banks.”
I confess that Election 2016 amuses me, even though this is real life and the possible consequences are frightening.