23 May 2019

Some further ranting on culture and politics

On Wednesday's political post (please read it if you haven't already, or else this one won't make much sense), reader Ming left the following comment:

I don't disagree with any of that, but I truly resent the chaos, stupidity, and human suffering that goes with having low-information voters make the choices for the rest of us.

F---ing Trump. Really America?

Brief as it is, this raises a number of points that I really need to address.

First, my observation that political activists, bloggers, and so on are a small minority of the population, while most of the great mass of people are much more interested in pop culture than politics, shouldn't be taken as a denigration of the latter.  I hope I made this clear in the last paragraph of the earlier post.  I myself don't find politics nearly as inherently interesting as the quantity of political posts on this blog might suggest -- it's just that since politics is about who gets to hold power, it's important, meaning we need to engage with it even though it's a rather dreary subject.  Especially this far from the election (it's still 17 months), I don't at all blame people who prefer to focus on listening to their favorite singer's latest hit or speculating about plot twists in an eagerly-anticipated upcoming movie, rather than following the blow-by-blow details of Trump's rather murky scandals or teasing out the pros and cons of the various Democratic Presidential hopefuls, half of whom will probably have dropped out by this time next year anyway.

I absolutely do not subscribe to the stance that "I and people like me are a smart self-aware minority surrounded by a vast herd of mindless sheeple."  Been there, done that.  Never again.

In fact, being well-informed -- about politics or anything else -- doesn't necessarily correlate with being intelligent at all.

This brings me to Ming's actual point, concerning which I have to disagree with him.  It wasn't those great masses of low-information voters who got us into this mess.

Never forget that Hillary won the actual voters by a margin of almost three million, and if it hadn't been for Republican vote-suppression laws, the margin would have been even bigger.  It was those laws, combined with Russian meddling and the Electoral College, that defecated Donald Trump into the punchbowl of our national politics -- not the masses, who voted our way and whose will was thwarted by those things.

If anything, it was those activist, engaged, political-junkie voters who played an outsize role in bringing about the disaster of 2016.  Who were the people that voted for Jill Stein because Hillary's Iraq-war vote (or whatever) rendered her too "impure" to support?  Who were the people that spread, believed, and acted upon the Dolchstoßlegende that Bernie was "robbed" during the primary and Hillary was thus an illegitimate nominee?  I don't think those people were the kind who spent most of the campaign blissed out on Taylor Swift videos.  I think most of them were engaged, activist, high-information..... idiots.

Similarly, all over the liberal blogosphere right now, I'm seeing a rising crescendo of yammering for Pelosi and the House Democrats to launch an impeachment which has zero chance of actually removing Trump and would probably leave him stronger than before, and which voters oppose by  66% to 29% -- that's right, as unpopular as Trump is, the American people reject impeachment by a huge margin.  So who are these people all over the net trying to stampede Pelosi into an action that would strengthen Trump and put the Democrats in opposition to most of the voting public?  Again, these are engaged, activist, highly-informed people, many of them bloggers or writers for political news sites.  They just happen to also have the IQ of potato salad (at least on this issue) and can't think more than a couple of moves ahead the way Pelosi, thank goodness, can.

Obviously not all of the high-information minority are like that.  Maybe most of them aren't.  But an awful lot of them seem to be dogmatic, impatient, strident, and incapable of shutting up long enough to consider the possible merits of a genuinely different viewpoint -- exactly the opposite of how an educated (as opposed to merely well-informed) person should be.

Or maybe they really believe that if impeachment hearings can drag the masses away from their Captain Marvel and Game of Thrones fan theories and force them to listen to all the skull-grindingly boring details of the Trump Tower Moscow deal or whatever, it will create some kind of national-scale moment of satori and bring the thinking of the broad masses into line with that of the activists.  If they do believe that, then we really are in IQ-of-potato-salad territory after all.

If I sound frustrated and angry about this, it's because I am.  We cannot afford to lose this election.  And that means we cannot afford to let a small group of people who think they're smarter than everybody else blow it for the whole country with any more of this self-indulgent nonsense.

So what should we do?  Focus on the things that the broad mass of people actually care about because those things have a material effect on them.  Like how Republican policies make access to healthcare more difficult and how ours will make it easier.  Like how Trump's tariffs are destroying jobs and incomes, not protecting them.  Like how the Republicans are threatening to cut Social Security to counter the deficit explosion caused by a tax cut for the obscenely wealthy.  That's the kind of thing that will move people, not emoluments or Trump banging porn stars (remember, it turned out the public didn't care about Clinton's blowjob either).  Yes, most Trumpanzees are hopelessly brainwashed and unreachable, but rank-and-file Democrats and undecided voters are not dumber than you just because they are interested in different things.

It is not the responsibility of the masses to spend what little free time and energy their exhausting lives allow them on studying complex issues.  It is the responsibility of the Democratic party to communicate to the masses, in clear and understandable terms, why they will benefit from voting for it.  To communicate effectively, focus on what your audience cares about, not on what you think they should care about.

We all want to win.  Let's make sure we do.

OK, rant over.  Now I'm going to log off and watch some Taylor Swift videos to get all this toxic crap out of my system.


Blogger Sixpence Notthewiser said...

Cheeto won the presidency by a fluke. He was as surprised as we were paralyzed by horror. He won because of the repug voter suppression, because of Vlad sowing discord and stupidity and because of the hyper-informed didn’t choose the right person for the job. When Dems went overboard tearing Hillary apart they signed their doom.
And it’s going to happen again, for the looks of it. There are several highly qualified candidates in the Dem camp. But the picking has started. That she’s not likable (as if that’s a prerequisite to be president) that she didn’t do this, that he didn’t reach those voters, that he’s too old, that he’s too young and so on and so forth.
The responsibility of the Dems is to present a front as united as the repugs have presented theirs: they have stood behind the most unqualified and corrupt candidate ever because it was THEIR candidate. They have almost destroyed the country in the process, but they don’t care. The Dems should stop being so fucking picky and just choose the best person for the job and stick with them. It should not be THAT fucking difficult. There’s plenty to choose from.
End of rant. You’re right. I’ll go listen to some Madonna. Cause I like HER. And that’s not going to change the direction of the country for years to come.


24 May, 2019 02:20  
Blogger Donna said...

"Dolchstoßlegende "

LOVE IT! Thank you!

24 May, 2019 07:29  
Anonymous ming said...

Your post deserves a response. You make some good points, but we see/frame a number of the issues differently. It may take me a couple of days to get my thoughts down in writing. Stay tuned.


24 May, 2019 12:35  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Sixpence: I'm more hopeful -- I think what happened in 2016 and the sheer horribleness of Trump has galvanized our side and wised up a lot of the ideological purists. Not all of them, but enough.

Madonna's cool. Any particular favorites?

Donna: The term fits, I think.....

Ming: Cool -- I'll keep an eye on your blog. One thing, in case there was any ambiguity -- none of my annoyance in this post was directed at you. Your comment prompted me to go into these issues, that's all.

24 May, 2019 18:25  
Blogger dellgirl said...

Thank you for sharing this. It's interesting. Keep up the good work!

I'm just stopping in to see what's new with you and to show my face. Hope you had a nice week.

Wishing you all the best!

24 May, 2019 20:38  
Blogger Mary Kirkland said...

The fact that Hillary won the popular vote and because of a lot of factors including the electoral college, she didn't actually win is just mind boggling. Something needs to change so that doesn't happen again but I don't see that happening any time soon. I can only hope people don't let that stop them from voting and getting this guy out of office.

25 May, 2019 10:34  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

I had to read your last posting twice to let it sink in, as to what you you were saying about what appeals to voters the most. I myself like Warren best ... but I'm one of them that is more concerned on the policies, I guess ... although I understand your point. Right now, with all the candidates (and I follow more than most of the public, as far as details), I haven't any idea who is appealing the most to the mass of voters, I think Bernie has done well, but his following goes back some wayz too, he been building his for 4 years or more now. Biden has a good personality to me, but I'm not a big fan of him, but I don't dislike him either ... bottom line, I'll be voting for whichever democratic nominee comes out, even if we have all the confusion and fighting like happened in 2016 from the progressive side, because many progressives are already at it ... I myself side with progressives, but realize what problems were having with republicans currently, and especially Trump, so I'm not going to do any trashing of the candidate, even if it isn't my first choice. But I have no idea who is looking best right now, different polls are speaking different things, it's like betting on a horse race. Do you think yourself, that Biden would be a good challenger against Trump, or the best to take him on? ... and if not, who would you think? Because, we will have to absorb the debates, to me, debates showcase the candidates well too ... I just don't know who would debate well against Trump, and you know he's very rude in debates. I know that if it's Sanders or Warren, Trump is going to push the socialism card big- time, as well as FOX and affiliates. I like Gabbard too, and don't think they can play the socialist card with her, but she lacks that background like Warren or Sanders, although I really like her, and she's a combat vet (Trump is a draft dodger). I think Warren if having a good day, could maybe trip up Trump in a debate, and really expose him or put him on the spot, because of her law and Senate drilling committee background, but he would be rehearsed very well, if he had to face someone like her too.

25 May, 2019 11:49  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Dellgirl: Thanks for stopping by!

Mary: Unfortunately it's very difficult because getting rid of the Electoral College requires amending the Constitution, which would require the support of a lot of Republicans and legislatures of small states, who would be giving up power by doing so. There's also the National Popular Vote initiative, but I have some reservations about that.

Ranch: I don't really have a favored candidate yet, nor have I given much thought to who would be most likely to win against Trump -- it's just too early. Being able to win will involve some combination of being able to inspire the base to turn out and being able to in over marginal voters in some of those Midwestern states that narrowly went for Trump last time. To some extent, those imperatives pull in opposite directions. Biden is clearly the most popular candidate among Democrats now and supposedly has appeal to the Obama-Trump voters, but there's still a long way to go yet until the election.

25 May, 2019 12:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania, total votes in the general greatly eclipsed the number in the primaries. I doubt there is enough proof to determine whether well-informed idiots (25k in WI, 11k in MI, 45k in OH, 70k in PA) refrained from voting for Clinton in those states and thereby swung the election to Trump.

27 May, 2019 10:33  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Those are states that historically have been going blue. The kind of people who voted for Stein, or would have voted for Bernie but refused to vote for Hillary due to the Dolchstoßlegende or whatever, were generally highly ideological, not "low-information" types disinterested in politics.

27 May, 2019 14:20  

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