Friday, November 6, 2020

The Revolution Isn’t Coming

by Kevin Williamson, National Review - The inconclusive, unsatisfying outcome of Tuesday’s election might be read as evidence of a country bitterly divided. Which it is, of course, but the election also provides evidence of a country strangely united — united in spite of itself. 

Here is a seldom spoken fact of American political life: There is no real mandate for radical social change. It isn’t there. Talk of it is a parlor game, and sightings of it are a mirage, whether in left-wing form or in rightist form. Almost nobody actually wants radical social change, few Americans would be happy with it, and fewer still would be willing to endure the disruption associated with it. 

 ...the evidence suggests that Americans do not actually want revolution ... if ever there was one; if you ask Americans about Trump’s trade policies, you get partisan polarization, but if you ask them about trade in general, you get a strikingly broad bipartisan consensus ... a majority of Republicans, a majority of Democrats, and a majority of independents support marijuana legalization ... What Americans actually seem to want is for government to improve their well-being in two traditional ways: by increasing their ability to consume and by raising the social standing of the groups to which they belong. One of these produces a fight over scarce resources, and the other produces a fight over status. 

Our politics is not about philosophy or the grand sweep of history: It’s about free false teeth and the social pecking order. (Read more)

Rod's Comment: I agree with this analysis.  Republican held the Senate apparently and picked up house seats. That would not have happened if the election indicated a lurch to the left. Biden, despite all we don't like about him, is not a revolutionary.  He was the least offensive Democrat running.  The Democrat Party chose the least revolutionary, least ideological, most boring candidate running.  

Biden won not because people were enthused about him but because they hated Trump.  And, I don't think they hated Trump because of his policies but because he was a jerk and a bully and managed to offend a broad swath of the country. One does not demean Senator John McCain and then expect the Republican and swing voters of Arizona who voted for John McCain again and again to vote for you.  

While Trump fans may have cheered when Trump called the major news outlets, especially CNN, fake news and the enemy of the people, to many people that just seemed rude and bullying.  While Trump was often taking out of context, when you use the word "infestation" to refer to illegal aliens, that strikes some as unnecessarily mean-spirted.  When you won't denounce the nut-job Q-Anon movement when offered the opportunity, that is just stubbornness and irrational. 

Trump had no governor.  He had no filter. When a thought came in his head the words went out of his mouth. "Niceness" is often a hypocrisy, but there is a virtue in that kind of hypocrisy.  It makes for a more pleasant social order.  Trump was not diplomatic and was unwilling to engage in the hypocritical niceties. 

When electing a president we are not electing a Sunday School teacher or choosing a spouse and the president is not your daddy, but there is a ceremonial head of state role that goes with the job.  Trump was terrible at that. He had no empathy. He was not reassuring to any but those who already agreed with him.

In rejecting Trump's reelection, I don't think the people were voting for radical change. They were voting against an ill-mannered bully and a jerk. The election did not signal any drastic shift in the thinking of the American people. 

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