Friday, July 29, 2016

Eight divided by forty...

...equals .20, or twenty percent. That little bit of math is included in the price of this (free) blog.

Here's another: twelve divided by forty is .30, or thirty percent.

Where am I going with this? Next week I turn 58. Optimistically, I have only 40 years left on the planet. (And whether or not that's optimistic is the subject of another post.)

I had a conversation with a Bernie Sanders supporter this week about the upcoming election. And, if I understood him correctly, he didn't see the urgency in voting for Hillary in order to prevent Trump from attaining the White House. Again, if I understood his argument, there wasn't enough of a difference between Hillary and the Republicans in the first place, and if Trump were elected it might actually pave the way for a better president in four or eight years, much as the disaster of W.'s administration led to the election of Obama.

It's an interesting idea and one in which I'll bet many "Bernie or Busters" subscribe. (It's also a little Marxist: blow up the current system in order to achieve something better.)

And that's where my little math problem(s) come(s) in.

I'm currently reading The Coming of the Third Reich, by Richard J. Evans, above. And, in the last thousand or so years of German history, the twelve years of Nazi rule were really just a drop in the bucket. But if you were, say, 58 years old in 1933, the next twelve years were thirty percent of your remaining life. (That's assuming, of course, that you lived to be 98 -- or lived through the Nazi years at all.)

And my point is that I don't have eight -- or even four -- years to squander on a Trump presidency. In the best case scenario, two terms of the Donald would be twenty percent of my remaining life.

And this is also why, I think, people don't necessarily get more liberal or more conservative as they get older; they get more pragmatic. When I was young I wanted to change the world and create a libertarian society. Then, as I got older, I realized it was a pipe dream and that the problems of today need to be solved today (or soon). I don't have fifty or a hundred years to wait.

If Trump really does get elected and "blows things up," which I don't doubt he would, I'll be 66 years old when he leaves office. I'll need Social Security, Medicare and, oh, a functioning country at that time. Now the next president who follows a Trump mess (and it would be a mess -- yikes!) might be the Second Coming of Obama, but that would be too late for me.

So I'll vote for Hillary in November. I think she'll continue the legacy of Obama and maybe -- who knows? -- even improve on it a little. But the most important thing to me is keeping someone so obviously unqualified for the office as Trump out of that office.

And Bernie Sanders will still have plenty of influence on Clinton as a senator from Vermont (and a possible challenger in 2020).

To paraphrase one of our Founding Fathers, "Give me incrementalism, or give me something close to it!" I'm with Her.


Ed Crotty said...

I'm interested to know what you think of this :

“Conservative intellectuals, and conservative politicians, have been in kind of a bubble,” Roy says. “We’ve had this view that the voters were with us on conservatism — philosophical, economic conservatism. In reality, the gravitational center of the Republican Party is white nationalism.”

In other words, the "conservative" principles are only applied in the ways that they serve white nationalism - Low taxes means no government programs to lift minorities out of poverty - Low regulation means that Corporation can run roughshod over the poor. etc.

James said...

The post gets what I said pretty well but goes a little overboard in terms of implying that I would like to see everything get blown up and start from scratch. Bush messed up things pretty bad and the country seems far from "changed utterly" by it. I haven't read anything about Dodd/Frank that makes me think there were significant penalties or new regulations that fix the problem that led to the crisis (not to mention Clinton's Wall St administration that helped opened the door for it!) I guess I just see the threat of a trump administration as a way for Clinton to scare and bully people into supporting her.
In terms of incrementalism, if Hillary's admin is anything like Bill's it will be incrementalism of a sort that brings the Democratic party closer to the Republican party. In terms of trade, criminal justice, and the finance industry the Clintons are far from progressive.
I read that Obama believes that Clinton is his best chance as preserving his legacy because she would be able to work most effectively with Congress. REALLY?! Given the Republican debates and convention I don't think there is anyone the GOP hates more irrationally than Clinton. The GOP might have wanted to see Obama fail but they seem to want to see Hillary buried.
As I've said before, I hope I'm wrong. Hillary does seem good at reinventing herself and maybe she will be able to reinvent herself into a progressive leader that doesn't provoke blind fury from her opponents, but to be honest I just don't see it happening. It seems to me that the one consistent element of the Clinton strategy is the retention of power at all costs whether that cost is people or policy. I just hope that by the time reelection comes around the country's doing well enough that she doesn't have to start a war in order to scare people back to the polls.