The Discrete Charms of the Political Managerial Class: Another Rant

We have officially become the election cycle and the spectacle of North American’s non-parliamentary, English speaking democracy has begun. For me this is a time of both extreme bemusement and unending frustration, but at least I watch from a seat abroad.   For there is a populist anxiety a blaze in the states, and you can smell its rancid leak through most of the media-saturated world.  In many ways, my “resting asshole face” will be on nearly flashing constantly in the general direction of pundits with there normal panoply of selection, confirmation bias, bold assertion mistaken for argument, and ideological tell spinning.  The various chatrooms and forums will be filled with screams of “cuck” met with screams of “problematic” as the various ideological hacks of Western world–for even British newspapers seem to make hey misleading the public about American politics now–as I slowly think that the reactionary Nicolás Gómez Dávila and the ultra-leftist Amadeo Bordiga were both right about one thing:  the immaturity of anything with the pretense to call itself democracy.

Indeed, you think nations would find a cheaper way to out the worse amongst us. This morning I slept through the “exciting” Iowa Caucuses because I am far closer to Greenwich mean time than any American has a right to be. I woke up to cries of Ted Cruz winning the Iowa caucus being a sign of… I don’t know what.  You mean the evangelical pandering candidate won the state whose primary organization method favors local on the grassroots people-moving?  No, you don’t say, churches are great at that as you might have noticed.  That might explain why Huckabee and Santorum won the last two caucuses. You know, the two people that if Richard Dawkins stopped senilely complaining about feminists he would see as public enemies number 1 and 2 in the US.

What is abnormal about that is how normal it is.

So the Republican base continues its ideological civil war but past trends of history are past trends. Or, as Bruce Carlson would say, my history can beat up your politics. (Except when it can’t). Nate Silver and co have moved from hard nosed polling towards over favoring priors in ways that have made them slow to predict things. Nicholas Nassim Taleb gets the last laugh most of the time, but on this, it was completely predictable. That said, Silver is right here:

The actual results in Iowa weren’t that far off from our forecasts there, however, since our model correctly had Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio projected to overperform the polls and Donald Trump projected to underperform his, along with a close margin on the Democratic side.

The more unpredictable development is the civil war between “It’s My Turn” and “Larry Sanders Doesn’t Seem to Understand What Socialism Actually Means.”  The polls are head-to-head, and already that are accusations of Clinton vote rigging.  Well, if some of her operatives are caucus-rigging, they really don’t cheat well given the votes may as well be decided by a coin toss.  Still, it is important to remember that Sanders, even in Obama years, would have been seen as a candidate like Dennis Kucinich or Mike Gravel just an election cycle ago, and traditionally only got the percentage currently afforded to somewhat O’Malley or Jim Webb.  While I tend to feel about Hilary Clinton the way Doug Henwood does (and I feel about Bill the way Hitchens did), I predict some hardcore Bernbot interference.

I also predict more lawsuits about Ted Cruz not being “natural born.” That commie.

What we are seeing though is punditry around disillusionment of American democracy. Until the 1990s disillusionment, on national campaigns, investment in masochistic rite of voting remains high.  People will celebrate this even though this election also indicates that people are fed-up, they are fed-up with being fed-up, and gosh darnit, they are going to… totally take it some more.  Let’s give it the old college try.  We can always try again when our hopes are dashed on the rocks of hope.

Yet, there really is a great chaos under heaven, let’s see who wastes it.  In Democracy, don’t get sad, get machiavellian. If you don’t, don’t cry when you get more of the same Bourgeois-bootlicking managerial class twiddle. At least let it be either from people who write well or understand statistics if we are doomed to that fate.


6 thoughts on “The Discrete Charms of the Political Managerial Class: Another Rant

  1. I more or less share your sentiments here. I regularly question the point of even calling this mess a democracy. Still, the aspiration is noble, even when so pathetic in results.

    I’m here at ground zero. I feel a certain calm acceptance about it all. Maybe that is just the shock of the small furry creature that has no hope of escape.

    Many others get more excited about it all. My parents, as lifelong mainstream Republicans, were in a state of demoralization. They despise Trump and see Cruz as divisive. So, they settled on caucusing for Rubio.

    Other people I know mostly were Sanders supporters. I decided to caucus for him, but I was far from inspired. I just see him as an opportunity to shift the debate a little bit. Plus, I find Clinton as repulsive as the GOP lineup. The DNC and corporate media in general were pissing me off.

    I was more protesting against all that is overtly anti-democratic than I was actually supporting Sanders. I know that I’m a fool for expecting this system to operate democratically.

    It isn’t as if my hopes are going to be dashed. I’m mostly just a curious observer. There are some interesting dynamics, but more predictable than not.

    I didn’t think Trump would fare well in Iowa. I wasn’t following any of it all that closely. I can’t say I’ve had strong opinions about Cruz and the rest.

    I wouldn’t think Evangelical pandering by itself would necessarily motivate Iowans. Few Iowans are Evangelicals, mostly mainline Protestants and Catholics. The conservative rural areas are particularly Catholic. I’m not sure how politics operates among Catholics.

    I’ll say one last thing about Sanders. I don’t think he is any more socialist than is the US democratic. It is interesting, though, that a mainstream politician can be a viable presidential candidate by using that word. Cold War commie bashng is finally losing its sting.

    • ” Few Iowans are Evangelicals, mostly mainline Protestants and Catholics. ”

      Mainlines that are still left in Iowa and Catholics tend to be liberals if they aren’t rural. Evangelicals have built ground operations and since the “ballot” in a caucus isn’t secret, can really enforce their will. SO can more conservative Catholics.

      • I’ve known some Catholics here in Iowa City. It’s a liberal town, of course. But I suspect Catholics are somewhat divided, even in some urban areas.

        One Catholic I know was younger and she was most definitely liberal. An older Catholic who used to be my neighbor is a pro-lifer, although that doesn’t necessarily mean she votes Republican. The Catholics around here are mostly of German and Czech ancestry. I don’t know if that makes any difference in terms of politics.

        In the Midwest, there is correlation between areas of Catholic concentration and and areas of union membership concentration, which is to say in larger cities, and in Iowa that means old industrial river towns (i.e., Eastern Iowa). There are many Catholics per capita in rural Iowa, but they are a small part of the total Iowan population. Yet, US politics gives those rural populations disproportionate influence.

        That is a problem. When you look at a map of Iowa in order to see which counties go to which candidates, it just shows you the counties and not the population numbers. Some counties might only have a few hundred people living there, whereas other counties would have hundreds of thousands. On a map, they all look the same.

  2. Do you think it matters much, if at all, to shift the political narrative and the spectrum of allowable public debate? Or do you think that it won’t or can’t lead to anything substantial, just talk being talk?

    I ask that because there is are new generations that never knew the Cold War. They don’t really comprehend what all the fuss is about communism and socialism. And they don’t appreciate the power of old school propaganda from earlier last century.

    Godless communism seems weak tea compared to God-fearing terrorists who blow up buildings right in the heart of America. Many younger Americans wouldn’t mind a bit more Godlessness in the world.

    Most people are ignorant about socialism, along with capitalism and democracy. Even the best of us often feel confused about what these words are supposed to mean when discussing relevant issues. What are we to call a country like Norway? It’s a welfare state with socialized education, healthcare, and many other public services (all of which could be privatized in a capitalist system) and the government heavily regulates markets and even operates a publicly-owned corporation? Is that socialism or capitalism or is it fascism?

    Ignorance and confusion aside, the very fact that socialism is being discussed at all in the mainstream seems like a positive change. Maybe some people will begin to realize the state of their own ignorance and confusion. Then they might feel curious to learn about the history of these terms. It might force them to rethink some of their assumptions.


  3. Pingback: American Populism, From Frustration to Hope | Marmalade

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