Two Things You Don’t Talk About
So another handful of ‘polls’ have been released, which seem to indicated that presidential heir apparent Hillary Clinton has failed to charm the electorate and that Chee-To-dusted stray stem cell Donald Trump is closing the ‘gap’ which allegedly exists between them. Many explanations have been offered for this development:
- It’s all the fault of ‘the media’, thanks to their use of ‘false equivalency’, an argument whose charm wore considerably thin over its five decades of use by Republicans
- Those darn Millennials are to blame, continuing a winning pattern of blaming young people that has yielded so many fine results since 1971
- The blame may be placed at the foot of Bernie Sanders, a man who is no longer running for President and who has repeatedly endorsed and campaigned for Clinton
- The campaigns of Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, Ralph Nader, John Anderson, and essentially everyone else who has ever suggested that more than two people should be allowed to run for President
- The failure of highly trained investigative journalist/political commentator Jimmy “Ultimate Mustache Fighter” Fallon to hold Trump responsible for his misdeeds
- Working-class whites, who are all proudly racist but hate being reminded of it
- People are not paying close enough attention to Vox.com explainers
- Stupid poors and inner-city blacks still feel threatened by crime and the economy even though we have all these great statistics saying things are better now
- The voters are idiots, and whose dumb idea was it to even have a democracy because we clearly don’t deserve it
Alternate explanations have suggested themselves in dark paranoiac corners of the Internet, but have thankfully given no weight by serious commentators:
- Hillary Clinton is running a terrible campaign
- Her politics, personality, and status as a member of the nation’s political, social, and financial elite are not inspiring to voters
- She is running on the same platform as Ronald Reagan did in 1984, plus drones
- The Democrats have raised massive amounts of money and are spending it on telling everyone that Donald Trump is a dum-dum instead of on forwarding progressive political ideas
- Opinion polls are essentially meaningless, despite the vociferous arguments to the contrary by ‘data-driven’ political websites whose income depends on this not being the case
Anyway, Democrats are addicted to these sorts of doomsday scenarios, as a glimpse at any of the fundraising blasts from the DNC over the last month will make clear. Trump is the best thing that’s happened to them in years; faced with another bland conservative thumbsucker like Mitt Romney, they might actually have to win on the strength of their ideas, but with the Mean Spleen from Queens as their opponent, they don’t even have to pretend to represent anything recognizably outside the status quo. They just have to sit back, point at Trump’s latest idiocy-encrusted word regurgitation, and say ‘Your choice, folks, us or the literal Devil’. It’s a routine they’ve gotten awfully good at over the last 20 years of their transformation from the party of labor to the party of elites, but the big difference now is that perfectly ordinary middle-of-the-road bourgeois liberals are imagining themselves as footsoldiers in the war against fascism.
Because they have placed so much stake in the entertaining idea that Trump is an unprecedentedly awful worst-case scenario for the republic — the kind of man who, I don’t know, might deceive the country into a pointless and brutal war of aggression against an innocent foreign nation that cost millions of lives and billions of dollars, let’s say, or preside over an entirely avoidable global financial crisis — some liberals have begun to paint themselves as rebel heroes in a valiant attempt to defeat tomorrow’s Greg Stillson today. Many have imagined this as the moment when we, as a nation, must make the ‘decision’ we seem to think Germany failed to make in the 1920s regarding one A. Hitler; others have scoldingly inquired what we will tell our grandchildren we did when Big Brother Drumpf was threatening the freedom of Eurasia, with the implied answer clearly not being ‘made fun of hysterically overwrought arguments on the internet’. One prominent liberal posited that as we stumble blindly into the age of “Trumpism” (giving naked egotism expressed as a series of mouth-farts the form of an ideology seems like handing out praise where none is due), his readers can take comfort in the fact that “we were in the resistance”.
This sort of self-aggrandizing nonsense does no one any credit. We don’t find it funny when a bunch of dipshit gun-strokers sit around pretending that they’re Spartans, so I don’t know why it’s suddenly admirable that liberals on the internet are suddenly convinced that they’re Patton’s Third Army tank crews, standing between freedom and tyranny. And what’s especially ludicrous about this is that what they’re suggesting isn’t some kind of street warfare; it’s voting. Voting is what we do already. It’s the essential component of the very democratic process they hold in contempt every time it doesn’t go their way, and now they’re having jerk-off fantasies about being in La Résistance because they’re getting out the vote for the most heavily financed establishment candidate in history.
Not that there’s anything wrong with voting! Voting is great! I love democracy, to the painful extent that I believe in the voice of the people even when it doesn’t agree with me, which is basically always. But I also recognize that it’s shamefully easy to manipulate, especially in a two-party system; that it depends on candidates getting out and making their case to the entire public, which certain candidates aren’t very good at doing; and that it has its limitations, which is why it’s not a very good way of making huge social changes, whether they need to be made or don’t.
Voting is a terrible way to fight fascism. Do you know who was actually fighting fascism in Nazi Germany? The Communists, that’s who. They were the first, and basically the only, people to recognize that the Nazis were genuinely an existential threat, and they also figured out that nobody was going to beat them by voting, or by political triangulation, or by buying them off, or by counting on the system to take care of itself. The reason they figured that out is because the Nazis were out there every goddamn day, turning the existing system into fried sauerkraut, and bashing in the heads of everyone who got in their way. They weren’t fucking around. And, for that matter, neither were the Communists! They fought because they actually believed in something. The people who didn’t much believe in anything other than that they didn’t want anything to change were the ones who sat back and hoped that if they used only the tools given to them, they could fix a broken system.
If you really imagine yourself as a street-fighting member of the Bielski partisans, the left would love to have you. We’re the ones who really want a revolution, after all, and we can always use more brave comrades who are willing to load the cannons or man the barricades. If you don’t want revolution, that’s fine too; it can be a messy business. But let’s drop the radical act and stop cosplaying as Browncoats, and admit that you’re just people who support a rotten process in which you’ve done a bad job of making your case, and that maybe it’s your party that needs to change.