There are few people whose death would make me happy. Limbaugh is one of them. He was a poison in American culture. The only sad thing about his death is that it didn’t come thirty years earlier.
With yesterday’s results from Ohio’s special election, it’s clear that some people haven’t learned the lessons of the 2016 and 2000 elections. If you voted for some third-party candidate, “some people” is you.
Political science has few hard laws, but there if you were to ask a political scientist what the strongest result of political science is, they would almost certainly point you at Duverger’s Law. This states that in elections where there is a single winner in an election and a plurality is sufficient to win, you tend to get a two-party system. In short, your vote for someone who isn’t the Democratic candidate is a vote for the Republicans who have made it clear that they will not stand up to Trump.
But what about Sandra Ocasio-Cortez you ask. She has a D after her name, I answer. In a primary, go ahead and vote for the ideologically pure candidate who’s willing to go out on a limb for Medicare for All and a $15 minimum wage. I’m with you on that. But come the general election, if your candidate didn’t win, you must vote for the Democrat. Anything else is a vote to continue the policies of Trump. You might as well be casting your vote for the KKK.
But what about Bernie Sanders you ask. Yes, he’s an independent in the senate, but when he ran for president, he knew that he had no chance of winning without that D after his name. His first campaign for congress led to a Republican winning the election with 41% of the vote. He won the next time around because there was no Democrat on the ballot. He didn’t caucus with the Democrats during his tenure in the house and learned that this was a guarantee for existing in the wilderness. When he ran for senate, he effectively ran as a Democrat and pledged to caucus with the Democrats. Had he run as a Democrat from the beginning, he would have had a greater influence as a politician, if only because he would have had two more years’ tenure in the house. It was only when he was effectively the Democratic candidate that he actually won elections and didn’t just hand the seat to the Republicans.
The general election is in three months. The Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives or, for roughly two-thirds of those reading, the Senate, might not be ideal. You may not be excited about him or her. But it’s essential to vote for the Democrat (likewise for any down-ballot races, especially your state legislature and governor since they will likely be in office when the all-important district boundaries are set after the 2020 census). You might think that Hillary Clinton was a neo-liberal corporate sell-out, but I can guarantee you that under a President Clinton, we would never have seen this:
Print that picture out and put it in your wallet, tape it to the ceiling over your bed, tattoo it on your forehead. Elections have consequences and this is what all those people who voted for a third-party candidate in 2016 should have on their consciences. You didn’t get Medicare for All with your vote. You got Obamacare crippled. You didn’t get a $15 minimum wage. You got tax cuts for the wealthy and tax increases on the middle class and plans to cut benefits to pay for all the cash going to the 1%. And you got children separated from their parents, locked in cages and no plan to ever reunite them. If you voted for Jill Stein or wrote in Bernie, this is all on you. November is your chance to make things right.
Something has been bothering me for a while. I’ve found in discussions with my friends who are Republican there is a disturbing willingness to believe things which, quite plainly are not true. And by this, I don’t mean things that are debatable, whether legitimately, as in the case of Keynes vs Hayek in economic theorizing, or even less legitimately, as in the case of global warming (believing that climate change is not real is akin to believing that one has the winning lottery ticket. It’s possible, but remarkably unlikely).
No, what I’m referring to are people who are willing to believe things which are objectively false. Two recent examples from my own experience: The first came in the wake of the Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act. I found myself confronted with a person who insisted that the ACA would mean that she would have to pay for her preventative gynecological exams. She said she had heard a Kaiser Permanente executive say this on television. I did my best to find any reference to what she was claiming, and found instead that the fact that she currently had no co-pay on her preventative care was, in fact, a consequence of ACA. When I told her that I couldn’t find what she claimed, but had found something that indicated that in fact, she would not be paying for her preventative care and perhaps she had misunderstood what the Kaiser exec was saying, she responded that she knew what she knew, she hadn’t misunderstood anything and she wasn’t going to continue discussing the matter.
The second instance came up around the whole ”you didn‘t build that” thing with regard to Obama’s remarks taken out of context. It was clear if you looked at the whole speech, that Obama wasn’t making the claim that business owners hadn’t built their businesses, but that they hadn’t built the infrastructure surrounding their business. More than one person on Facebook insisted, no, the opposite was clear.
Now, I do realize that my language and reading comprehension skills are above average, but I find the willingness to believe the exact opposite of the facts to be a rather disturbing thing. It’s most obvious in politics, but it infects all aspects of behavior (I’m reminded of one student in my Abnormal Psychology class, who despite, the mountain of evidence to the contrary presented both in lectures and the textbook, firmly believed that psychotherapy could be effective against schizophrenia—I doubt even the most avid followers of Freud would make that claim any more). I don’t really have much more to say on the subject other than that I worry for the future of our society when facts can be so easily discarded.
There’s a list getting some play of the 50 words/topics banned from standardized tests. It seems like it’s also a good check list to make sure that a piece of writing has some relevance to contemporary readers.
In The Archbishop’s Son, I manage to get 16/44. The current novel I’m working on scores 13/44 (despite having more sex and violence than The Archbishop’s Son!). Looking at some of my stories, I think that the lowest-scoring is “Girls” which is either at 0 or 1, depending on whether we score a reference to Dungeons & Dragons as meeting the criteria of being one of “Occult topics,” “Witchcraft, sorcery, etc.” or “In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge.”