Read Some History and Call Me in the Morning

election Sep 07, 2016

The party out of power tends to run on the idea that things are terrible. The party in power tends to run on the idea that things are fine and only going to get better.

These statements make sense. “Vote for me because I want the job” and “Vote for me because I want to keep the job” are not compelling campaign slogans.

We’re at a strange place in history right now. The party that controls both houses of Congress is making the case that things are falling apart and about to get worse, despite the fact that they wield quite a bit of power.  The party that controls the White House insists we are heading in the right direction, while their candidate promises fundamental changes in direction in areas like trade.

The Democrats have got a decent case. Without writing the 2,976,912th blog post about what a terrible human being Trump is, and how he is a uniquely unqualified candidate for anything other than Assistant to the Village Idiot.

But does Trump represent the end of society? The School of Life doesn’t think so.

When I heard this line, I backed up the video and listened again:

It makes no sense, and is a form of twisted narcissism, to imagine that our era has any kind of monopoly on idiocy and disaster.

This statement provides a huge helping of perspective.

Trump’s rhetoric sounds like that of past dictators, and I’ve written a lot about how our times bear a resemblance to the doomed Weimar Republic.

But we’re not there yet. Trump is a demagogue that has taken advantage of a fractured party’s feckless leadership. He’s trailing badly in the polls, and there’s a compelling case for him only doing as well as he is because he opposes by a very unpopular candidate who has done a good job of sabotaging herself.

Does this mean everything is fine? Do we have nothing to worry about? Of course not. But it’s not time to despair. It’s time to take action.

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