America: We Had A Good Run

Eddie Braverman's picture
Rank: The Pro | banana points 21,149

I can remember being excited to vote. No, seriously. I was actually excited to vote for Bush the Elder back in 1988. And I was never more excited to vote than I was for Perot in 1992. But that was the last time I was excited to vote for President.

I voted Dole in 1996 mostly because I liked Jack Kemp and still couldn't come to grips with the fact that we'd chosen a draft dodger over a billionaire who sent his own private Delta Force into Iran to rescue employees being held hostage. In 2000 I voted W, despite Gore having done me (personally) a real solid many years earlier when he was a Senator from Tennessee. It would prove to be the most shameful vote of my life.

I couldn't bring myself to vote in 2004. That was also pretty shameful. Kerry was eminently qualified to be President, and was a bona fide war hero to boot. But I was so jaundiced by the way Bush and Cheney were running things that the wheels were already in motion for me to leave the country. One of my final acts before moving to France in November 2008 was to cast my ballot for Ron Paul. He was only on the ballot in two states, but Louisiana was one of them.

I voted for Gary Johnson by absentee ballot in 2012. I did the same thing this morning in person. I wasn't excited to do it, but we might get over 5% of the vote this time and get some matching funds the next go-round, so I'm playing the long game. I doubt the introduction of viable third parties will fix our desperately broken system, but it can't hurt.

There are no winners today

If the polls prove prescient, then it looks like Hillary Clinton is our next President. The market seems to think so, anyway. And that's not the worst possible outcome. But it's nothing to dance about, either. If she wins, we'll have elected the most ethically compromised President in modern United States history.

The alternative was worse, and I'll probably never see my country in the same light again. Donald Trump was/is an unapologetic fascist. For all his obvious faults, he owns that and wears it on his sleeve. What baffles me is how many Americans love that about him. To paraphrase Jon Stewart, I don't get mad at a monkey for flinging shit, I get mad at all the people who refuse to say, "Bad monkey!"

If this election has shown me anything, it's that there's less and less appetite for democracy in America, and that's pretty scary. Neither side particularly wants things to go to a vote; they just believe that they know what's best for everyone and should be allowed to enact it unimpeded. The New Republic did a fantastic piece on this subject as it relates to the right, but the left is no different. Dictators are all the rage in America today. (or I guess emperor would be more appropriate in our case)

The Case for Balkanization







What do you see when you look at that map? That's a fairly recent map of the way the individual states break in the electoral college. Do you see 50 states united by anything other than geography? If you looked at this map and didn't know it as the United States, you'd probably assume it was several different countries.

Ideologically, it is several different countries.

I live deep in Trumplandia. Folks down here would like nothing more than to see the two coasts drop off into the ocean (with particular malice toward New York and California). I moved here originally from Clintonopolis, where the red states are viewed as the nuisance wasteland eating up five hours on your way to the other half of civilization. Neither side would miss the other.

So why do we persist with the "one nation, indivisible" narrative, when there are quite clearly two nations, and probably more? Why not give everyone what they want? The blue staters can smoke their weed and sing kumbaya, and the red staters can go to church five nights a week with their full auto AR-15s.

Of course I'm being sarcastic, but let's consider it seriously for a moment. Does it really make sense to manage a population as large and diverse as the United States, over a land mass larger than almost everywhere else on Earth, as one people? I think of China, Russia, and Australia as comparable land masses, but their populations are homogenous and highly concentrated in a handful of cities. We're all spread out, and thus much more difficult to manage.

Half the country is going to go to bed tonight deeply unsatisfied with today's result. If the polls are correct, it's going to be the half with all the guns, too. No bueno. Isn't there a better way to manage this in the 21st century?

Comments (58)

Nov 8, 2016

As a non-American: What I think is yes, you are 'divided'. People in both 'sides' if we can call it like this, have unrealistic expectations and usually, unreal or stupid proposals to achieve these expectations. To be honest, your 'sarcastic' idea can actually be a good start - Some of these things can actually tone down most of the extremes in both sides (some tweaks in gun regulations, legal weed etc).

But hey, you are ages ahead of most countries, man. In no way you are 'third world' like it was mentioned during the campaign. And by the way, the examples of Russia and China you mentioned are not a good comparison - Things are keep under control by the heavy hand of the state, which I am almost sure neither 'blue" or "red" states would ever wish.

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Nov 8, 2016
Eddie Braverman:

Half the country is going to go to bed tonight deeply unsatisfied with today's result. If the polls are correct, it's going to be the half with all the guns, too. No bueno. Isn't there a better way to manage this in the 21st century?

This. SB'd.

Nov 8, 2016

Gary Johnson is insane and uninformed too, though. And Jill Stein panders to 9/11 truthers. So...

But in all seriousness, there are no real incentives for the best and brightest among us to run for office anymore. That's how you end up with one candidate who fabricates letters pf support from NFL coaches and one who lacks any real identifiable good qualities.

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Nov 8, 2016

Did he really do that? I haven't seen any confirmation on it. If so, it's hilariously sad. Who fakes a letter from Belichick?

Nov 8, 2016
Eddie Braverman:

Did he really do that? I haven't seen any confirmation on it. If so, it's hilariously sad. Who fakes a letter from Belichick?

This is the text from the letter he said Belichek sent to him:

"Congratulations on a tremendous campaign. You have dealt with an unbelievable, slanted and negative media and have come out beautifully. You've proved to be the ultimate competitor and fighter. Your leadership is amazing. I have always had tremendous respect for you, but the toughness and perseverance you have displayed over the past year is remarkable. Hopefully tomorrow's election results will give the opportunity to make America great again."

Now, knowing Bill Belichek, how likely is it he used the words "tremendous", "beautifully", and "amazing"? I guess i'm not going to play judge and jury here but it seems... more than a little suspicious.

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Nov 8, 2016

Well this is global I think - Nowadays the best people have absolutely no interest in politics as they don't want to be surrounded by idiots, criminals or lunatics. But then this leaves us to be ruled by idiots, criminals and lunatics.

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Nov 8, 2016
dornelbr:

Well this is global I think - Nowadays the best people have absolutely no interest in politics as they don't want to be surrounded by idiots, criminals or lunatics. But then this leaves us to be ruled by idiots, criminals and lunatics.

Exactly. I've heard some comments from pundits/economists who have worked in that circle lamenting how politicians in the 80's and 90's were generally intelligent and could grasp advanced economic concepts quickly, while most current heads of state are morons.

This is why we need term limits and finance limitations.

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Nov 8, 2016
AllDay_028:

But in all seriousness, there are no real incentives for the best and brightest among us to run for office anymore.

ahh, I see. I was wondering why I didn't see you on the ticket

Nov 8, 2016

Yep, Trump is a facist and that's why people in flyover country like him. That's some brilliant analysis right there.

Couldn't have anything to do with globalization negatively affecting their quality of life.

That's not a sanctimonious enough position though.

Nov 8, 2016
CX1988:

Yep, Trump is a facist and that's why people in flyover country like him. That's some brilliant analysis right there.

Couldn't have anything to do with globalization negatively affecting their quality of life.

That's not a sanctimonious enough position though.

Without globalization they don't have an affordable super computer in their pocket. If your stance is they are too dumb to see nuance and the fact that globalization has actually made their lives (en masse) much better off, despite less manufacturing jobs, then I can get behind you on that. If your stance is they are actually better off, then you don't know your economics.

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Nov 8, 2016

I think they'd much rather have a good job and a rent they can afford than an Iphone.

Nov 8, 2016

I think most would take a job over a super computer in there pocket . Especially when you can get an AR15 for less than a super computer

Nov 9, 2016
AllDay_028:

CX1988:Yep, Trump is a facist and that's why people in flyover country like him. That's some brilliant analysis right there.Couldn't have anything to do with globalization negatively affecting their quality of life.That's not a sanctimonious enough position though.

Without globalization they don't have an affordable super computer in their pocket. If your stance is they are too dumb to see nuance and the fact that globalization has actually made their lives (en masse) much better off, despite less manufacturing jobs, then I can get behind you on that. If your stance is they are actually better off, then you don't know your economics.

You are out of touch with what is currently going on in Middle America. Globalization has had a major negative impact for many people. I am from a small industrial city in the Midwest and have watched it play out first hand for family and friends.

Here is an interesting article that I came across about it:

https://thearcmag.com/what-i-have-learned-from-pho...

Nov 8, 2016
CX1988:

Yep, Trump is a facist and that's why people in flyover country like him. That's some brilliant analysis right there.

Couldn't have anything to do with globalization negatively affecting their quality of life.

That's not a sanctimonious enough position though.

Is it better to be considered a fascist or an idiot? Your point about globalization is absolutely correct. But people convinced that Trump can stuff the globalization genie back in the bottle are touched in the head.

So which would you prefer? Fascist or moron?

I'm not trying to be provocative here. If you support Trump because you believe he's going to turn back time, then I don't know what to say to you.

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Nov 8, 2016

I just realized how ugly that sounded and that is sincerely NOT my intention. It just seems to me that the selling point behind Make America Great Again is time travel.

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Nov 8, 2016

as I mentioned in another thread, globalization isn't the main problem. according to the study, less than 15% of jobs were lost due to globalization.

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/265cd8fb02fb44a69cf...
if you want low skill wages to come back, slam the lid on innovation. rather than going back to the "good ol days," these people need to either get training for another career or start businesses.

unless "they" means robots, no, no they didn't.

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Nov 8, 2016
Eddie Braverman:

CX1988:Yep, Trump is a facist and that's why people in flyover country like him. That's some brilliant analysis right there.Couldn't have anything to do with globalization negatively affecting their quality of life.That's not a sanctimonious enough position though.

Is it better to be considered a fascist or an idiot? Your point about globalization is absolutely correct. But people convinced that Trump can stuff the globalization genie back in the bottle are touched in the head.

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I can certainly understand the the appeal to Trump as a vote against Political Correctness. I also think that CX makes a good point in bringing to light that those "flyovers" are honestly voting what they think might be in their best interest.

But at the same time, you and the brofessor bring up an important fact. While manufacturing as a % of occupations in the US is and has been falling, the amount of manufacturing jobs in the world is also shrinking.

I doubt there's anything anyone can do about that from a presidential position. Also, if and when manufacturing jobs do come back to the US, they aren't going to look like the 50's and 60's with thousands of people employed. They'll be heavily automated with limited people working on the machines themselves.

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Nov 8, 2016

I don't think he will do that. He's a master at triggering the confirmation bias of idiots.

If you actually take the time to read his proposals in more depth, what he actually wants to do is try to force India and China to abolish their own anti-US tariffs.

Nov 8, 2016

Sincere question here: Did he had any proposal to solve this issue?

Nov 8, 2016
dornelbr:

Sincere question here: Did he had any proposal to solve this issue?

Yes. Globalization means free(-ish) movement of people and capital accross borders. He intends to heavily restrict the movement of people across borders if elected.

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Nov 8, 2016

This thread should be good

Nov 8, 2016

Delete.

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Best Response
Nov 8, 2016
REPE8:

Unfortunately what we need is World War III.

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Nov 8, 2016
REPE8:

Unfortunately what we need is World War III. Wars unite us and wars spark production. Americans need a common enemy to unleash their pent up anger and tension.

No time in this country's history were we more united (read: proud to be American) and economically productive as World War II.

Or we need to reach some sort of progressive milestone like landing on Mars.

One involves the potential extinction of the human race, whilst the other involves a milestone for the human race. How intellectually and morally deficient one must be to make such a post.

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Nov 8, 2016

Had no idea Ross Perot did that. Super dope

Nov 8, 2016

SB for using "Balkanization." That word is woefully underutilized. See below for relevant applications:

"As summer graduated from June to July, our sophomoric instinct to form industry-based cliques led to the rapid Balkanization of our East Hampton share house."

"The forced ouster of our head trader and the resultant power vacuum set the stage for the Balkanization of our desk."

"A highly contentious U.S. presidential election paired with banana point / monkey shit inflationary forces are the two factors that historians credit for the increasingly Balkanized nature of the WSO community in 2016."

Nov 8, 2016

Not even the first time I've talked about it on WSO. Here's a post from November 2008:

http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/the-balkaniz...

Nov 8, 2016

George Carlin called it many many years ago.

Nov 8, 2016

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

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Nov 8, 2016

will read in a little bit, but just your title inspired me to get this written down: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/usa-50-thing...

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Nov 8, 2016

This is why the continued existence of State's Rights is imperative to the long term success of the United States. The division only becomes an issue when the left-wing attempts to centralize the government federally. As long as people are free to move from state to state and pick the politics they'd like to enjoy, it won't be a problem.

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Nov 8, 2016

I think we are at the breaking point of so called liberal democracy: it either rejuvanates, finds its values back, or it'll collapse.

It all started in the 90s, when things were looking up; the US had won the Cold War, intellectuals were proclaiming ''the end of history'', liberal democracy and capitalism had won. Delusional idiots.

The first damange this kind of mentality did was that the Western elite thought they had the moral superiority to force regime changes at will around the world, disrespect sovereignty of other countries, plunder resources at will.
This was done for almost a decade in Russia, until what was left of the Soviet intelligentsia finally fed up with it threw the West propped oligarchs off the country.
The West learned nothing from it. Clinton bombed Serbia and spent his time destabilizing and splitting the country as much as he could. Bush Jr did even worse in the Middle East for Israel.
It's honestly baffling how the only world superpower is subordinate of a regional power, via AIPAC and its internal corruption. There are no precedents in history for this.

Moving, on, second damage: having ''won'' the Cold War made the West think they could throw away any degree of morality in the name of realpolitik; 2 years ago, the US worked with the local Ukrainian Nazi party to replace a Russia-friendly government with an US friendly one.
In Syria the US supports Communist Kurds, and those aren't even that bad, but also has worked with the local branch of Al Qaeda, Al Nusrah to remove Assad. But wasn't AQ our enemy in the 2000s? The fuck?
Hillary and Obama pretend to fight Salafism, when the one and only Salafist country in the world is Saudi Arabia, their best buddy among Muslims in the region. Once again, how does that make an iota of sense?
The same goes for the now failed attempt to install the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
Double standards has become a rule: Obama will go on tv saying ''not all Muslims are terrorists'', then he works with the worst of them, the one that give Muslims a bad reputation.
In conclusion, when the Soviet Union died, the West lost its reason to be morally superior. There was no longer an opponent system, no longer the need to demonstrate our superiority.

Let's move to the economy. Once again, the problems started in the 90s, with Clinton and continued under Obama and Bush. The big disaster was removing the Glass-Steagall act. I'm from Europe, we blindly followed. I honestly hate the fact that European governments are nothing more than peons for Washington, but that's another story. We still keep following every stupid decision.

Then the US became a consumption based economy; combined with the financialization, the lack fo wage growth, the transfer of jobs overseas, it became debt-fueled consumption. They won't get away with this. I don't know if Universal Basic Income can salvage you or whatever else, but the entire system now extremely reliant on the fact that the Dollar is the world exchange currency, hence the Fed can print at will,
This further escalates the dependancy that the US have on banks. The world is also shifting away with Dollar supremacy, I'm not sure how badly that will hit.

Tax havens, meaning that the state keep needing to increase taxes to compensate the missing revenue, which will in turn cause more people to dodge taxes and over the top waste in military expenditure complete a weakening economic prospect.

Last, cultural decline. Sorry guys, but your role models have gone from the first man on the moon, to Kim Kardashian who's famous for her porn tape and occasionally posting naked pics on instagram.
Music has gone from Elvis to Miley Cyrus playing with her vagina live.
Free thought in campuses is dead. 96% of professors are liberal and they are free to be, however diversity of thought is dead then. Political correctness will hamper research in all fields, I saw that already studying economics. Professors do not search for the truth, they simply fabricate one for the establishment. It's how it worked in the Soviet Union to begin with and at a certain point the lies were so many that nobody knew what was the real state of the country.
Even Hollywood is dead. Yes, they still make billions; they also can't produce a classic and keep rehashing old movies, adapting to their current ideological fad despite lack of popular success.
The great genius of this decade is Steve Jobs, who made billions by turning tech into fashion. I might be an obtuse contrarian, but I'm unimpressed. I look back at shows in the 90s, weren't we supposed to have colonized the moon by now?

But hey, whatever. First woman president I guess? Great achievement. So progressive, yay.

I like history, it has so much to teach. The first Roman Empress to rule alone was Irene of Athens. She was so bad that they didn't give women another chance for various centuries after her. Equality is a good thing, but giving positions out of just ''my turn'' is dangerous.

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Nov 8, 2016

Someone has been eating way too many "member berries."

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Nov 8, 2016

Member Chewbacca? I member

Nov 8, 2016

I had a long conversation with a good friend about this. It started with us talking about the proposed Clinton tax plan. The point came when I got my friend to admit that his support of this particular plan was a function of his own income--in other words, his vote would switch to whichever promise was good for him at that time. There was no underlying ideology that gave him a consistent answer independent of circumstance.

Now, some look at that and say, "well, of course, that's what pragmatism is all about." The problem with this "immediate pragmatist" framework is that it is both myopic and divisive. Myopic, in that it ignores the future implications of policy for some short-term personal alignment of benefits; and divisive, in that it ensures the continuation of warring factions over issues where there is no actionable compromise.

For democracy to be successful, its participants have to have some kind of ideological unity. The Federalist papers are an argument of implementation, not strategy; the clear goal was to form a safe sandbox in which citizens would be protected from forces seeking to limit their individual freedoms (social, legal, economic, and military), and the sides differed on the institutions necessary to best achieve that goal.

Nowadays, Americans don't have any such common vision toward which to argue. We have nothing tying together a shared set of interests-- not culture, not religion, not economic prosperity, not national security. And given the size, geographic disparity, and growing count of immiscible worldviews, it's hard to imagine something new tying us all together.

I hope that in my lifetime there is a country that commits itself wholeheartedly to the support and protection of individual freedom, because it's the sole non-discriminatory ideology. Anyone who wants to be a part of that value system can be, equally, regardless of race, religion, origin, or income. I sure hope that country is America, but I'm not holding my breath.

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Nov 8, 2016

We had a solution to the problem with geographic dissention--it was called the 10th Amendment and enumerated federal power (in other words, federalism). Vermont and South Carolina could live in harmony if the federal government wasn't trying to impose itself across the continent. Instead, you've got New Yorkers, Vermonters, and Californians trying to impose a (failed) ideology on everyone else instead of limiting their proposals to their states. Vermont, in their defense, tried to institute a single-payer healthcare plan in that state but couldn't make the numbers work.

If we, as a nation, would submit ourselves to the U.S. Constitution's limitations then all 50 states (+DC) could live in harmony and institute government that the people in each state want.

Nov 8, 2016

Honestly, that might work for the better-off states, but I don't see how it would be beneficial for poorer Southern states (ARKLAMISS). Imo, if those states were left to their own whims, they would go down faster into the shitter than you can say Jesus.

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Nov 8, 2016

Nobody said they would be left to their own whims; they would be part of the United States of America. The only difference that the federal government is limited to its enumerated powers (i.e. regulating INTERstate commerce, settling disputes between the states, conducting foreign policy, making immigration/naturalization laws, etc.).

Nov 8, 2016

there isn't anything wrong with having a country on different ideological spectrum. some level of conflict is good as it keeps both sides relatively honest and makes it more difficult for one side to get away with shit as the other side will nail them (if for no other reason than because they are on the other side - "do as I say not as I do" sort of thing). Having said that, the level of division in this country at this time is probably about the same level as before the civil war and it aint getting any better unless we got some good leadership very soon and neither candidate tickles my giblets this time around (i voted for neither and wrote in a third candidate). and for the record, as rough as things might be here politically i would still rather live here than in socialist (more likely communist) Canada or the useless communist shit hole they call the EU.

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Nov 8, 2016

For me, as a non-American, it seems as most of the debate has been about economics and bad-mouthing. But, how concern are Americans with social politics e.g. culture, virtues, values etc? Because the are changing, and not necessarily to the better.
I'm talking about how big influence the critical theory has gotten in mainstream media and to the middle class. To an extent that biology is almost viewed as bigoted and racist, as gender is now only a "social construct". Or, Black Lives Matter-movement which disregard all forms of evidence and responsibility. Furthermore, science should abandoned the scientific method and positivism in preference to interpretivism and relativism. Those changes poses a bigger threat to our way of life than any protectionism ever could. Not that Trump is the candidate to change that.

Nov 8, 2016

When has this country ever been unified? We've just always found a way to fight through the differences. The Articles of Confederation and selfish interests, the Civil War, segregation, McCarthyism it goes on and on. Then, we see the light at the end of the tunnel: overthrow the British masters, find new ways of production, drink more Coke, do it not for yourself, but for your country speech, etc. Look, if Clinton wins, we'll have to find a way to survive. If Trump wins maybe Republicans will know when to hit the impeach button, or overrule him in Congress. We'll crush our enemies and create the new best thing because we're Americans, and it's what we do.

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Nov 9, 2016
iBankedUp:

When has this country ever been unified?

Pearl Harbor / World War II
1980 Men's Olympic Hockey
9/11

We'll get through this, I hope. Politics has always divided the US (name your issue). But we come together in times of certain wars (not all wars, but when shit really hits the fan, we come together), and to some extent sports, culture, arts, and business. You've all done business with folks who you don't agree with politically. You've cheered for the same sports team, gone to the same concerts, and laughed at the same internet memes.

If politics is the safe space for us to be divided in a peaceful way that doesn't tear at the fabric of our country (Civil War excluded) --

We're gonna to be alright.

I hope.

So long as political talk don't spill over into how we live other parts of our lives.

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Nov 9, 2016

I'd like to hear people's thoughts on this! The affects of the election, wall street regulation, and ultimately people's careers http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/republican-l...