I’m not a Trump fan. How could I be? Just look at his face!
On the other hand….
“I call it the law of the instrument, and it may be formulated as follows: Give a small boy a hammer, and he will find that everything he encounters needs pounding.” Abraham Kaplan
Or, in this case, convince a journalist of something and he will ‘dress’ the facts to fit his new conviction.
As I said before, I don’t like Trump.
If I didn’t have a lot of trust in the overall resilience of the American democratic system I would be scouring for a big enough rock to hide behind if/when he might ascend to power.
Unfortunately the present most likely alternative isn’t any better.
But that’s another topic.
Let me go back to the present one.
What we have here is a news/opinion outlet which has a clear political option.
OK, I can live with that. I have some opinions of my own and I love to argue and defend them. In private as well as in public.
But I do believe that the quality of the arguments used in a debate are of paramount importance.
Let me analyze the four I mentioned above.
“Within 20 seconds at a press conference on Wednesday, actual Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump went from suggesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin had once called President Barack Obama the n-word to saying he hopes Putin likes him.”
The apparent implication here being that Trump has trouble maintaining logical consistency inside a rather short discourse and that he is rather gullible – “For the record, there is literally zero evidence that Putin ever called Obama the n-word. It’s hard to say where Trump got this idea, but he has a long history of naively restating things he heard from one person — even random people on Twitter.”
Hard to argue against this, specially since there is ample video testimony that he really said it.
Well… after actually hearing him, things are not so clear anymore.
“Putin has said things over the last year that are really bad things. He mentioned the n-word one time,” Trump said from his resort in Doral, Florida.
“I was shocked to hear him mention the n-word. You know what the n-word is, right?” Trump continued. “He has a total lack of respect for President Obama.”
Putin doesn’t like Obama, Trump told reporters.
“I think he’s going to respect your president if I’m elected, and I hope he likes me,” Trump said.
Earlier in the news conference, Trump claimed he had never met the Russian leader.”
Not a trace of either ‘gullibility’ nor of any logical fracture here. So why not call Trump for what he really is – a callous manipulator – instead of using convoluted makeshift allegations?
Absolutely impossible not to agree with everything written here, right?
No matter what side any of us belongs to…but wait!
“The Democratic Party’s convention was a normal political party’s convention. …”
“The Republican Party’s convention was not a normal political party’s convention….”
A new cleavage in American politics: normal versus abnormal
America’s main political cleavage is between the Democratic and Republican parties. That split has meant different things at different times, but in recent decades it primarily tracks an ideological disagreement: Democrats are the party of liberal policies; Republicans are the party of conservative policies.
But in this year’s presidential election, the difference is more fundamental than that: The Democratic Party is a normal political party that has nominated a normal presidential candidate, and the Republican Party has become an abnormal political party that has nominated an abnormal presidential candidate.
No, I’m not going to take sides here. Not only because I’m not an American citizen so I’m not entitled to vote. But simply because Democracy relies mostly on mutual respect. You cannot refuse to the other party the very right to exist yet still call yourself a democrat. Pretending that your opponent is ‘abnormal’ means that you’re convinced that your opponent should not exist at all.
The way I see it ‘America’s main political cleavage is indeed between normal versus abnormal’ only it seems that both the Democratic and Republican conventions, if not the parties themselves, belong to the realm of the ‘abnormal’.
But wait, things are getting even more juicier.
When women speak, people tend to mentally turn up the volume
Women, and women leaders in particular, often get criticized more for how they say something than for what they actually say. They have to walk a difficult line of being assertive but not too aggressive, likable but not too much of a pushover.
Even though women are interrupted more often and talk less than men, people still think women talk more. People get annoyed by verbal tics like “vocal fry” and “upspeak” when women use them, but often don’t even notice it when men do.
The same mental amplification process makes people see an assertive woman as “aggressive,” which gets in the way of women’s personal and professional advancement. Women are much more likely to be perceived as “abrasive” and get negative performance reviews as a result — which puts them in a double bind when they try to “lean in” and assertively negotiate salaries.
These kinds of implicit biases are sexist, but having them doesn’t make someone “a sexist” — or if it does, it makes all of us sexists. It doesn’t matter how smart you are or whether you are a man or a woman; everyone has some implicit biases against women.
And that may be one reason why this is the first time a woman has ever won a major party’s nomination.
OK, so what should people do? Vote for Hillary Clinton simply because she’s a woman?
And no, I don’t have any implicit biases against anybody. I cannot vouch for anybody else but I cannot see myself as ‘abnormal’ so I expect there are others in my situation.
Hence I strongly believe that candidates should be evalued ‘all around’, without any biases based on their gender.
Hey Trump, this one is specially for you.
I’m afraid that Dara Lind, the author of the article I just quoted above, has got her ‘butterfly’ wrong.
It’s not Obama that inadvertently caused any hurricane.
Do you remember the intensity of the birther campaign that had swept across America both before and after Obama was elected President?
And while it’s clear that Trump was one of the most vocal ‘birthers’ do you know who started the whole thing?
“You know who started the birther movement? Do you know who questioned his birth certificate, one of the first?” Trump asked.
“Hillary Clinton, she’s the one who started it. She started it years before it was brought up by me.”
Trump said he no longer talks about the issue because it always breeds controversy but promised to “raise it against” Clinton in a general election.
OK, we don’t have to take Trump’s word on this, even if he’s quite an authority on the subject – given his passion about the issue.
The last quote is from an article published on the CNN site. Click on it if you want more specifics.
OK, so where does all these leave us?
Scratching our heads while trying to figure out what went wrong around the ‘deep well of anxiety about America losing its culture and values’?
Or rather staring at those who drew from deep within this well and used the proceedings to stoke people’s emotions in order manipulate them? One way or the other?
It seems the he wasn’t the only one. Wannabe presidential candidate and ‘racial provocateur’.
So why keep on hoping that by choosing the ‘lesser evil’ we’ll ever reach the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’?
Why keep on trying to manipulate people one way or another instead of finally calling both ’emperors’ for what they are?