Politics: a no-winning move

[Thursday: 4.5 miles; Saturday: 6 miles; Monday: 4.5 miles]

I’ve been doing a run which takes me on a loop downtown and back up Hwy 20. I did it last Thursday and again on Monday. Saturday was the Eagle Scout trail in Mines of Spain state recreation area.

Ok, so I can say that I think the Trump re-election rally in Tulsa over this past weekend was a political mistake.

On the potential upside, it would be attended by those people inclined to disbelieve warnings about COVID-19, the harder core anti-deep-state wing.

But the downside was almost guaranteed to be bigger.

First, any news report of an empty seat would be headlined “Trump Support Weakens” and any news report without an empty seat would be headlined “Trump Supporters Dangerously Anti-science” It’s like the ultimate Have-you-stopped-beating-your-wife-yet? situation.

Second, it makes the anti-Trump protesters look good: their gatherings and rebellions have rightly been seen as somehow given a special license from the medical establishment and social elites to inflict chaos for some higher good. So now this rally is a chaotic response and not one of orderliness and reason. Our virus restriction rebellion vs your virus restriction rebellion.

Third, it really highlights his difficulty of being an insider while campaigning as an outsider. You can’t be law and order and campaign as a rebel.

Fourth, it gives Whitehouse watchers two weeks of bated breath entertainment to countdown for new virus cases in the campaign structure and administration staff and cackle over a rise in deaths in Tulsa, or Oklahoma, or any other pro-Trump state for that matter.

Fifth, people have been recently forced to weigh their daily activities in a risk/reward manner. And I don’t think it is politically useful to get someone to contemplate Trump re-election in cold light of “is this the hill I want to die on?” Is Trump’s re-election as important as going to church, or as essential as going to the grocery store? Those really aren’t the kinds of comparisons you want your supporters to have to make.

Sixth, there was an on-line campaign to apply for the free tickets just to soak them up and make the rally a sham. In normal circumstances that could be laughed off since it doesn’t actually keep anyone from attending. But in this circumstance the campaign touted how many hundreds of thousands of tickets had been given out and it was an astronomical number which focused extra attention on this event. See item #1.

Seventh, the people who could get sick and die are your supporters! The goal, presumably, is to have more people vote for you. So killing some of them off is counter productive to say the least. The same can be said for the staffers and the President himself.

And I’m leaving out my own assessment as to whether it was morally right to risk an increase of sickness and death to hold the rally.

Generally I think that the amount of time devoted to re-election is a necessary evil in our system. If voters had good honest sources of information about the effectiveness of elected leaders (and the illumination of reasonable expectations), the incumbents shouldn’t have to campaign at all. But elected congress people spend hours on the phone glad-handing the money in preparation for their next election. They’re doing that while we are paying them to get the work done.

One reply on “Politics: a no-winning move”

I watched the first part of his speech – it was about the Westpoint Shuffle. With so many things going on in our nation now…

I disagree with your assessment that we do not have good honest sources about effectiveness – the information is plentiful and accessible (Internet). Three personal visits to Kim Jong Un – “love letters” – no treaty. Huge tax cuts – increasing federal deficits and GDP around 2% growth after a brief 4% sugar high – this before Covid. Protracted trade wars with U.S. farmers being more dependent on govt aid than ever before – this before Covid. Of course the repeated statements that Covid was a minor threat and would just go away. Plentiful.

I do think we need campaign finance reform. Especially for the House where terms are short and campaign funds must be raised practically at the beginning of a term go office.

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