Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Trump v Clinton

Now the Trump v Clinton bout is finally over and pundits are just beginning to run out of reasons to be delighted or horrified it is worth ruminating on broader issues.

During the contest Clinton was obviously a shoo-in right up until she wasn’t. An interesting predictive failure but as far as I can tell nobody had the faintest idea which candidate would make the best president anyway. We’ll never know either, because only one of them is to be tested in the hot seat. The other slinks off into prosperous oblivion, that’s the tradition.

Some of the pre-match commentary was well written, some of it amusing, some silly, much of it abusive, some mildly persuasive and so on and so on. Yet nobody really knew if Clinton or Trump would turn out to be a competent or incompetent president. Nobody had the faintest idea because humans are not built like that. We’d like to think otherwise but it ain’t so.

We compare A with B and when there is nothing to compare or when the comparison will never be made then we are reduced to allegiances and guesswork and that is what we saw during the election. Vast deserts of foaming passion, outright lies and yet more foaming passion, some of it dressed up as analysis.

We saw allegiances and guesswork and that is what we’ll see throughout Trump’s presidency too. Unless he walks on water, cures cancer and ensures world peace he’ll be praised and cursed in roughly equal measure because that’s how we do things until memories fade, main actors retire or die and passions transfer themselves elsewhere.

In spite of numerous pundits trying to persuade us that they had arcane knowledge of each candidate plus a working crystal ball locked onto the political future of the USA, none of their output was worth a plugged nickel as they used to say in cowboy films. We’ll have to wait and see.

On the other hand I can’t convince myself that dumping Clinton wasn’t a bonus. It just feels like the right thing to do. I hope so but we’ll have to wait and see. Or rather we won’t see because that possibility has gone.


Demetrius said...

On the subject of "no right decisions" in that when faced with a choice each of those available has a serious downside, the Trump/Clinton one is a classic of its type. Trump may be a grim choice but the Clintons were much worse.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - I see it like that too, but I don't think anyone knows it in the sense that it is more than a reaction driven by certain pre-existing allegiances.