A truly wonderful rant about candidate 'debates' (don't get me started about how these are not debates), and a...

A truly wonderful rant about candidate 'debates' (don't get me started about how these are not debates), and a chance to vote for your preferred alternative take.

Originally shared by Yonatan Zunger

I have magical powers: I can analyze a debate before even watching it.

I haven't watched the Democratic debate yet, but I've had a chance to watch social media explode from left and right about it. And I can spot some obvious things from just watching how people are behaving.

(1) Nothing particularly important or surprising appears to have been said. If it had been, someone would be talking about it right now. The most exciting line of the evening appears to have been Bernie Sanders saying that everyone was sick of hearing about Clinton's e-mail.

(2) Clinton's and Sanders' supporters are both rallying arguments for why their respective candidates won the debate. Clinton's supporters say she obviously won, even though Sanders was the most appealing, because she proved that she was the most serious candidate and could win. Sanders' supporters say he obviously won, because he sparked so much interest and enthusiasm, and he's clearly just drifting behind her so that she will take the flak from the right wing. If you asked me to describe what social media would sound like if nothing particularly significant happened during a debate, that would be it.

(3) Everyone seems to agree that Anderson Cooper did a great job as moderator.

(4) Huckabee appears to have tried to copy what Sanders did during the first Republican debate by live-tweeting. In his case, that meant making a bunch of generally offensive remarks, in the apparent hope that this would mean that someone decided that he could be unpleasant enough to be taken seriously as a candidate. It doesn't seem to have worked; merely being unpleasant isn't enough to get a Republican nomination nowadays.

I continue to not be horribly impressed by the quality of political theater this time around, even if Trump is trying his best to bring back grand guignol. My earlier estimates continue to hold; I'm guessing that Carson will continue as schmuck-of-the-week on the Republican side for a bit longer, as Fiorina didn't quite manage to take off, but ultimately his strategy of saying increasingly nutty things on the air (Vaccines don't work! Jews were responsible for the Holocaust because they gave up their guns!) is going to wear kind of thin, much like it did for Trump. This continues to put Bush in a surprisingly strong place, although I could imagine Fiorina turning around and making something work.

On the Democratic side, it continues to look like Clinton will take the nomination, but Sanders' considerable momentum will force both her and the party platform somewhat further to the left.

So I'm seeing two major options for the general election, depending largely on what happens on the Republican side. If the R nominee is someone from the frothing and/or bloodthirsty wing of the party, (e.g. Carson or Trump) then Clinton can stay fairly far to the right herself and take a comfortable victory, since while that wing is noisy, it tends to scare a lot of Republicans, as well. If the Republicans nominate someone more moderate (e.g. Bush or Fiorina), Clinton will probably take Sanders' success more to heart and tack further left in order to energize her base, which is going to be a perpetual problem for any Republican moderate to do. (As McCain discovered in 2012, when he tried to do it with Palin and nearly set himself on fire)

So a Clinton/{Bush, Fiorina} election will probably involve a more left-wing Clinton against a Republican centrist trying to energize the base without scaring the hell out of their own center (an increasingly tricky proposition), while a Clinton/{Carson, Trump} election would be a walk-off for Clinton. My money is on the former.

Maybe we need a better choice. I've seen three very promising insurgent campaigns so far:

Cthulhu 2016: When you're tired of choosing the lesser of two evils.

Guy Fawkes: The only man ever to enter Parliament with honest intentions.

Strange Women Lying in Ponds Distributing Swords: I've seen worse methods of choosing a leader.


  1. True, but at least the Dems aren't A. denying climate science B. Trying to
    take away healthcare C. Reverse marriage equality and D. legislate women's

  2. Also very true, Sephi PiderWitch, and a very good thing, too.

    Personally, I find any public platform rehearsal - no matter of what political persuasion - masquerading as a debate rather offensive. Naturally around any election that has significant impact on society in my home (Australia), I tend to get pretty grumpy with just about every party. There are a few that don't - but most of them get me grumpy about the material of the platform.

    All of that aside, the very alternative options are good for a laugh. Especially the way they are polling!

  3. True, very very true.  I'd be laughing too if I didn't know how many people will vote for them.  Politicians by nature are rather vile creatures, but they seem to be redefining vile.  I actually prefer listening to IQ2 debates.  I can at least learn from those.

  4. One of the tiny rays of light over here is a gentleman by the name of Scott Ludlam, a senator for The Greens. A great speaker, practices what he preaches, and preaches for a vastly better world. And does not bow to the party line if it conflicts with his beliefs. Not that that happens very often with The Greens.

    One of only a very few politicians I have a lot of respect for.

  5. Oh, I am sure they exist everywhere.  They just don't seem to be electable because people vote for drama.  *sigh*

  6. Though, as much as our Democratic debate had a lot of "politics", I was impressed with the lack of mudslinging.

  7. That is a rare thing! Treasure it!


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