The "peak weird" election: What to expect next
By Daniel M. Ryan
One For The History Books…
In the wee hours of Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, we'll finally see the outcome of what's been the weirdest Presidential election in United States history. Depending on your view of the true power of the Presidency, the next four years will either see a jarring fork in policy or a lot of sound and fury signifying same-old-same-old. Interestingly, the Never-Trumpers are licking their chops at a Hillary Clinton Presidency forced to square off against a Republican Congress.
If Trump wins, there is a chance for a same-old-same-old Presidency. You probably know this, Donald Trump being the Flight 93 candidate. Even if the bulk of his policies are stymied by the usual suspects, he winning will have a profound effect on the culture. Folks my age became part of "Generation Reagan" primarily because of the bully pulpit. If Donald wins, we'll see a "Generation Trump" that'll start to take the Pubbie reins after 2030. Even if he loses, he's won enough for us to see Generation Trump arise.
Most striking about this election is the weirdness it's called forth. If you're an oldster like me, you think of 4Chan as the notorious Cesspool of the Internet which has produced nothing but the LOLCats and a lot of craziness. No more! This election, 4Chan's /pol board has become a political force. More than one member of the venerable Free Republic lurks or even ----posts on /pol. No wonder: the /pol crew is doing investigative work that Freepers used to do. They're becoming the new men in pajamas. Case in point: an 18-thread (!) investigation of one Laura Sibley that's summarized in this Reddit thread. The underlying story has made the Daily Mail.
It ain't the first /pol op. Remember the "shocking" accusation that claimed Julian Assange online-groomed a five-year-old girl? Know why you haven't heard anything since? Because that smear campaign was scotched by none other than /pol posters. Due to a huge, partially crowdsourced investigative effort, /pol found out that the accusing company – "Todd and Clair Dating", was front company or a scam Site for a bunch of operatives who proved to be connected to some very recognizable Dems. Your humble author posted about it here: at the bottom of my post is my own wee contribution to show that "Todd and Clair" was a scam. (Sorry about the cryptocurrency-related jargon therein, but it was appropriate for the venue.) While there, I found out that David Brock's Correct the Record is actually paying people to post on both /pol and the /b Random board.
Let this sink in for a moment. David Brock's Correct The Record is dishing out donor dollars to influence opinion on 4Chan.
I'm sorely tempted to peg '16 as the "4Chan Election." But a more accurate moniker is the "Wikileaks Election." It's a sure bet that Julian Assange will be credited (most likely blamed) for this election not being a repeat of 1964's. The libpundits need a way to explain Donald Trump's surprising competitiveness, and Julian Assange is the most ready to-go. The fact that Wikileaks – no friend of Conservatism! – threw such a huge spanner in the "Stronger Together" works shows how profoundly old-fashioned Hillary is. She's the type of candidate that only reaches the heights in a gatekeeper system. Had it not been for all those gatekeepers protecting her, she would have fallen a long time ago. If she does fall come Wednesday, it'll be an aerosol-noisemaker signal that New Media is a force to be reckoned with. Even if Hillary squeezes out a win, the combination of old-style Pubbie resistance and new-media power will make her Presidency a classic tragedy.
If Hillary Wins…
If Hillary Clinton wins the election, her victory will be Pyrrhic. Unless she shows a heretofore invisible knack for compromise like her husband's, her "Obama's third term" will be like Obama's second term. She'll have her wish list, but the bulk of it will be stymied by a Republican Congress; the usual suspects will fulminate about Republican "obstruction ism." There's a good chance that the Pubbies will be "punished" for this "obstructionism" in the same way that they were "punished" in the 2014 election.
Granted: a Hillary standoff Presidency will be just as frustrating and molar-grinding as the last six years of the Obama Presidency. She will try to executive-order her way around Congress. But there's a good chance that she will not be as successful as Barack Obama. There's already open talk from at least two Senators about impeaching her. The FBI investigations will be squelched, but their smothering will stir up a lot of bad feelings in the FBI. Unlike Barack Obama, whose dark side never got much play outside of rightwing turf, Hillary's dark side is far more extensively known. It'll definitely be harder to play the woman card when Wikileaks and some of the antiwar Left are attacking her.
2017 will not be like 2015 for two reasons. First of all, the Pubbies are going to be more assertive in combatting extra-Constitutional actions. The woman card ain't as strong as the race card. Granted that a lot of Pubbies didn't show much spine during the Obama years, but part of their wiltingness was due to them believing it was impossible to take on the MSM and win. Even if Trump loses, he'll still have shown them that it is possible. His example will strengthen their spines, or at least make it easier to hold their spines to a tempering fire.
The second reason is the widespread hostility from the Left. When Bernie Sanders started his primary campaign, his base was superannuated New Lefties. Ever since he threw in the towel and started parroting the Hillary line, his audience has shrunk back to that base. The extinguishment of his shooting star has left a lot of disgruntled Berniebots covered by his ashes. Only a small minority of them will be jumping aboard the Trump Train. But a large majority of them will never forget the Hillary-campaign shenanigans. They'll make it hard for the Dems to vote in a partisan manner if impeachment comes on the table. Liberal parents, radical children…
Even if she becomes "The First Woman President"TM, her Presidency will mark the end of an era. If she doesn't shed her legendary inflexibility, there's a real chance she'll be the "First Impeached And Convicted President."
If Trump Wins… If Donald Trump is the next President, it will be the beginning of a new era. Even if he gets stymied, even if his dealmaker instincts get the better of him and make his term de facto Rockefeller Republican, he will have been the one to have prevailed over the liberal media. They won't be broken – not by a long shot – but they'll be less formidable an obstacle.
Especially since they'll likely react to "Trump Win s" by going even more ballistic than they did during the W. years. Given that the Current Year is nothing like 2001, there's a real chance they'll jump the shark – and there's a guaran-durn-tee that they will get a lot of blowback. Since Donald J. Trump has nothing of George W.'s "above it all" passivity, his Presidency guarantees a lot of storm and fury if the libs replay 2001-8. Moreso because we all know how the above-it-all approach hurt Bush. We know how that story ended. The Pubbies of 2001 were not forewarned. The Pubbies of 2016 are forewarned. They already know what not to do if the libs go animal.
And unlike the Bush years, the libs have the alt-Right to contend with. Swinging a victory that all the professional prognosticators deemed impossible makes for a Hugh Mungous bag of oats to feel. True, there is a dark underbelly of the alt-Right that will be galvanized too. But even their presence, as a price of an era-ending victory, is on balance better than remaining the Designated Losers.
The above sketch is close to the (reasonable) worst-case scenario for a Trump Presidency. If the better case plays out, America will get the Wall and President Trump will piledrive the Executive Branch into better executing the laws. Paraphrasing Trump's words, the rule of law will come back and America will be a country again. We'll likely find out that his aggressive trade rhetoric was a negotiating stance, and that the deals he does cut will be more to America's advantage but not aggressive enough to wreck the system of global trade. President Trump will not be another President Hoover.
Also in the better-case column is a possibility that sounds mind-boggling: the media libs, chastened by a Trump victory, will do the opposite of going ballistic; instead, they'll be on their best behavior. Sounds impossible, I know, but there are subtle signs that they're seeing what it is they've awakened. If this Cubs-victory scenario unfolds, a large part of the reason will be their stomach-sinking grasp of the new power of gatekeeperless media.
And - better- case or worse-case - his time in the bully pulpit will solidify Generation Trump.
Daniel M. Ryan, as Nxtblg, is shepherding the independently-run Open Audi Initiative Prediction Market Shadowing Project. He has stubbornly assumed all the responsibility and blame for the workings and outcome of the project.