Incomprehensible Florida

Can anybody explain why Florida can never just make up its mind about who to vote for? I’m not asking about the ballot counting process or whatever today’s equivalent of dimpled chads is. I want to know why it’s always down to the very last vote to decide the race.

Here in Illinois, when it was clear that Rauner was a dud, he had to concede 25 minutes after the polls closed because we can make up our minds.

Everybody has a close election every once in a while but I’m tired of hearing about a recount in Florida every single time.

I love Florida but what’s the split? Rich retirees and young vegans? Surfers versus makers of surf boards?

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Mental Health

Do you want to guess how many people in this country enjoy good psychological health?

Three per cent.

And bout 22% are unstable to the point where it gets scary.

The rest hover in the middle.

See here:

About half of Democrats think Republicans are ignorant (54%) and spiteful (44%). Likewise, about half of Republicans think Democrats are ignorant (49%) and spiteful (54%). 21% of Democrats think Republicans are evil, and about the same share of Republicans (23%) think Democrats are evil.

But wait, there’s good news:

4% of both parties think the other side is fair.
3–4% of both parties think the other side is thoughtful.
2–3% of both parties think the other side is kind.

Unfortunately,

The share of Americans who have more generous impressions is roughly equal to the poll’s margin of error, which is 3%.

As always, I’m one of the tiny minority who thinks that most people of both parties are kind, thoughtful, and not in the least evil. I also think there are crazy creepazoids among both groups but they are a lot fewer than the good folks.

I never thought I’d be the person to say this but it’s a good idea to get out more and expand one’s circle of friends.

Trolls and Trolling

There are people who get obsessed with a blog and use it to feed their need to seethe- I don’t mean to rhyme, this happens on its own – for years. Then one day they can’t take the tension any more and start trolling. This happened to me several times over the years. The most recent example is a commenter who posted under the name “Yusuf.”

The really funny part is that the troll’s rhetorical style is very impoverished, and it takes me under two seconds to recognize them. (“Them” is a pronoun this person really loves.) I knew from the start that “Yusuf” is not called Yusuf, is not male, and is not an immigrant. 

Folks, if you are going to troll, at least try to be more creative about it. I analyze texts for a living. And unlike some literature professors – khm, khm – I’m actually good at it. I also have to point out that if you are not an immigrant, it’s kind of pathetic to post as one to shame an actual immigrant away from “their” position on immigration.

Resistance for Oligarchy

As shocks exactly nobody, Democrats are going to use their majority in the House to defend monopolies. Apparently, it’s not in the least racist to use the votes of “brown people” to promote the interests of the oligarchy.

My question is, what is it that folks were resisting this entire time? The possibility that monopolies might be a tad undermined? Another question is how come people don’t make the connection between the large media conglomerates shilling for “the Resistance” and the way the politicians carried to victory by “the Resistance” are clearly interested in absolutely nothing whatsoever but policies that enrich the oligarchy that owns these media empires?

Foregoing Persuasion

This is what I fear will happen: Democrats will embrace a strategy that will appeal to the screeching Twitterbots because they are easy to excite and don’t require anything by way of intellectual arguments. This is what’s being suggested in the NYTIMES this morning:

Do the Math. Moderate Democrats Will Not Win in 2020. . .

Clearly success required a different strategy. Ms. Abrams and Mr. Gillum embraced the Obama playbook for winning elections: It starts with emphasizing mobilization over persuasion.

In other words, bring out the easily excitable who are content with any dumb meme about Nazis, totalitarianism, or apocalypse and won’t ask you to argue a case, any case. Who needs to have positions and policy when you can just scream like a banshee?

I’m sure the strategy will be a winning one, in the sense that it will bring seats. But it’s a victory in a competition over who screams more loudly. It’s meaningless.

It’s also kind of offensive that the author believes this strategy will work because the country “gets browner by the hour.” This is obviously a reference to non-white Hispanic voters, and it bothers me that anybody would suggest that non-white Hispanics are somehow dumber than white folks and don’t want to hear persuasive arguments because you supposedly can attract them with screaming and screeching. This is a very old stereotype that Hispanics are superficial, excitable, and hence a perfect foil to rile up, use, and discard.

The seeming openness and light-heartedness of Latin Americans is a mask that conceals a profound sadness at the core of the culture. Just look at the history of Latin America, and you’ll get it. Hispanic people are complex, there is an enormous variety among them, they are not a monolithic group. Deciding that they are too superficial to need persuading is a big, big mistake.