Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All
Friday, September 09, 2016
"Imagine Trump's America"
NBC's Commander-in-Chief Forum was a flabbergasting debacle, of course, in which moderator Matt Lauer -- whose expertise is the three-minute celebrity puff/gotcha interview, so I'm not sure why anybody expected a particularly different result -- asked Hillary Clinton next to nothing about foreign policy (the topic of the forum and one of her strongest areas of experience and expertise) in order to obsess instead about her use of private e-mail as Secretary of State, as the press has done more generally for over a year by now despite serial multi-million dollar investigations and exonerations on that subject, and then tossed Trump softballs without interruptions or follow-up questions or push-back against his repetition of well-documented outright lies... And yet the utterly ignorant and erratic and belligerent Trump still managed in spite of the inherent asymmetry of the forum to provide plenty of material demonstrating what a catastrophe his election would be.
As this video shows, the Clinton campaign knows how to make lemonade from lemons like that Forum, and I am still confident that she will win the White House. But I must say I am rather infuriated that press false-equivalency, horse-race narrative fetishization, lowering of the bar for Trump, inherent legitimation simply by taking Clinton on as an opponent -- phenomena every one of which first benefited Sanders during the primary in ways that cut into her victory and seem likely to do so again for Trump in the General -- are all too likely to undermine this year's historic opportunity for Democrats to take advantage of an unprecedentedly terrible Presidential candidate to win back the Senate and even the House and hence overcome Obama-epoch Republican obstruction to urgently necessary, widely popular, common sense gun regulation, immigration reform, policing reform, public spending bills providing jobs to repair infrastructure and provide greener alternatives paid for by increased taxes on the wealthiest American beneficiaries of our public investments, reforms that would invigorate the economy, ameliorate social tensions, address corruption, begin work to preserve civilization in the face of climate catastrophe and remind we the people that good government is possible and cynicism self-defeating.
To anticipate the objection of holier-than-thou purity cabaret fauxvolutionaries who occupy with me an ideological space to the democratic socialist feminist anti-racist anti-corporatist anti-militarist anti-extractive-industrial left of the Democratic Party but who still read my blog despite my many betrayals as someone who is indeed a member of that Party, none of this is pretend that Democrats are ideal or even good enough or even as they are the best I think we can do politically -- it is just to understand that there are not only vicious circles in the world but virtuous ones, and supporting the best among candidate among available options and the best compromise among existing stakeholders to a problem is not only the best we can ever do but can also help to create the conditions under which the next candidate and the next reform will be better still. When choosing a lesser evil is choosing to make a difference that makes a difference for the better it is the greater good, and it is the motor of much of the movement from which real and even radical progress eventually is made.