Sunday, September 25, 2016

Stuck in the past

It's funny, but any way you look at our choices this election, we're looking backwards.

Teh Donald, obviously, wants to take us back to a time when white people ran the show. His argument is that everything worked well before Those Uppity Others started shoving their oars in, degrading the country economically, militarily and morally. To be clear, this is a fantasy on so many levels, I don't have space or time to go into the details. Even so, this is the fantasy that Republicans, and the far right in particular, have told themselves since Reagan rode this story to the Oval Office.

HRC talks about moving forward, about progression and progressiveness. Yet the values she espouses are rooted in her own past. I happen to subscribe to a lot of these values, since they happen to result in the most people being treated as, well, people rather than, say, diseased freaks or chattel. Nevertheless, her campaign essentially has defined itself as the only defense against the regression demanded by the far right. Guard what we have achieved, is the essence of her message. That, if you think about it, is an essentially conservative, backwards-looking message.

Moreover, HRC's actual campaign strategy is almost comically backwards-looking. It is as conventional as President Obama's suits. Sure, she has the trappings of modernity in terms of social media, but she clearly only groks their forms, not their substance. Amazingly, Teh Donald is the one who truly has figured out how to exploit social media's reach. He's no technological innovator, but he is, for better or (far more likely) worse, a cultural one. HRC communicates like a non-human primate holds a tool — awkwardly. Teh Donald, by comparison, is a self-taught craftsman.

If HRC loses, it will be because she hewed to a conservative vision (by Democratic standards) and campaign style that failed to resonate with or galvanize enough of the public.

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