10 November 2016

Congratulations, President Booker



(For my single pre-election post go here. I expect this will be sole post-election comment because, after all, politics in American are third in importance to entertainment and entertainment's step-child, sports. Or, as put here by Carl Trueman, politics in America are entertainment and if there's something I'm not, it's entertaining.)


Looking forward from the aftermath of the recent presidential election, I want to consider very briefly the factors that made it anomalous and then extrapolate to 2020. First: Republicans should draw no long-term hope from Donald Trump's election. Consider two sides of the same coin: Trump eked out narrow victories in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, states that Barack Obama carried with ease in both 2008 and 2012, and that Hillary Clinton massively under-performed her predecessor.


In other words, the extent of Trump's success in those and other states reflect less a movement toward him or Republicanism than a rejection of Clinton and the Establishment generally. In four years, however, Trump will be "the Establishment" and he won't be running against the lamentable Mrs. Clinton. And, in four years, many of Trump's vociferous supporters will be no better off than they are now. How could they be when the forces causing the disintegration of American society--consumer capitalism run amuck and hyper-individualized sexual autonomy--will continue to grind the fabric of society into dust notwithstanding the election of Trump (as well-articulated in this review of Robert Putnam's latest book, Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis).

Some have pointed to Trump's slight gains in percentages of Hispanic and African-American voters vis-a-vis John McCain and Mitt Romney (check the Pew Report here) as reasons to hope for a long term inroad in these growing demographics. Not so fast. While Trump's percentage of Hispanics and African-Americans was comparable to the two preceding Republicans, his total votes from each of those categories actually declined. In other words, large numbers of folks from these demographic groups simply did not vote. Republicans encouraged by Trump's minority percentages might also want to look into those of George W. Bush, which were even better.

Which brings me to Corey Booker. Booker is everything Hillary Clinton was not: young, energetic, and, of course, African-American. Booker is Progressive-credible, something that the the beneficiary of the self-serving Clinton Foundation could hardly claim with a straight face. (A point nailed by Lawrence Lessig here.) Booker is likable, something that ... And by 2020 Booker will have served in the U.S. Senate for seven years, only slightly longer than had Barack Obama when he was elected president.

I am not the first to suggest that Corey Booker is in a good position to run for president in 2020 but in my opinion he is the most likely to succeed among the names that have been bruited.

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