Well… at least a few more scraps of the mask have come off.
George F. Will says, “Harumph! Heavens to Betsy! The peons are voting!” Recently in the Washington Post, Will wailed in pain that people are allowed to select their own political candidates, and cried out for someone to do something about this. Will, who has a doctorate in political science and is a former university instructor of political philosophy, wants “political professionals” to have more say in deciding whom you’re allowed to vote for. I quote from his pile of garbage below; comments in bold.
The nation… needs a nominating process that minimizes the probability of kamikaze candidacies and maximizes the probability of selecting plausible presidents. Hence it needs a retreat from the populist idea that the voice of the people is easy to ascertain and should be translated, unmediated and unrefined, directly into nominee selection.
That idea is part of democracy. (Neurotoxin is not a Dark Enlightenment blog that thinks some other system will have better results than democracy.) Don’t worry! George Will wants to save you from choosing your own rulers! Your stupid notion, you rube, is “the populist idea that the voice of the people is easy to ascertain and should be translated, unmediated and unrefined, directly into nominee selection.” Will’s infinitely more sophisticated notion is that the voice of the political class is easy to ascertain and should be translated, unmediated and unrefined, directly into nominee selection.
In 1972, Democrats made their process more plebiscitary — more primaries, less influence for political professionals — to elicit and echo the vox populi. This, however, produced a nominee favored by the party’s most intense minority, the anti-Vietnam War cohort: South Dakota Sen. George McGovern lost 49 states. Republicans didn’t have “political professionals” choosing their nominee either, and they WON 49 states. Twelve presidential election cycles later, both parties are still uncomfortably holding the populist wolf by the ears.
Political scientist Raymond J. La Raja and Jonathan Rauch of the Brookings Institution recommend a recalibration. “Recalibration,” interesting word choice. They do not favor what political realities would not permit: abandoning primaries. …Rather, they recommend leavening (“leavening”) mass participation with vetting (“vetting”) by professionals That is, they want “professionals” to select the people for whom you’re allowed to vote.— “political careerists with skin in the game” What “skin in the game”? What the hell are you talking about? Do “elite” experts ever suffer any negative consequences from having made wrong predictions? From offering advice to people that hurts them? Did the medical experts who told people to gorge on carbs ever suffer for their fuck-witted and health-ruining advice? Have the eco-alarmists who predicted we’d all be dead by now been laughed out of academia? And how do “experts” have more “skin in the game” than anyone else, in elections? We all have to live in the country after we choose a President. Will’s “professionals” are the people who told us that Hillary Clinton was veritably guaranteed to win in 2016. How’d that work out for you, geniuses?
Indeed, “political professionals” plainly have less skin in the game than the average person, and the wrong kind of skin.
(1) University professors and others in that realm swing heavily to the left. They told us that communism was a wonderful system, while it was slaughtering 100 million people. Will: “Give them more political power!” Their incentive would be to pick the most plausible leftist candidate and the most foaming-at-the-mouth, obviously insane rightist candidate, to guarantee a leftist victory.
(2) They have less skin in the game than the average person, because they’re not in the private sector. Voters in the private sector have an incentive to think about which candidates are likely to be good for the economy, since their livelihoods depend on that. University professors keep drawing their paychecks in any case, rain or shine, recession or expansion. They have no incentive to think carefully about it. They laughed at Trump’s economic policy proposals, before he presided over a record-breaking economic performance (low unemployment, high stock markets).
(3) They have the wrong kind of skin because all a politician has to do to get their approval is to promise more funding for college and university political science departments.
Not only does this crowd brazenly announce their desire to rule us against our will, they insult our intelligence while announcing it.
Will actually thinks it’s an attractive idea to the average person to give more power to the “political professionals” in our Political Science departments, filled with Marxists, man-hating feminists, and terrorists from the 1960s who went on bombing campaigns and then got tenure in academia. My entire political philosophy – and I’m hardly alone in this – can be described as “keep people like that out of power.”
Continuing, these “professionals” will be
serving as gatekeepers or quality-control evaluators of candidates Tell ya what: We’ll decide candidates’ quality ourselves. before the primaries begin. “In 2018, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee worked aggressively to weed out weak and extreme candidates in swing districts.” I think Will’s unstated conclusion here is, “…and that worked well for the Dems.” Yeah, but Clinton was the professional/Establishment candidate in 2016 and that did not work out so well for the Dems.
Doing something similar in presidential politics is difficult. The process has no gatekeepers. “Harumph!” … The 2016 process illustrated the difficulty of aggregating voters’ preferences when there are many candidates: A demagogic charlatan won Jesus! Will’s butt is still chafed because someone from outside the Beltway won the Presidency. Will, this is a feature from the average American’s point of view, not a bug! Also, it’s been more than three years since November 2016. Get over it, man. without winning a majority of primary votes until after the nomination was effectively settled…
In 1924, the parties’ professionals blocked the presidential ambitions of industrialist Henry Ford, a racist and anti-Semite. Oh Lord, here we go with “racist.” People in the political class nowadays really do regard that word as a kind of magic incantation. Also, EVERY white person in 1924 was a “racist” by the standards of today’s chattering classes. In 1976, Democratic insiders helped clear the field in Florida’s presidential primary to enable Jimmy Carter to end the candidacy of the racist Abracadabra! George Wallace…
LOL. Seriously, “racist”? Will: “I’ve got an ironclad weapon; I’ll just say something something RACIST! No one can resist that incantation!” Will, the left calls every white person racist these days. Many explicitly say “All white people are racist.” White people’s increasing anger at this horseshit is one of the reasons Trump won.
Also, your argument amounts to, “Without my plan, sometimes candidates you disapprove of will be elected.” But in both your examples, they weren’t elected. You can’t even come up with one example in which your alleged problem even exists! Also, all systems will sometimes pick people I abhor. Also, is it the case that in the entire history of non-democratic governments, no “racist” ever took power?
La Raja and Rauch suggest various “filters” by political professionals to mitigate the “democracy fundamentalism” i.e. democracy of today’s nomination process: e.g., more political professionals as “superdelegates” eligible to vote on conventions’ first ballots; pre-primary votes of confidence in candidates by members of Congress and governors; OH DEAR LORD! THE GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO TELL US HOW TO ALTER THE GOVERNMENT!? Right, bloody brilliant! Will, you are a fucking idiot. Isn’t it sad how the least qualified people get to be prominent members of the chattering classes? Every person on my blog roll, including Bauer Hockey Equipment, is a better political thinker than George Will. Let’s let people in government decide who gets to be in government. What could go wrong?!
…Limiting and influencing voters’ choices by involving professional politicians early in the nomination process would require risk-averse political professionals to go against today’s populist i.e. democratic sensibility. But if this November the choice is between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, the professionals might consider letting go of the wolf’s ears.
Sanders is an unrepentant admirer of the most genocidal regimes in the history of the human species. Trump sometimes tweets things that George F. Will thinks are coarse. Will treats them as if they’re equal, as if Trump calling someone a loser on Twitter is equivalent to Sanders praising Mao, the most murderous person ever to live.
Will, if you had the self-awareness God gave a flatworm, you’d realize that sentences like that are EXACTLY why the average person will never let people like you decide whom they can vote for.