Things that have pissed me off in this election cycle so far

(I mean, other than almost everything Cruz and Trump say and the fact that people still want to vote for them.)

  • The person who inveighed against Bernie Sanders “because he’s not a real Democrat”, meaning, he isn’t staunchly loyal to the party. As far as I’m concerned that’s an asset; I want a candidate whose loyalty to the party is far outweighed by their loyalty to the country. Then it’s up to the party to decide if that person’s values are close enough to their own to throw their weight behind the candidate. (My opinion on party politics are fairly similar to John Adams, which is to say I think in general they’re a bad thing.)
  • Anyone on either side but especially on the liberal side who has lied about Hilary Clinton. The woman has been in public life for just about my entire life; her record is out there, and it’s not a simple one. If you want to dislike her on the basis of it, fine and good, but try to understand that record first, and don’t just make shit up. (I thought this article illustrated the point very well, but it’s by no means exhaustive – and doesn’t even address the emails issue, which still troubles me a bit.)
  • The US Electoral College system. Did you know that Clinton won New Hampshire? According to the CNN article I linked there, it’s true – in the only way that really matters. She got more delegates than he did, even though he won about 50% more of the popular vote. But it depends how you count – other articles say he had 13 delegates and she has 9. The discrepancy appears to be because she’s got a bunch of “superdelegates”, who can support whoever they want. (ETA: Here’s a clear explanation.) This is an evil system, for a few reasons. First, if you tell people they have a representative democracy and get their vote counted proportionally when in actuality there are a bunch of unelected party officials (and former officials) steering from the backseat, that is what we technically call a “lie”. Second, I actually kind of understand how those superdelegates hark back to the original intentions of the Founding Fathers, only it doesn’t work. Jefferson wrote about this very clearly. The original point of the Electoral College (in a time without computerized counting of ballots) was that citizens would each elect the wisest local person they knew, and then those wise men in each state (of course they were men) would gather together and choose their candidate for President. He (Jefferson) opined that this two stage system tended to choose better than a direct election would. Maybe he was right, but you can’t tell that from our current ridiculous system of pledged and unpledged candidates. The problem here is, citizens don’t get to choose those unpledged delegates. They are a shadow electorate, forged in the bowels of party machines.
  • Anyone who believes the next President will make a huge and immediate difference in our country. The US President has an enormous amount of influence on domestic matters, but only a limited emount of direct power. (They do have more power in international matters.) Aside from Executive Orders, making anything happen requires getting the buy-in of Congress. This actually hurt Obama, when people who expected immediate and sweeping changes that failed to materialize became discouraged and disillusioned with him. It would hurt Sanders or Trump similarly (though I think it would have less effect on someone like Clinton, who people expect to work within the system). Obama’s actually gotten quite a lot done, but it took time and a lot of arguing.
  • Speaking of whom, I’m going to miss Obama. We haven’t had a President I’d describe as a genuinely good man since Jimmy Carter, or one with as much dignity since I don’t know when. I hope he can become as successful an ex-President as Carter has been, whether that’s in the Supreme Court or in another arena.

(Apologies to anyone who read an earlier version of this – it was a formatting mess.)

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