Bizarro World Election

This election has nothing to do with political science. It’s now pure science fiction.

216px-classicbizarroA well-worn science fiction genre involves an alternate or parallel universe. According to the last person to edit the article on Wikipedia, a parallel universe is a hypothetical self-contained reality co-existing with one’s own–a universe where the very laws of nature are different – for example, Apple before Steve Jobs passed away.

My parallel universe point-of-reference is Bizarro World, the Superman spinoff DC comics that I read in the late 60s and 70s. Then, as now, I enjoyed satire. I especially enjoyed the self-directed satire of Bizarro World which gave the creators and fans of Superman the chance to make fun of themselves while staying true to the core story.

Of course, the core story of Superman was parallel universe fiction, as well. For example, in Superman, they have telephone booths.

There is so much about Donald Trump and the current Presidential election we are enduring that makes me think of Bizarro World. That Donald Trump is a role model for entrepreneurship is straight out of Bizarro World. Only in Bizarro World is serial bankruptcy a business model to be admired. Only in Bizarro World is using 3,500 lawsuits and countless threats of more lawsuits something that business owners do. (Supporting tort reform and fighting against nuisance lawsuits is what business owners have done in the real world for as long as I can recall.)

Last night’s second presidential debate was pure Bizarro World. I can’t even begin to list the things said and the strategy used by Trump that surpass explanation. But equally strange were the post-debate talking heads who started scoring the exchange as if there were no context to the debate — as if what was said during the debate actually matters.

The pundits who are still discussing this election as if it’s about what someone says in a debate are living in a parallel universe.

This election has nothing to do with political science. It’s now pure science fiction.

Presumptive

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 5.10.00 PM

In years’ past, I’ve heard the word presumptive used to describe a political party’s nominee during that period after the primaries have determined a winner, but before the convention delegates make it official.

But this year, it has seemed to be used so much during the past couple of months, that I decided to check Google Trends. Sure enough, it’s been a banner year the word presumptive.

I’ve been trying to recall what words were used in the past instead of presumptive. Likely? Assumed? Anticipated?

Perhaps the reason presumptive was googled so much this year was wishful thinking by people hoping the two presumptive nominees would change their minds and decide to run for office in another country.

Not So Smart

Donald Trump can say anything and won’t lose voters. To win in November, however, he must appeal to new voters.

Yesterday, the NYTimes reported that during a conference call with former governors and senators, Trump described some of his campaign team as being “not so smart” for suggesting his supporters should stop criticizing Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel (judge in the Trump University class action case) and stop blaming the Indiana native’s Mexican heritage as the reason he released previously sealed documents related to the case.

Rebuking his staff–and the long list of Republicans “leaders” who have begrudgingly endorsed him but immediately tried to run from him when he started attacking the judge–Trump said they all should keep claiming Judge Curiel is against Trump because Curiel’s parents are from Mexico. Trump instructed his followers (and endorsers?) to keep accusing reporters of being “racists” for asking questions

Quote in the NYTimes.com:

It was a breathtaking display of Mr. Trump’s belittlement of his own team on a call with former governors and senators, as well as others supporting his candidacy.

I understand–at least in theory–that people of all beliefs have cognitive biases that are nearly impossible to dislodge. Their beliefs are so embedded they react to any challenge to their way of thinking with a “backfire effect”–they dig their heels in even more.

But when Trump rebukes and belittles his staff and the elected officials who are the “boots on the ground” of a presidential election–because they won’t ignore the Constitution they’ve sworn to protect and defend–it is time to accept the fact that he is exploring new territory of the absurd.

Of all the unbelievable things  Donald Trump has said during the past few months, one of them is now believable. He said it in January, before the Iowa caucus:

“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

Donald Trump can say anything and won’t lose voters. To win in November, however, he must appeal to new voters. I don’t believe he can attract enough to be elected President. Or, perhaps I am exhibiting a cognitive bias by believing that.

Or maybe I’m just not so smart.

How to Move to Canada

The chart below is the past week’s Google trend graph for U.S. Google users searching the phrase, “how to move to canada”?

The turning point is three days ago, Super Tuesday (3.2.2016), the day people who were still skeptical of the chances of Donald Trump winning the GOP presidential nomination, went from skeptical to hysterical.

I’m guessing that an American who must Google, “How to Move to Canada” needs other answers to questions like, “Do they have running water in Canada?” or “What language do they speak in Canada?” or “Where exactly is Canada?”

As a helpful aide, I found these on the inter-web. A map that answers the question, “Where’s Canada?”:

WHERE IS CANADApng

Nutqarrit_-_Stop_sign_in_CYCBI also found this recent movie from Canada where a park ranger and a park visitor (just guessing, however) are singing what is perhaps Canada’s national anthem. So yes, they speak english. (However, they have another language on their traffic signs, French, I think, but I have no idea what nutoarrit means in french..)

(P.S. I love Canada. )

Hey, What About All Those Trump Magazines That Failed?

I was starting to believe the magazine industry was being ripped off.

Until the past weekend, I hadn’t seen any Trump branded magazines among the many lists of Trump failures appearing. I recalled some as I blogged about them nine years ago.

Even better, my friend Dylan Stableford, now covering the campaign for Yahoo News, was back then at the trade magazine Folio: and in 2007, was already covering the parade of Trump magazine failures.

Trump Style | Started in 1997, Failed circa 2004
Trump World | Started in 2004, Failed 2007
Trump Magazine | Started in 2007, Failed circa 2009

There has probably been more Trump magazines launched (and failed).
I know just who to ask. Oh, Mr. Magazine?

P.S. This feels like the early days of this blog.