Thursday, October 13, 2016

Thinking about the rigged election narrative in catastrophe theory terms

Couple of quick notes before we start. First, I haven't looked at a book on catastrophe theory for many, many years. Therefore, the chances of my saying something stupid are even higher than normal. Second, I have a feeling that we've had this conversation before, but I am kind of rushed and, to be perfectly honest, it's quicker for me to dictate this into my phone then to dig through the archives of the blog. Apologies for any disconcerting sense of déjà vu that might result.

First, a relevant paragraph from Josh Marshall:
It now seems quite likely that Hillary Clinton will win the November election and become the next President of the United States. But Donald Trump has been for months pushing the idea that the election may be stolen from him by some mix of voter fraud (by racial and ethnic minorities) or more systemic election rigging by persons unknown. Polls show that large numbers of his supporters believe this.

We are deep in bifurcation territory. Every snowflake that falls will have the likely effect of either slightly increasing the depth of the pile for sharply diminishing it.

One of the fundamental assumptions of the conservative movement has been that the angrier you get your base, the more you can count on their votes and their money. If you accept that, there is an undeniable logic behind the decision to portray lost elections as "stolen."

Unfortunately, it is also logical to assume that the argument "it is absolutely essential that you vote even though you know your vote won't matter" will eventually reach some breaking point. This can be particularly dangerous because it has the potential to strike across the spectrum of support. That's because the damage here can come both from those who question the official party narrative (who think you're a whiner) and  from those who believe it (who have no reason t go to the polls)..

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