Clinton’s and Trump’s Hatred

In terms of the vote share market, Clinton’s lead over Trump has declined from its peak. In the IEM, Clinton’s last price was $0.517 and Trump’s was $0.441. That leaves $0.042 for the third party candidates. This narrowing coincides with a narrowing in polls that measure percentages of votes going to the two main candidates. Those polls average about a 3.8% lead for Clinton.

Elections are not won by vote share totals, however, but by electoral college votes. That’s a winner take all market. In that market, Clinton’s bid-ask average is $0.71 and Trump’s is $0.316. (The non-synchronous timing of prices allows the total to be greater than $1.) This market actually is for Dem. vs. Rep., not Clinton vs. Trump.

At this time, Clinton is clearly favored to win. She seems to have gained a bit upon receiving some recent endorsements and/or coincident with Trump’s recent tiff with a judge.

It is my opinion that American voters like “strong” candidates, or those that exhibit aggressive tendencies. They don’t like peace candidates unless some American aggression is going so badly that the losses vastly outweigh the gains, in which case they accept defeat. This is one reason why libertarian or libertarian-leaning candidates attract so few votes. They are simply going against the American instinctive grain that has been reinforced and built up over several hundred years.

Another way of putting this is that candidates for the American presidency have to possess a sufficient degree of hatred and willingness to act upon that hatred to be chosen by the American electorate. Both Trump and Clinton meet and pass this test, in my view. Perhaps Clinton exhibits it in greater degree, which may help account for her lead. Perhaps also her hatred is directed at different enemies, ones that the electorate is used to hating; whereas Trump’s hatred is directed more at immigrants and assorted others.

Don’t misunderstand me, please. I’m not attempting to be righteous about this. I believe that naming of enemies and hatred of enemies is a very strong basic instinct in all human beings, me included and libertarians included, for that matter. It would be beneficial, I think, to sublimate and transfigure this hatred into something less irrational and dreadful because it’s not about to disappear from our human nature. As matters stand, American hatred, triggered by 9/11 and then reinforced by American attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, is being funneled into one irrational exercise of war and violence after another.

Clinton may be distrusted and thought of as less honest by voters, but it doesn’t matter. This may even help her get elected if it signals a greater hatred of enemies that Americans are used to, like Putin and Russians. And, by the way, she has plenty of hatred for a number of categories of Americans, more than Trump, who almost seems benign next to her; but she hides her hatreds more than he does.

One source of comfort to me is that only 42% of eligible voters voted in the 2014 midterm elections. If this signals a decline in hatred and a decline in the willingness of Americans to place people — any people — into a position of power where they can exercise this hatred, then I’m all for it. I’m on record for not voting and encouraging others not to vote. I think this is a peaceful way to marginalize political power and get some reduction in it. It reduces the legitimacy of a government and encourages the emergence of different parties, candidates, policies and the expression of attitudes. It’s a peaceful way to proceed, even if it seems non-activist; and I see no other way to proceed to greater peace than peacefully. This is a way of sublimating and transforming hatred.

There is a certain number of libertarians who favor one candidate or another of the two major parties, especially Trump. This has sometimes been explicitly linked to a fear, the fear that Clinton will start another world war. I do not have that fear. Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister and a thoughtful diplomat, has made his non-belief in a world war explicit. A strong Russian defense against an American first strike actually makes such a war less likely. I do not think that we should proceed on the basis of fear in the current political election contest here in America. Fear, like hatred, is an instinct too. It’s at the root of hatred or closely linked to it and anger. It’s fear that grips people and leads directly into identifying enemies and then lashing out at them. If libertarians really believe in peace, then they should not proceed in this election contest to pick a candidate on the basis of fear. That’s not progress.


8:53 am on June 11, 2016