Friday, July 29, 2016

Zero-sum politics Part III: Exit for Donald Trump

Since even night 4 of the convention was a snooze-fest, let's just keep going with Part III of Zero-sum politics.

I have been writing about how Donald Trump sees everything in zero-sum terms, which makes him uniquely suited to electoral politics, but not policy-making.  However, that makes electoral loss unthinkable to him, putting him in a dangerous position should he lose.

In Part II, I recommended that everyone read Hirschman's Exit, Voice, and Loyalty, which described how those disaffected with an institution in decline can either voice dissatisfaction or exit the institution, with the decision mediated by loyalty to that institution.

Donald Trump will view the US political system as functional if and only if he wins in November, and contrary to his bombastic pseudo-patriotism, he has never expressed any true loyalty to the system itself.  In Hirschman's terms, what would "exit" look like for him?

1)

 

Donald Trump has never actually been interested in politics before, and the easiest answer is the sour grapes answer.  Safe for everyone involved, and frankly, since Trump is lazy, this is the most likely result.

2)  Rage impotently.  Yes, I use the term intentionally.  If Trump loses, he becomes less interesting to the press, and the less interesting he becomes, the less capable he becomes of attracting attention.  So, while he may respond to a loss with incoherent frothing at the mouth about how the system is rigged and people need to rise up, it won't matter if nobody listens.

3)  Rage directedly at the Republican Party.  We are already seeing the party showing its seams.  If the institution from which Trump truly exits is the GOP, then we see something like the breakup of the Whigs.

4)  Claim that HRC rigged the election, demand uprising.  Can we honestly rule this out?  More readings to come.

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