Saturday, March 3, 2018

Valence and presidential intelligence revisited

Throughout the 2016 election, I wrote regularly about the role of Valen's* valence characteristics.  Donald Stokes (1963), "Spatial Models of Party Competition," published in the American Political Science Review.  Stokes distinguished between candidates' locations in a policy dimension-- the left-right thing-- and their capacity to provide "valence" outcomes, which are the things that everyone just wants, like a strong economy, national security, etc.

Over time, spatial theorists have taken the concept of the valence issue-- like a strong economy-- and turned it into a valence trait-- traits that voters just want.  Voters supposedly just want candidates who are honest, competent, etc.

Stop laughing.

No, really.  It stopped being funny.  OK, you probably weren't laughing anyway.  It really stopped being funny long ago.

The 2016 presidential election made a mockery of the concept of valence characteristics, and I wrote rather a lot about that in my post-election wrap-up in the "Assessing democracy..." series.  One of the questions that has come up since, though, is... so what?

Donald Trump is not smart.  He is, to use a phrase I have used on multiple occasions, the dumbest motherfucker in political history.  What consequences have we seen?  The economy has continued growing, he hasn't launched any nukes (thank you General Mattis!), legislation, such as it is, has been boilerplate Republican legislation rather than anything truly Trump-y.  Does it matter that Trump is the dumbest motherfucker in political history?

The President of the United States is now pushing a trade war.  He has asserted that trade wars are good, and easy to win.  Because he is the dumbest motherfucker in political history.  What will happen with this idiotic, mercantilist bullshit?  I don't know.

Shielding the country and the world from the effects of Donald Trump's stupidity has been a monumental effort from the White House staff and Congress.  And neither are filled with the best and the brightest.

Here is a brief list of the kinds of stupid things Donald Trump might do in a snit, without even bothering to list launching nukes.

1)  Refusing to sign a debt ceiling increase.

2)  Refusing to sign appropriations, thereby shutting down the government.

3)  Ordering the deployment of the military for no particular reason under the War Powers Resolution.

4)  "John Marshall Roberts has made his decision.  Now let him enforce it."

5)  Start an actual purge of the FBI.

This is just me spit-balling.  Imagine what would happen if Trump actually put his feeble brain to work coming up with something truly, monumentally stupid to do?  Never underestimate the power of idiocy to surprise you.

The analogy I make here is to chess.  If you are a good chess player, you can't actually predict what a bad chess player will do because at any given point, there are too many possible moves to consider, and your mental process disregards the stupid moves that the dipshit brain will think are brilliant.  Hence, you spend your time examining the intelligent moves, comparing the various decent moves to each other and preparing responses to them while the dipshit surprises you with a move of such spectacular, glorious numbskullery that you are caught off-guard until you realize just how moronic the move is.

Unfortunately, this isn't chess, and the dipshit making the move can screw us all over with the move rather than just giving us a way to beat him.

Yay, democracy!

Our President is a mercantilist.  A mercantilist!

Throughout this post (and regularly on this blog), I have referred to Donald Trump as an idiot, a moron, a numbskull, and... the dumbest motherfucker in political history.

The most scathing of these insults is that I have called him... a mercantilist.  As I wrote yesterday, there is no excuse for anyone to embrace mercantilism today.  It was debunked centuries ago, and remains the economic equivalent of flat-eartherism.

Our President is a moron mercantilist (yeah, that's worse).  So far, we have been spared the worst possible damage of his stupidity.  There is only so long, though, that the great, sucking vortex of his lack of brainpower can be kept in check.  Intelligence matters, and our President is stupid!

Don't mind me.  I'm just having another Frank Grimes moment.

*Yes, that's Walter White.

No comments:

Post a Comment