Saturday, January 2, 2016

A Bi-Partisan End-Game

Just as Dan McLaughlin (Red State, conservative blogger) finds it noteworthy that the left would like to see Trump succeed because he makes the right look stupid (and, presumably, he would lose a general election), the neoreactionary* right would like to see Trump get as far as he can because if he can make it all the way to the convention--and then lose due to procedural dirty-tricks, the GOP would be finished. 
With that said, I am all for encouraging Trumpism, because I am confident it will be extinguished, although much later than the Republicans hope. Let's get this man as close to the finish line as we can. The further he gets, the greater payoffs we stand to collect. People say that the things espoused by the former 'Apprentice' superstar are dividing the nation. Good. That's exactly how we want it.
To be clear on this, neither liberals nor the NRx guys (the quoted person is a Reactionary Orthodox extremist--the ORx?) want a Trump presidency (although the NRx would, presumably, find it amusing)--but they both want him to kill off the Republicans. That's an eerie level of bi-partisan agreement and we should take notice of that--especially the "why?" of it.

The Simple Answer: Getting Rid of an Enemy Party is Hard

It took a civil war to get rid of the Whig party. To the left, the Republicans are evil religious totalitarians who serve the super-rich. To the NRx, the main-stream right are the "Washington Generals" to the left's "Harlem Globetrotters"--an opposing force in name only which serves to provide a more attractive rigged game. If you want the US to break up as soon as possible, having the Republicans around acts like a governor on the doom-train: it slows it down.

A party utterly riven by Trump would, likely, suffer at least a major change--if not an outright collapse. That could help both scenarios--at least plausibly. Right?


The More Complex View: Asymmetry

The first thing you should note is that there is an asymmetry in this "bi-partisan endeavor." The NRx represents the Oort Cloud of the right--the farthest reaches of the phenomena. Dan's Leftist who like Trump because he's a general election loser and makes the GOP look like the Stupid Party (which they have claimed before now when it wasn't actually happening) are pretty damn main-stream.

In fact, they're so main-stream it's pretty much not "the left" but rather  "all Democrats." If you think the opposite party is about to nominate a loser you want that to happen. You don't have to be extreme at all. This is the asymmetry: the people who are aligned are the mainstream Democrats and the far outer right.

That's the interesting paring.


The Answer: Collapse-Risk

The key here is that if the Democrats really thought that Trump tanking the GOP would split the country they'd want to (somehow) prevent it. The fact is that they don't see that end-game as likely. The NRx, who, like Zero Hedge, hopes the societal rot will turn septic any day now is overestimating what will happen if Trump makes it to the convention but isn't nominated.

The rift might split the party--but it would not, alas, collapse the nation.

Why not? The answer is pretty straight-forward (there are a lot of reasons--such as game-theory constraints on 3rd Parties in American politics, the basic integrity of the economy, and so on)--but the real one is this: Whales get cancer but don't die from it.  Huh?

The link (to Slate Star Codex) lays it out: Blue Whales are big. They live a long time. If your chance of getting cancer is proportional to your size, then blue whales should be premium cancer victims--they should get cancers and die from them more than humans do. What gives? Are they immune to cancers?

No--turns out they do get cancer--but cancers seem to have some kind of size governor--there's a limit to how big a tumor generally gets. The result: whales get cancer--but because they are so big, it doesn't kill them.

Same with America. The Mega-State has a muddling-through defense that the NRx doesn't really acknowledge. After all, Rome fell, right? America won't last forever. That's true--but the ability of the modern nation-state to muddle through things is unprecedented. This also, somewhat fractally, applies to major political parties, individual states, and so on.

It would take a seriously systemic destruction to knock out the US. It would take more than a defection of the blue-collar whites to kill the GOP.

Oh, sure, skunking Trump at the nomination (and putting in Romney--an Omnivore can dream, can't he) would enrage conservatives--but at that point? They weren't going to win the White House anyway.

* The author, Mark Citadel, says he isn't NRx. I've left NRx in here to a degree--because while he certainly isn't claiming to be an NRx spokesperson in general, I think it's hard to argue that his basic view isn't firmly within the NRx Venn diagram of beliefs.


  1. The problem here is paying even the slightest attention to the NRx-ers, who are entertaining loons, but no more than that.

    I agree w/ a lot of Tod Kelly's analysis of the R's. It's not that conservatives are stupid -- although I have my problems with their *character*. But all the same, the American conservative movement has backed itself into a really weird corner, mostly in pursuit of dollars-from-dummies. It turns out, loopy old people will buy your gold if you tell them that Obama is secretly a Muslim and wants to destroy America. Say *that*, and they'll tune into your insipid news show.

    Which, no surprise. A few channels over there is another batch of people watching some hideous show about "horders" or plastic surgery disasters. The point is, awful sells.

    And thus Trump.

    Which, whatever. I certainly want the R's to lose, cuz they hate me and want to ruin my life. But still, Trump is a symptom of a madness: this seething mass of idiots, who wouldn't exist if Fox-and-otherwise didn't figure out how to sell paranoia to them. It's all loathsome.

  2. Just to clarify, I am not a NeoReactionary in the self-declared sense, so it is a little unfair for you to use my own statements as representative of the NeoReactionary movement. You should have asked the Hestia Society or Nick Land for a statement if you wanted such a thing. While I maintain close contact with NeoReactionaries, and they have generously promoted my work, I am merely a Reactionary Orthodox extremist.

    1. Fair enough. I'm not sure how 'far' Reactionary Orthodox extremist is--but I wouldn't want to call you NRx if you don't self-describe.

      -The Omnivore