The Hillary Fallacy – why the “Kang and Kodos” logic does not appeal to me.

two party system

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite my better judgement, I have recently found myself getting into social media exchanges with supporters of Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. These exchanges are often acrimonious and always pointless, because no one ever manages to convince anyone else of their point of view on social media. However, the arguments propounded provide some interesting insights into where this campaign has taken us.

When I express my preference for a third party candidate, Hillary supporters usually begin – not by extolling their candidate’s merits (even they realise this is a claim too far) – but by using the now familiar argument that a vote for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson is a de facto vote for Donald Trump. This argument is of course nothing new. Years ago it was derided in a Simpsons episode in which Bob Dole and Bill Clinton are revealed by Homer to be nothing more than the hideous space aliens Kang and Kodos, bent on enslaving humanity. When a member of the crowd then threatens to vote for a third party candidate, the aliens mock him. “Go ahead, throw your vote away.”

Back to the Social Media exchanges: I usually respond to the Kang and Kodos argument by explaining that although I think Trump is a thoroughly repugnant individual and an awful candidate, at least he won his party’s nomination through a fair and open process, and he did so against the wishes of the party elites. The same, I point out, cannot be said for Clinton; certainly not after the latest Wikileaks revelations. I then note that I believe the price America would pay (i.e. a Trump presidency) in order to punish the DNC for rigging the nomination would possibly be worth it, if the sting to the DNC was so great that it delivered real electoral reform for the next primary process. After all, what is at stake is something greater than 4 years of stupidity. It is the essence of democracy in the United States.

What follows from Hillary supporters is a strange defence of the democratic nomination process being rigged. They often say something like, “Well, the process isn’t intended to be fair.” or “Parties can do what they like. They don’t even have to involve the electorate if they don’t want.” or else even “There’s nothing in the Constitution about how the DNC must organise its nomination process.”

This is of course perfectly true. Except when you combine the two arguments, “the DNC can rig all it likes and choose whomever it pleases” + “a vote which is not for the DNC’s chosen elitist is a vote for the other monster on the podium!” you essentially have an admission that the choice of president is in no way democratic. If the party nomination processes offer no real choice, then the two-party general election certainly doesn’t either.

So if the Constitution does not provide guidance on the fair administration of primary contests, perhaps it is time for Constitutional reform. After all, the current system is so badly broken that even the most ardent supporters of the candidate whom bookies say is going to win in November (let’s call her “Kodos”) can only invoke the Kang and Kodos defence to convince us to vote for her.

In the meantime, I will be using my vote in November to punish Debbie Wasserman Schulz and the DNC for what they have done to Bernie Sanders’ Political Revolution. I will be voting for Jill Stein, and I’ll be encouraging red state voters to choose Gary Johnson.

Why is the world polarising? And what can we do about it?

In the aftermath of the First World War, at a time when massive social divisions were fuelling the rise of extremism both on the left and the right, and venerable empires in Britain, Austria and Russia were crumbling, Irish poet William Butler Yeats appeared to capture the Zeitgeist perfectly with his poem, The Second Coming, first published in 1919. It begins like this:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

The thinking behind the verse was rooted in Yeats’ conviction that the world would turn in 2,000 year cycles (“turning and turning in a widening gyre”), and that we were due another significant crisis in his time, which was roughly 2,000 years since the birth of Christ.

As we approach the 100th anniversary of the publication of this poem, one might legitimately pose the question, was Yeats a century off? Are we now entering a period in which the centre cannot hold, the fateful time when the “ceremony of innocence” will be drowned?

The recent events in the UK and the rise of populism in the form of Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen and others suggests that if the centre is still holding, it’s only just holding. And it’s certainly straining under the weight of events. Meanwhile the tensions triggered by the apparently racially motivated shootings of black men in the US recall the image of a “blood-dimmed tide” being loosed.

Is this, as Yeats believed, part of an unstoppable cycle? A turn in the great wheel of time which we might observe, but are powerless to direct?

I for one refuse to believe that is so. I think we are the masters of our own destiny. And while there is a sick comfort in fatalism, in the abdication of responsibility to ‘Fate’, I believe we should resist this temptation and continue to fight for what we know is right: Compassion, justice and a fairer, better world.

If the wheel is “turning and turning in a widening gyre”, and if we can’t stop it, let’s at least direct it away from the cliff and onto safer pastures.

Reviews of The Hydra on Amazon

The HydraMost Recent Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 starsIngenious
The plot is very well written and the narrative managed to make the villain a sympathetic character even when you know he is guilty. The twist in the end actually surprised me. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Christiane C. Brossi

5.0 out of 5 starsCleverly written political thriller!
This was one hell of a political thriller. From beginning to end you are entrenched in this world. You are angry and contemplative. You are curious and shocked. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Allie Sumner

5.0 out of 5 starsStrong plot and intense narrative
Very well-played scenarios. The author knows the landscapes he talks about very well and built a strong plot around fascinating characters jumping wisely between time and… Read more
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer

5.0 out of 5 starsFive Stars
Great story. Kept me intrigued until the end
Published 6 months ago by Jocasa
4.0 out of 5 starsGood premise, good story!
I liked this book! Crazy scientist on trial for implementing his plan to solve the problem of human overpopulation and poverty. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Linda Andrews

5.0 out of 5 starsI loved this book
I loved this book! I couldn’t put it down! In the beginning, I thought I had the ending figured out, but Graham put a twist into it, that I never suspected. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Dianna Hamby

5.0 out of 5 starsIntriguing story…Fantastic read!!!
I thoroughly enjoyed this story and the characters….well written….I couldn’t put it down, had to finish it in one day! It had a bit of everything, including humour… Read more
Published 10 months ago by Maria Wiley Art