Fight night

For some reason — and not a very good one — I found myself last night watching excerpts from the soi-disant “debate” between Trompe and Klingon. I knew they would annoy me, and they did. Why does one seek annoyance, when it is so plentifully available in the environment already, “for free” as it were? This is the mystery of iniquity.

I knew, however, that I would be asked today, in my travails around the city, which one of the candidates I thought had “won.” The question supposes that one or the other has advanced in the eyes of likely voters. This in turn requires some belly sense of the American electorate (different from the Canadian, but not much). There are people with sensitive bellies — who have some skill in guessing by this instrument what the great unwashed do think — but I pity them. I’d rather not know, and preserve my stomach for steak au poivre.

Very well, I’ll tell you. I thought Trompe spoke most about how America could make more money and spend less; Klingon about how it could make less and spend more. (Neither addressed the question of going to Hell.) This will prejudice much of the public, against Trompe.

On the other hand there are those of wandering attention who look not at the current speaker, but across the split-screen at his or her opponent. These will have noticed Klingon’s characteristically smooth, smug, self-satisfied, gliberal smirk while Trompe was speaking; and vice versa, Trompe’s mad, frenetic, irascible look while she was. This will hurt Klingon.

Trompe will win the election, incidentally. This is because some people like him. (No one likes Klingon.) The pollsters ask the wrong question, to compare “negatives.” Obviously, both candidates are fatally flawed; but Klingon would win if it came down to the less negative “favourability rating.” That tells us nothing, or very little. We could learn more if the pollsters could discover a way to phrase the better question, to elicit the secret crush.

Three-quarters of Americans can be shown (by the same pollsters) to be viscerally opposed to almost everything The Obama stands for. But he is quite popular. He won the last two elections because people liked him more than Romney, or McCain. Public policy had nothing to do with it. Not one in twenty voters has the slightest idea how his government works. In a mass democracy, people discuss “the issues” the way they talk about the weather. It is their elevator music. No one thinks the weather will change because they elect a new TV forecaster — they aren’t that stupid.

Had the Americans more wisely left the choice of their next President to me, I’d have picked that “Ted Cruz” guy from Texas. He could have been their least popular president, ever. But they didn’t; and Cruz himself wasted his time talking about policy, and trying to enunciate a few principles that ought to guide public life, which he had selected from the USA Constitution. People hate that. It is so boring. (And elitist, too.) The Republicants preferred swaggering rogue charm, even if it had to come from New York City.

Since I am supplying news this morning, allow me to correct a mistake that appeared in Mr Cruz’s blog where, owing no doubt to inattention, the former candidate misworded his presidential endorsement. What he meant to say was:

“After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided that on Election Day, I will dress up as the Akond of Swat and cast a write-in ballot for Jorge the Pink Fairy Armadillo.”

(Looks just like Trompe: see here.)