Note: The Taki post is here and the topic is related to this post. In fact, this post builds on the ideas in the Taki post. For those in search of audio stimulation, the Sunday podcast is up behind the green door.
Donald Trump finally got the attention of Republican leaders the other day when he said that unless they addressed the 2020 election shenanigans, his supporters will not bother to vote in upcoming elections. This got the usual suspects out to denounce him as a Hitler plotting to do Hitler things. Regime media was flooded with boilerplate articles about how there was no evidence to support his claims. Some Republicans were sent out to denounce him for his dangerous rhetoric.
This little bit of drama is interesting in that it suggests that some portion of the electorate is making the next logical step. If you cannot get what you want at the ballot box, either because the vote is rigged or the choices are false, then why vote? If those conditions are true, then voting becomes self-sabotage. When you vote, you are endorsing the process and its results. Voting in a rigged election is, in effect, validating the rigged process and the people rigging it.
The fact that it has taken close to a year for anyone to reach this next logical step in evaluating the last election shows the power of conditioning. Everyone has been conditioned since childhood to believe that voting is a requirement of citizenship and not voting is therefore an abdication of duty. You cannot complain about the system if you do not participate in the system is the logic of democracy. The only acceptable participation is voting for one of the two parties.
It is a bizarre logic when you consider it. Popular entertainment is full of plots where the star is faced with two bad choices and refuses to accept them. Instead, he creates a third choice to save the day. Every business school trains students on how to think beyond the choices on offer. “Thinking outside the box” is considered to be the hallmark of the modern entrepreneur. People like Elon Musk are celebrated because they allegedly refuse to accept the conventional answer.
Only in politics is it that no one is ever allowed to question the options put forward by the two political parties each election. This exception to the rule of thinking outside the box is necessary because the system requires it. For example, if “none of the above” was an option in most elections, that would often be the winner. This is why it is never an option on the ballot. Otherwise, even the dullest Republican voter would begin to think that maybe he should have another option.
Of course, one of the weapons that the system has always used to prevent people from thinking outside the box regarding politics is hyper-partisanship. “If you don’t vote for more of the same, the other side will win.” This was the standard line from people like Jonah Goldberg in the Bush years. Staying home was a vote for the other side, so you had to hold your nose and vote for the Republicans. It was effective until 2006 when the odor was so bad that no amount of nose holding was possible.
The neocons conveniently forgot about that in 2016, but they went to great effort to avoid saying they would boycott the election. Even they saw the danger of unleashing that option on the system. Conservative Inc. was mortally wounded when they could not explain how their boycott of Trump was not an endorsement of Clinton. They were either voting for what they said was evil or they were boycotting the election, something they said was morally unacceptable.
That last bit has always been a lie. Boycotting elections has been a part of democratic systems since forever. During the Cold War, the United States government would encourage boycotts in places being subverted by communists. Alternatively, the protest vote has always been a part of the American system. Organizing people to throw their vote away on a ridiculous option is just another form of boycott. You are forcing onto the ballot the words “none of the above”.
Getting back to Trump and his boycott claim, he was never more than a wrecker, which is what the times require. He will never organize a boycott or even completely endorse such a campaign. He will talk about it. For good or ill, if he talks about something it becomes news. Just mentioning the idea of boycotting the midterm is more than enough to normalize the idea for unhappy voters. Sitting out, perhaps loudly sitting out the election, becomes the best way to participate.
If you look at the upcoming midterm, there are maybe 25 seats that are genuinely up for grabs with another 25 that might tip that way. The Democrats currently hold 220 seats and the Republicans 212 seats. The seats that will decide the House will be won with just over 50% of the vote in those districts. In other words, even a poorly organized boycott could prevent the Republicans from getting the House. It is a low cost, high reward strategy to send a message.
Now, even a highly organized national boycott of the midterms, where Democrat voters join in will change little in terms of policy. The people who control the two parties will remain in control. What changes is public perception of politics. This system requires the broad public to think voting matters. If they come to see that voting is just ceremonial, a play put on to keep them pacified, then the system cracks. At the minimum, it brings the system to crisis.
There are no easy answers to generational problems, but normalizing the idea of a boycott helps create a morality outside the prevailing orthodoxy. If 20% of people think that boycotting the system is the moral choice, they are in effect rejecting the morality of the established order. It is a peaceful revolt. Once people get used to revolting in their minds, they can revolt against the system. Normalizing the revolt of the mind is a prerequisite for any challenge to the prevailing order.
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