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How the Media Created Trump

Trump can’t unite the country, but the media hasn’t explained how we can unite.

Not by giving him a reality show. Not by covering his insane behaviors and willingness to say just about anything (hell, he even admitted that Obama is native-born, though he didn’t apologize for his prior foolishness, so maybe he can’t say sorry).

They did it by letting his supporters believe that he can actually change the direction of the country to one they find more appealing. Supporters think he can break the gridlock and create 25 mega-jobs (25 million) and keep the country safe while defeating ISIL and building a wall and repealing Obamacare and cloning Antonin Scalia and aging him up to replace himself in the Supreme Court.

The media has been long on talk of gridlock, but it has offered little in the way of solutions. Just suck it up, they said. Just have to wait for friendlier, more (little-D) democratic times to come around when all the congress will join together in a CareBear® Stare to fix our problems. There’s nothing the people can do but ride it out.

And the problem has only grown worse. So this year a plurality of the Republican constituents have stumbled on a plan: elect the worst thing they can get their hands on, and see what that does. It’s the smack-to-the-side-of-the-broken-machine method. What else are they supposed to do? Be patient? Hurry up and wait?

The weird thing is that it could just work. A Trump presidency might unite Republicans and Democrats against him, if he’s bad enough. He’ll call for the mass-execution of all foreigners, they’ll band together to ban capital punishment outright. He’ll request a war against fruits and vegetables, mandating a new fried-food pyramid, and they’ll expand subsidies to healthy foods. He’ll try to replace Obamacare with a requirement that all doctors simply tell their patients:

[Insert Patient Name], I can tell you unequivocally, you’re the healthiest individual ever.

The Republicans in Congress will probably go along with that one, though the sugar lobby will get them to make doctors give out lollipops at every visit.

Point is, what does Hillary Clinton have to offer? Can she be so divisive that even her allies will abandon her? According to her critics, she’s real bad, but they’ve given no signs that she’s so bad she could unite fierce partisans to oppose her.

After four years, Trump would have to run as an independent, but he would be overwhelmingly reelected because people would like seeing Congress rub his face in it with every single overridden veto and resolution of censure. He would get 95% of the African-American vote, as they would be glad to have a Republican party that actually enacted gun control legislation after Trump tried to require handgun manufacturers to make arms that babies could aim, fire, reload, and also use as a pacifier. That actually reformed policing after Trump aired his “shoot first, don’t ask questions” reform.

Even the statehouses would be united by Trump, as 100% of Attorneys General would have multiple lawsuits pending against his administration. Donald Trump is the alien invasion Ronald Reagan spoke of, saying, “Perhaps we need some outside, universal threat to make us recognize this common bond. […] [H]ow quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world.”

Now obviously this is fantasy. The Republicans would actually support the baby-gun (I’m sure, out there, somewhere, there’s an anti-abortion group that wants to arm fetuses), the war on health, the fried-food pyramid, lollipop stethoscopes and marmalade tongue depressors. The Democrats would not. A Trump-shaped jolt to the system will not overcome the reticence to restore normal governing in the legislature.

There are things that would, but the media hasn’t covered them. So the angry, disaffected people that support Trump (i.e., the non-deplorables) continue to believe that Trump is magic. Criminy.

Trends and Equilibrium

Short, rambling musing about trends and equilibrium.

There are a number of interesting trends going on right now. Some of them have been noticeable for years, others are just growing enough that they will (probably) become statistically likely at some point in the future.

There are a number of common trends which the world is tracking:

  1. Economic trends, including government spending, average wages, employment data, debt
  2. Educational trends, including literacy rates, college graduation rates, high school graduation rates
  3. Ecological/Climatological trends, including species population data, carbon output, ocean acidity, ice concentration, rainfall averages, temperatures
  4. Health trends, including death, birth, fertility, infant mortality, obesity, and cancer rates

There are some other trends, like planetary discovery and the search for the Higgs boson. The former may be a proxy for estimating the discovery of extraterrestrial life and then of discovery of intelligent aliens. The latter signals an approaching greater understanding of the universe, which will bring further advancements over time.

These last trends are of a different sort than the former, because they involve an accumulation of data which doesn’t represent an equilibrium-based system. The educational trends also fit in this category of accumulations. The literacy rate can’t be too high.

But they still represent equilibrium events. At first, the literacy rate was very low, and over time the amount of resources spent teaching people to read has increased. But at some point, it reached a peak. It costs less to teach more people to read today than it used to.

The amount of effort to find the Higgs boson is at (or near on either side of) its peak. As soon as it’s found, there will be efforts to understand the data, possibly to repeat the experiments, but nobody will be searching for its existence.

But the economic, ecological/climatological, and negative health trends represent equilibrium-based systems. The current economic trends can only exist for so long before the whole economic system breaks down (eg, 2008 financial crisis), after which the system finds a new equilibrium.

The same is true for the climate. You can boil a pot of tap water at 100 degrees Celsius, or if you add salt, you can raise that boiling point a bit. The same volume of water can now hold in more heat.

Your own body can only be deprived of sleep for so long before it will force you to sleep in most circumstances. Another equilibrium system.

Breath, blood pressure, hydration, heat regulation, and other bodily functions are all equilibrium-based.

Equilibrium is one of those neat concepts that, once you start looking at it, you see it everywhere.