37: Surfing the Wake of The Woke
Hello it's Eric with a few thoughts this week in the coming election before we introduce this episode's main conversation. Now I should say up front that this audio Essa is not actually focused on the twenty twenty election, which is partially concluded, but in the election of two thousand twenty four instead. The reason I want to focus on that election. Is that precisely because it is for years away? We should know almost nothing about. We shouldn't know almost anything about who is likely to be running or with the main issues will be. We should be able to say almost nothing about the analysis the election. Unfortunately almost none of that is true. Now obviously we can't know all of the particulars. However, we still know a great deal more than we should. And that is because the ritual is not what many supposed to be. A simple nationwide open contest to be held on a single day after several. long-form debates with unbiased rules enforced by trusted referees. What is most important is that prior to the twenty two thousand four election there will have to be an appearance of a primary election. So what actually is a primary election? What function does it serve? It's hard to say, but if you think about it, this is really the awkward disingenuous and occasionally dangerous ritual, by which a large and relatively unrestricted field of candidates needs to be narrowed to the subset that is acceptable to the insiders of the parties. They're associated legacy media, bosses and the party mega donors. Now, the goal of this process is to in the famous words of Noam, Chomsky, manufacture consent from US governed so that we at least feel like we have selected the final candidates who truth we would likely never have chosen in an open process I've elsewhere compared this ritual to the related process referred to by professional illusionists. Choice where an audience member is made to feel that they have selected something like a card from a deck out of their own free will, but that the magician has actually chosen from a position of superior knowledge and control long before the trick has even begun. In the modern era of course consent has become a much more interesting word especially of late, and perhaps that fact is important in this context to as the constellation of issues carry over surprisingly well. To bring in more terminology from the National Conversation on consent, the party rank and file are groomed if you will by the party affiliated media as to who is viable, and who should be ignored and laughed at through a process of what might be termed political nagging. The candidates are also conditioned by being told that they can only appear in party approved debates, which must be hosted exclusively by affiliated legacy media outlets, and which emphasized soundbites and theatrical Gotcha moments over substance despite the Internet's general move towards in-depth discussion made possible in large part by the advent of Independent Long-form podcasts like this one. Thus, both voters and candidates are prevented from giving informed an uncoerced consent by the very institutional structures most associated with democracy itself. Now. Why am I saying this well? It goes back to a video. I have not been able to get out of my mind for four years. As. Some of you may remember from two thousand sixteen. Election Jake Tapper was asking Democratic National Committee chairperson. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, but why Bernie Sanders would be leaving New Hampshire with an equal number of convention delegates after trouncing his old rival Hillary Clinton in an historic upset. Tapper asked. What do you tell voters who are new to the process? Who say that this makes them feel like it's all rigged. Now what was odd, here's the idea that only those new to the process needed to have this explained as someone then in his early fifties. I can say that I certainly felt that this was rigged at the time. Even though this was hardly my first Rodeo But I digress. Wasserman Schultz was in fact prepared for the question, and she replied quote well. Let me just make sure that I can clarify exactly what was available during the primaries in Iowa and in New Hampshire. The unplugged delegates are a separate category. The only thing available on the ballot in a primary caucus is the pledged delegates those that are tied to the candidate that they are pledged to support, and they receive a proportional number of delegates going into our convention. Now this was confusing. Why are there any unplugged delegates at all? And why not call them super delegates, just like everyone else? And why was she asserted? Availability was a settled question. This is like an emergency room administrator, explaining someone having a heart attack in real time that what is available is a vending machine down the hall rather than the nurse or physician chatting idly beside it. I remember thinking i. don't care what you say is available. You crazy, crazy lady, but of course she wasn't crazy in this wasn't about availability. It was about naked power in its public rationalization.