Alan N. Shapiro has put up two thoughtful posts on this year's (so far) surprising US election:
Donald Trump Casino Owner: seduced to losing by the lure of winning
Shapiro considers pulling the lever for Trump as wholly consistent with addictive gambling in a Trump casino.
Homage to Bernie Sanders’ Democratic Socialism and George Orwell’s 1984
Shapiro explains why "democratic socialism" isn't the same thing as socialism. I sent him a comment:
Bernie Sanders’ version of socialism essentially reconstitutes the New Deal policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt: improved social security, more oversight of banks, support for labor. His opponents couch this as radical, which shows how far the pendulum has swung since Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic controllers and began the gradual dismantling of the New Deal. Sanders’ current opponent, the political team of Bill and Hillary Clinton, delivered the final blow for Reagan, ending welfare and allowing banks to trade stocks again; they seek to protect this legacy in the present election.
There is a point where serving the public becomes indistinguishable from controlling it, and restoring the New Deal in an era of technocratic surveillance carries dangers. To receive medical benefits, for example, citizens’ personal data will be digitized and could be used against them by unscrupulous public servants.
Yet the private sector is no more benevolent. Capitalism in the US has drifted from production into rent-seeking (“seeking to increase one’s share of existing wealth without creating new wealth” — Wikipedia) in almost every area (cars, phones, food, travel, medicine, etc). In the current race Sanders is the only candidate advocating meaningful checks on this parasitism. The leap of faith one takes in supporting him is that ultimately one has to trust government, suitably transparentized, over private accumulators, to moderate for the “greater good.”
The Clintons represent the status quo: on the civil side, “limited government” enabling rent-seeking; on the military side, unlimited government draining the public treasury with disproportionately ineffective results. For the environment and for working people, this state of affairs is increasingly untenable, Hence the sudden upswing in public momentum for Sanders and his program.
Have had one argument with a Hillary supporter, who followed the playbook of (i) insisting she's more "electable" (even though most Americans are sick to death of her) and (ii) making little sneering cracks.
Meanwhile, Matt Taibbi explains how Tr*mp is a creature of our crappy national media. They can't stop giving him coverage and look what happened.